Social Success: How to Put On a Successful Event
Putting on an event can be like hiking up a hill. Making sure the event is successful can be like climbing Mount Everest. But it doesn’t have to be.
“For us personally, we really have a social component to our clubs that we want to create,” said Chez Misko, the chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Athletic Clubs. “It’s kind of that ‘Cheers’ mentality of where your members get to know each other.”
With the desire for implementing social events into the club, Misko said one must determine the goal. “Well, there are typically two reasons to run an event,” he explained. “One, it could be from a standpoint of member retention, and the other is to generate revenue. So, when we go through and look at programs and events, we try to look at what’s the objective of the actual program and event … Once you’ve determined the objective, then there’s a different sense of ways to evaluate the success.”
Planning is a crucial ingredient in making an event successful. According to Misko, you must ensure you have a passionate person, or what he called a “champion,” heading the event’s planning and analyzing it from a logical perspective. For example, he or she should consider what else is going on that day that may clash with the event. It’s key all the questions are asked and answered before implementation.
The next step is promotion. “A personal invitation is the best way to really engage people into participating in your [events],” said Misko. “Flyers, social media, all those things are great and are helpful tools, but it’s the personal invitation that ultimately makes programs [and events] successful.”
On the retention side of determining success, Misko said it’s key to evaluate the event’s success. One of the ways to do this is to analyze the participation, not just for a single event, but also for others like it throughout the years. “The evaluation is really crucial because that’s where the rubber meets the road,” he said. “We track year after year. Are we increasing participation? Are we staying the same? What’s the purpose of it? Are we really reaching that objective? … Participation is one thing you do track and that you do want to look at as really looking at the success of a program.”
The value of events to a club’s members is also important. In fact, this can boost retention. “What’s the perceived value to the membership by offering certain programs and activities? It’s like having nutrition programs even for those people that don’t always attend it — knowing that we have some of those programs adds value to their membership,” said Misko.
In the end, a successful event truly comes down to it being fun. “I think from the standpoint of making programs or events successful is you have got to make them fun,” said Misko. “That’s the key.”
By Heather Hartmann