Event as a startup. TEAM matters. (Eventology 5 of 5)

(This post is part of a 5-part series. Check out the overview if it’s your first time here.)

There’s a special kind of craziness that describes a person who wants to create a great experience for others, raise money for a cause, or both. It’s really not very different from the kind of crazy needed to go start a company. In both cases, the journey is much more difficult on your own than with a great team.

In addition to a formal team, many of the people you reach out to while making your event happen may want to help, especially if you can sell them on how much it will help them. Your venue may have press hookups, your press contacts could know potential partners, and your partner organizations might own a place to throw the party.

I fully agree with Rebecca Zhou of Raise Cache when she says “people will gravitate toward you if it’s right.”

Rebecca had grandiose plans for Raise Cache long before it came together. She knew that she was going to need some help. So she started where any of us would start — with emails to friends and a few posts on Craigslist.

After receiving lots of interest, she found 10 people to interview, tested half of them on a task, and ultimately kept two of the strongest on board.

Just as you would carefully flesh out a team if you were starting a new company, put people on your event staff who are strong at things you are not, or enjoy the work that you don’t. “People have different likes,” Rebecca says, “let people do what they love.” This strategy often leads to serendipitous discoveries — after Rebecca tested one of her potential team members on writing invitations, she found that the team member had a great writing voice — which led to the development of the Raise Cache blog.

In addition to early recruiting, the Raise Cache team made organic community involvement easy. All of their planning documents were in google docs and shared with everyone they worked with — everyone they spoke to was enabled to help. Friends made introductions to VIPs, VIPs brought on sponsors, sponsors donated materials and made introductions to people who became friends.

It’s like the circle of life.

By bringing on select talent, enabling the community, and keeping an open-door policy (in addition to having an interesting and inspiring event) you can harness serendipity to do what Rebecca calls “building an army”.

I hope you enjoyed this series on event throwing best practices. If this was your first read, feel free to check out the overview, as well as the posts on negotiating the venue, crafting the story, selling tickets and sponsorship, tracking finances and this one on the team.

(Note: This post is part of a 5-part series on events and party planning. Jump directly into a subtopic here)

  1. Its all about the CUSTOMERS, baby. Venue selection & the Deal.
  2. This is more INTERESTING than whatever else you’re doing.
  3. Pound the PAVEMENT. Sell your heart out.
  4. More MONEY, less problems. Keep your event ROI-positive
  5. Event as a startup. TEAM matters.

My many thanks for the superstars who helped me pull this together:

  • Judy Allen – event guru and author of 10+ books, including Event Planning The Ultimate Guide
  • Rebecca Zhou – Hackstar, UI/UX designer and self-taught event planner extraodinare behind Raise Cache
  • Kelsey Recht – Founder and CEO of Instevent – making event planning easier through expertise and technology
  • Gina Jagtiani – Veteran event planner in NYC and New Orleans, Founder and CEO of eventiveworld.com, and social media empresaria