Last minute event planning drives me - and as a consequence everyone around me - a little crazy. Yet lately I seem to be in constant last-minute mode. In addition to my role as LifeWay's vbsguy I have recently joined a church staff in a position that requires planning for multiple events each month, if not each week.
Since I'm new to the position, I must plan for this week's activities as well as trying to get a jump start on events that will be held a year from now. This whirl of events (both at LifeWay and at church) makes starting the process at least a year in advance - especially for events such as Preview - even more important. Thankfully for Preview (1) we have determined and constantly reevaluate the purpose, (2) have an ongoing checklist that keeps the details from being overlooked, and (3) have a skilled leadership team that knows their responsibilities and have the authority to make the required decisions.
In last week's post (Event Planning 101 Part 1), I wrote about the importance of Determining the Purpose, Diving into the Details, and Enlisting a Planning Team. The next step is making a plan for promoting and publicizing the event.
I recently met with a group of leaders representing churches of many sizes and demographics. We all agreed one of our biggest challenges is communication. It seems no matter how thoroughly we feel we have publicized an event there are always those in the congregation and community who say they knew nothing about it.
The bigger the event the early publicity must begin. Obviously the congregation needs to know before publicity begins for the community at large. For annual events such as a week-long VBS, I believe it is important to let the congregation know a year in advance. There is no need to have all the details but dates and times are a must - especially for potential volunteers who must request vacation time or plan around school and family calendars.
Publicity can be easily overlooked if someone (or a team) does not have specific responsibility. This is an aspect of VBS the director needs to delegate to someone else - possibly someone who wants to help but is unable to participate in the week of VBS.
When publicizing an event, both variety and creativity are required, but consistency is also necessary. This means we must constantly look for new ways to publicize our events, but at the same time continue to use the methods (such as the church bulletin) we have traditionally utilized.
Stay tuned for Event Planning 101 (Part 3)
In the meantime, make plans today to join LifeWay's VBS team in January for Preview.