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PufCreativ just launched our first event, A Night of Awareness. The event took place at Cultivated Synergy and benefited the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Attendees enjoyed live music, art, food, drinks and other fun surprises along the way. There were over 200 attendees and we raised thousands of dollars to benefit the local non-profit. We will be announcing the exact dollar amount this week, so stay tuned to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the official announcement.
Although the event was a success, we learned a lot from our mistakes along the way. When combining a non-profit charity event with the cannabis industry, alcohol, and live entertainment, things can get a bit tricky. Below you can find some guidelines to help make your next event a success!
The Planning Process
When planning an event or gathering, be sure to give yourself enough time to organize and communicate all the details to each and every stakeholder. Be realistic when picking a date, time, budget and location. Pick a theme for the event that will eventually coincide with the vibe of the event itself.
For example, we started planning the event six months ago and branded A Night of Awareness within the first month of planning. The event was for a sexual assault non-profit organization, taking place in the RiNo Art District of Denver. It can be very difficult to be creative when branding for an event involving a sensitive subject matter such as the topic of sexual assault, which can spark a variety of reactions.
We eventually decided to roll with an artsy/hippie color scheme, paired with pictures of females and males submerged in water to symbolize the impacts survivors of sexual assault often face such as feeling silenced, caught in a powerful current of emotions, the waves of anger, sadness, and other raw emotions, and fighting to keep their head above water. Water is symbolic in so many ways, we wanted these images to leave room for interpretation from the viewer to attribute their own meaning to the images based on their own thoughts and experiences. This branding scheme created an alignment between the non profit, the venue, and also the vibe we wanted to deliver for the event itself.
It’s extremely important to execute a substantial amount of research when planning an event, especially if it’s benefitting a non-profit. There can be many local laws and regulations related to donations, raffles, permitting, alcohol, etc. Every community has different rules, so be sure to look into each specific area of your event, allowing yourself enough time to apply for the correct licenses and permits well in advance of your event.
You wouldn’t believe the rules that we’ve learned over the past few months. For example, in order to accomodate guests with a cash bar, we needed to get a tax id and sign-off from a non-profit and then apply/pay for a permit from the city. Once we were approved, we had to print out a 4ft by 2ft poster and nail it to the front of the venue. Then a gentleman stopped by everyday at 8am to mark off that the post was still up.
On top of rules and regulations research, you’ll want to look into what other local events are taking place around your area. Denver has multiple events going on every single night. Although we had to compete with the band, Medeski, Martin, Wood, and Scofield, there wasn’t much else going on around the city for a Saturday night.
Even when you give yourself enough time to plan and do all the research in the world, you still need to execute the night of. The first step to a successful execution is strong communication. Be sure to have a project team that can help execute action items along the way. You will never be able to do everything yourself, so just take that thought out of your mind now. Be sure to not only communicate all event details thoroughly to your project team, but to all stakeholders along the way. There were a lot of questions that came up right before the event that I could have communicated in my prior emails and campaigns.
The next step is having realistic expectations. Having a thorough risk analysis prior to your event is a must. You will want to prepare for as much to go wrong as possible. On the other hand, it’s inevitable that there will be problems along the way.
When you’re dealing with a plethora of personalities, different people expect different treatment. Some people will try to take advantage, while other will be super helpful. When you’re dealing with food, drinks, lights, bands, and heavy equipment, it just ads to the potential complications. At the end of the day, just take a deep breath and trust in the process.
If you or someone you know is looking to plan an event or gathering, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for event consultation, planning and/or execution.
Photo Credit Our friends at Greenlove Media: http://greenlovedenvermedia.com/