Start by creating a calendar of events, ideally at the start of the new Fiscal Year (July 1 — June 30)
Plan at least three events per year, each with a different purpose. Your annual events calendar should offer a balanced blend of content, networking, philanthropy or community service, recreational, or cultural activities. Events may include a guest speaker or panel, a family-focused event during the weekend to attract “new” alumni to your chapter, and career-related events. Speed-networking events are also popular. Or invite a certified career coach to speak on a topic of interest, such as negotiating a raise, managing an international team, or serving on a non-profit board.
As you focus on an individual event, begin by discussing these questions with your board:
- What is the goal of the event?
- Who is the target audience? What will they get out of it?
- What is our budget? How much time and how many volunteers do we need?
- What do we need at the event? (E.g. What type of venue? What speakers? What a/v and food?)
- How will we promote the event?
In every communication, make the benefits of attendance clear to your audience. Why should they attend? What will they learn or how will their lives benefit from attending the event? Also, confirm that the timing of your events do not conflict with events on the Berkeley Haas’ Events Calendar or those planned by the University for alumni in your region.
For every event, start planning AT LEAST three months in advance and schedule your promotional messages. Send a “save the date” message six to eight weeks out. Promote the event through various communication channels. (See section below on Promotion) Create text that is concise, compelling, and appropriate for that communication channel.
Don’t start from scratch. Here are four useful documents, compliments of the BHAN East Bay chapter, to plan and prepare for events.