Schools offer more than compelling learning experiences for students. They’re also communities where students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders come together to promote holistic student growth and development that contributes to a memorable school year.
School events form an integral part of a student’s educational journey. They go beyond the classroom experience, adding fun, creativity, and opportunities for personal growth into the school experience.
However, planning and organizing school events is hard work for administrators and facility staff already inundated with a long list of responsibilities. According to one survey, 85 percent of principals experience regular job-related stress, and nearly half say that they’re burned out.
Fortunately, there are proven tips and strategies that can help you and your team simplify your tasks, utilize helpful resources, and ensure the execution of a successful event.
These carefully curated guidelines will provide invaluable insights and tools to make the process more manageable and effective.
7 Small Actions That Create Successful School Events
To plan a successful school event, it’s often the small actions that make the biggest difference, as careful attention to little details can elevate an event from ordinary to extraordinary while mitigating common event planning pitfalls. Here are seven small actions that can create successful school events.
Develop a Clear Event Vision and Purpose
It’s common for education professionals to intentionally discover and cultivate their “why” — the tangible and intangible reasons they work hard for their students. Planning successful school events is predicated on this principle, as a compelling event vision and purpose can guide the entire process from planning to implementation.
There are several things that event planners can consider when developing a clear event vision and purpose. Start by defining your vision or big-picture achievements that you want to accomplish with the event. Connect these ideas to your mission, the event’s specific, measurable objectives that will ultimately dictate its success.
To achieve these outcomes, consider asking yourself:
- What is the event’s overall purpose?
- What are the event’s tangible goals?
- Who will contribute to the event’s success?
- How do you want attendees to feel at the event?
- Do you have a budget for your event?
When crafting a clear event vision and purpose, event planners can leverage the SMART framework to guide their decisions, ensuring their goals and objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.
Incident IQ can help administrators and facility staff execute an event that aligns with its vision and purpose. iiQ Events allows event planners to select the most suitable venue by providing critical details like seating capacity and room size, a crucial factor that’s dictated by the event’s purpose.
Customizable reservation workflows help planners capture specific data related to each event type, ensuring the collected information directly supports the event’s defined objectives. iiQ Events also prevents double bookings and assists in scheduling setup and breakdown times to help you avoid logistical mishaps. This efficient management system was designed to help you turn the event’s vision into a successful reality.
Build a Strong Planning Team Based on Skill Sets
Leaders are only as capable as the people supporting their work. To plan a successful school event, give attention to the team you assemble to support your effort.
Start by defining the key roles and responsibilities of staff, parents, and community volunteer team members. By knowing what you need people to achieve, you will be best positioned to recruit team members who can work together to fulfill the event’s purpose for the school community.
Once your team is established, leverage leadership best practices to help make the event successful:
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each team member.
- Recruit individuals with diverse skills and experiences.
- Provide ongoing training and development opportunities.
- Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members.
- Establish clear goals and expectations for the team.
- Foster a positive and supportive team culture.
By following these best practices, event organizers can ensure that their team is well-equipped to handle the demands of event planning and execution.
Recruit as Many Volunteers as Possible
When recruiting team members and volunteers, more is more. A deep roster of enthusiastic volunteers lightens the workload and brings diverse skills and perspectives to the table. Recruiting as many volunteers as possible is vital to optimize your event planning.
However, having the right volunteer team isn’t just about numbers. It’s equally crucial to assemble a team with a varied skill set, including:
- Organizational skills: Event planning involves coordinating many different tasks and details, so team members should be able to keep track of everything and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
- Communication skills: Good communication is essential for a successful event. Team members should be able to communicate effectively with each other, as well as with vendors, volunteers, and attendees.
- Creativity: Creating new and exciting event ideas will help make them more engaging and memorable. Team members with a creative flair can help bring fresh perspectives to the planning process.
- Budgeting skills: Events often have a limited budget, so it’s important to have team members who are skilled at managing finances and finding cost-effective solutions.
- Problem-solving skills: No matter how well-planned an event is, unexpected issues can arise. Team members who are good at problem-solving can help find solutions quickly and keep the event running smoothly.
Recruiting volunteers with a mix of these skills can significantly elevate your school event’s success, creating an enriching and memorable experience for all attendees. Check in with your people and remember that a well-rounded team is the cornerstone of any successful event, and enthusiasm is often the most important factor.
