Back in November 2016 I had the opportunity to plan an event with some of my classmates for a local not for profit. The event was planned on zero budget and was meant to raise money for the not for profit of our choice. We chose to work with a Toronto east-end not for profit called The New Mom Project, which provides necessities for families with newborn babies who cannot afford them.
Initially when we were planning the event, we thought it would be fun to host a paint night because they are a great time and everyone gets to go home with a new piece of art. We soon realized that many venues were not too excited about the potential mess of a paint night however, which lead us to think of new ideas. One of the venues we spoke to mentioned that they had recently held a charity trivia event in their space and we jumped on that idea quickly. Trivia is fun, interactive and doesn’t make a huge mess of the venue. It was perfect!
Now that we had an idea for our event, we needed to find the perfect venue at the perfect price. Toronto can be really expensive and because we had zero budget for the event, finding a venue was proving to be quite difficult. A lot of venues either cost too much or doubted our abilities as students.
Finally, we landed on the Green Room, which was kind enough to let us use their upstairs space for FREE! We were so grateful to them because it meant we could eliminate a major cost and thus donate more of the money we raised to The New Mom Project.
After landing our venue, we could finally start to pull together the logistics. We planned the trivia game, we contacted sponsors to donate prizes so that we could hold a raffle, we came up with the decor and reached out to media to cover our event.
I was in charge of all our event and venue logistics, which meant that:
- I coordinated with our venue to ensure that all A/V equipment would work, find out when we could begin our set-up the day of and what decor we were allowed to use
- I was in charge of ensuring that we had all necessary items for our decor (we covered the tables in packing paper and provided crayons for guests to colour on the tables and my teammate designed custom coasters for our event)
- I put together all of our prizes for the trivia game (we gave prizes for best team name, most correct answers and Airheads candy for the team with the least correct answers, which got some good laughs)
- I planned and managed the event roll-out to make sure everything ran smoothly the night of the event and everyone on our team knew what was happening and when
- I managed our volunteers for the night of the event, making sure everyone knew their role and arrived on time
In addition to my main role, I also helped out with securing sponsorship for the event, monitored and posted on our social media channels, and helped keep track of our budget, expenses and final donation to The New Mom Project.
A few bumps along the way
I think it’s impossible to plan an event without having any challenges come your way. One of the biggest challenges I faced in my role was that the day of our event I found out I had been in contact with the wrong person at our venue. I thought I had been in contact with the manager the entire time, but it turned out I wasn’t, which meant the actual manager was out of the loop and didn’t initially trust us with his venue, particularly with their A/V equipment.
Throughout the set-up I was able to gain the trust of the manager by keeping in contact with him throughout the day so that he knew exactly what was going on at his venue until he came in during the evening. This helped ease his worries and I was able to gain his trust by the time event came around that evening. I gained confidence in my ability to build relationships with new people that day, even when we may not have started off on the right foot.
I am so happy with the way our event turned out that night. Our guests had a lot of fun playing trivia, bought lots of raffle tickets and learned a lot about The New Mom Project thanks to special appearance from its founder, Gwen Broda.
We were able to donate over $1,700 to The New Mom Project. We were so proud!