Event Planning During COVID-19

By Paula Stanton, Broadreach Director of Client Development

The pandemic has disrupted in-person events across the country – leaving organizers scrambling and resulting in postponements, cancellations and transitions to virtual events.

From B2B conferences and charity dinners to marathons and beer festivals – the event industry has been turned upside down. Here are some helpful questions to consider before planning, changing or canceling an upcoming event.

  1. If this event accomplishes just one thing, what would that be?

This may sound like an easy question to answer, but chances are that your event has more than one purpose, ranging from education to fundraising. Distill the purpose down to its most basic goal before you begin thinking about how to proceed.

  1. How can my event serve each audience?

While attendees will likely be your largest audience, they’re not the only people who matter. Other important audiences can include sponsors, partner organizations, vendors or beneficiaries. Each will have a different set of needs and concerns related to your event.

  1. Can I deliver an event that will be valuable through a virtual platform?

While many events can be easily transitioned to a virtual model, not all can or should. The good social capital you’ve built over the years for hosting top-notch events can easily be lost by throwing together webinars and virtual events that hold little true value to your audiences.

  1. Can I create something even better?

Use the current uncertainty to think outside the convention center and create something truly unique that delivers for your audiences. Find inspiration online with other industry events – and if you have feedback from previous years, review it to remind yourself what your attendees most value.

  1. Do I have a clearly articulated plan for multiple scenarios?

Even if your event seems safe because it’s later in the year, build a contingency plan now just in case. Review your insurance policy, check contracts and know what your “go” or “no-go” date is for sunk costs. Then, develop a plan to communicate any changes.