Implement a Cohesive Event Promotion Strategy
School events are only a success if people attend, making a cohesive event promotion strategy critical to ensure students know about and can attend the activity.
All communication strategies are not created equally, and with many school administrators working with limited budgets, maximizing promotional ROI is essential. Here are five ways to make the most of every outreach effort.
- Get visual: With lots of events going on in your school, it’s important to have some designs that say, “Hey, look at me!”. Attracting students’ attention can be challenging; visually striking promotional materials will help cut through the noise.
- Use social media: For parents and students, social media use is ubiquitous. Maximize reach and impact by using school accounts to distribute marketing material. Notably, while Facebook is a great way to reach parents, students are more responsive to Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, so choose your platforms intentionally.
- Create videos: Videos are a great way to engage your audience and get them excited about your event. Teenagers primarily consume video content, whether you leverage long-form content on YouTube or short-form video on TikTok.
- Go offline: Don’t forget about traditional promotion methods such as posters, flyers, and word of mouth, which can reach students during the school day.
- Take over some of your school’s media: Use your school’s website, newsletter, and other media channels to promote your event school wide.
By using a combination of these strategies, school administrators can effectively promote their event and attract a large audience, which goes a long way toward making it a success.
Incident IQ’s calendar notifications and event communication options offer a robust framework for school event promotion. The calendar notifications ensure that all relevant parties stay informed about event timings to minimize miscommunication and maximize participation.Event communication options facilitate a continuous stream of engaging updates and essential information, sustaining interest and excitement in the lead-up to the event. Together, these tools foster a consistent and effective promotional strategy, contributing significantly to the successful execution of your school event.
Run-Through the Event to Anticipate Challenges
As every education professional knows: practice makes perfect. Running through the event – including rehearsals, walk-throughs, or dry-runs – can be an essential step in the school event planning process. This step can help you anticipate and mitigate potential challenges, ultimately ensuring that the event runs smoothly.
Of course, these run-throughs will vary by activity. High school graduations require more rehearsal than an elementary school talent show or fundraising event, but taking the time to simulate events can uncover logistical challenges or bottlenecks that didn’t make your event planning checklist.
As a result, administrators and facilities staff can follow up with stakeholders, reduce risks, enhance preparedness, improve efficiency, elevate coordination, and reduce stress. Run-throughs, in whatever form makes sense for the event, are an essential ingredient to a successful school event.
Create a Logistics Plan (and a Plan B)
A logistics plan is a detailed blueprint detailing how all the necessary people, places, and things will be in place on the big day. These detailed plans identify how different event elements work together to create a cohesive event. For example, the logistics plan can include food transportation, placement, and distribution, three unique dynamics of a single event piece.
Even the best-laid plans are poised to go awry. Effective event planners will create a Plan B, which is a backup plan that accounts for last-minute logistical elements that may go awry. By planning for something to fail, administrators and facilities staff remain adept and adaptable to changing conditions on the day of the event, ready to deploy contingency plans at a moment’s notice.
Whether planning a theme dance, academic competition, charity fundraiser, or other type of event, a good event management system can prevent issues and ensure plans run seamlessly, allowing admins, school staff and facilities to operate efficiently.
Use Registration Data to Plan Event Needs
Registration data is a crucial tool in planning event needs. For example, in a high school setting, if 100 people have already pre-registered to attend an event, this data provides a baseline from which to plan. You know you’ll need seating arrangements, refreshments, and facilities for at least that many attendees. However, it’s always wise to plan for additional attendees who may show up without pre-registering.
Understanding your local area, past events and ticket sales trends becomes critical. If historical data and local engagement patterns suggest a good turnout, you may need to prepare for a significant number of walk-in attendees. This could mean arranging extra seating, securing additional food and beverage providers, or planning expanded parking arrangements.
Working with flexible providers who can adjust to last-minute changes in attendee numbers can also be beneficial. The key is utilizing registration data to make informed projections about event needs while remaining adaptable to ensure a successful event regardless of the turnout.
How Incident IQ Helps You Plan Your School Events
Incident IQ’s event reservation solution offers a valuable tool for school administrators and facilities personnel. By utilizing this toolkit, stakeholders can more easily coordinate and communicate with all event stakeholders.
This results in a more efficient and effective way to plan and execute successful school events. With iiQ Events, school administrators and facilities personnel can ensure that every detail is taken care of, leading to a seamless event experience for all involved.
To learn more about Incident IQ, request a free demo today to see how our event management tools can help make your next school event a success.