In a recent article about event strategy, we laid out the four critical elements of event strategy: planning, executing, engaging and improving. Today, we’ve asked an event coordinator with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra how she thinks about event execution. How does an event plan ensure it lives up to the brand standard of a world class organization?
These are excerpts from our weekly podcast with Clarisa Ramos Kearney from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra:
Our audience is always looking for best practices – new themes, decor, prizes, technologies, etc. At the PSO, the bar is high. You are engaging with big donors that have contributed to all the great programs, musicians, and facilities that make the PSO a world class institution. So, what are you doing to delight them? What are you doing to get them to say "wow – I’ve never seen that before"?
“Before we get ready for each event, we’re brainstorming ideas for themes. A lot of that can influence the music that goes into the concert, what is something that hasn’t been done in the city, or ever. We had an aerialist hanging from the ceiling pouring champagne for guests as they entered; a real spectacle that it created. Our patrons still talk about that...What is going to set things apart? How do we get that attention of our patrons every year?”
I was speaking with an event planner last week about the make or break elements of a successful event. She told me that there were always three big rocks that she had to be focused on when planning that will decide the success or failure of the event. What are the big rocks you’re focused on, that will make or break your events?
“Part 1 is, have we hit our fundraising target? A successful auction can and has moved the needle significantly, taking us over our fundraising goals. Hitting these targets, is something that’s always on my mind. A lot of work goes on before we ever get to the event to make sure we hit that goal.
“Part 2 of my focus; our guests expect to be taken care of and their needs to be remembered. Before every event we try to gather as much information about our guests as possible. By anticipating their needs we can ensure a smooth night for everyone.
“But we can’t just know the information, we have to follow through and execute it well. By creating a thorough timeline, and well thought out volunteer roles, we make sure our volunteers feel comfortable with their roles. This is so important to us because we rely on our guest support, and the back end makes all the difference.”
For more event execution insights from this sales leader, download the first episode of the etouches Affinity Podcast.