When Should We Have An Event?

This is the second of five short articles providing general information about fiscal budgeting for an event. The timing of the event is another aspect that can influence the budget for an event. Timing has two components – the date(s) of the event and the length of the event. Because timing varies greatly from event to event, I will focus this entry on some of the fundamental questions you will want to ask venues about when booking or looking to book an event.

Questions related to when you should consider having the event

1.     How long ago was the last event your organization held? While in theory, there is no limit to the number of events an organization can have every year, in reality, the number of events should be carefully planned and limited to prevent donor fatigue, among other things.

2.     Is the event going to cost more depending on when we have it (e.g., what are the rental costs for different days of the week (or time of year))? There are prime times of the year and during the week depending on the venue. For example, golf courses may only be available for tournaments certain days of the week or cost more during the peak parts of the golfing season.

3.     Will we have enough volunteers to help run the event? Depending on your volunteer pool, things like vacations and holidays may need to be taken into consideration.

Questions related to the length of the event

4.     How long will I need to rent the venue for? Depending on the size of the event, you may need the venue for five hours or for a weekend. Some places may have different rates depending on how much time you are looking for (including set-up and breakdown).

5.     Are there other venues in proximity that may be holding events at the same time? This may be an issue if you are planning an event at, for example, a location that is near a sports stadium.

6.     Is there a set time for when the event can start or finish? This may affect some of the planning logistics so it is always good to know.

These questions can help to start focusing the event planning process and may also help narrow down possible locations. These questions may also be asked as part of the venue vetting process. If you are using an event planner, that person should be able to provide guidance toward answering many of these and other questions. 

Are there other timing related questions or things you consider when planning an event? Please comment below.