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Events that are well planned and executed can directly impact the growth of your association. The truth is; however, event planning is no walk in the park. It takes a great deal of thought, attention to detail, organization, and creativity to plan an annual conference or recruiting event. If you would like to plan successful events for your association, be sure to avoid the following common event planning mistakes.


It’s far too easy to overspend when planning an event. That’s why it’s a good idea to come up with a budget and do whatever you can to stick to it. Consider opting for appetizers instead of a full- blown meal. Take advantage of digital marketing. Leverage vendors who can provide multiple services for a discounted price. Get creative where you can, and avoid reinventing the wheel whenever possible. These are all great ways to reduce costs and avoid overspending.

Poor Communication

Effective communication is the key to planning a successful event. If you fail to communicate with your internal event team and your vendors, there will likely be many hiccups during planning and at your live event. Good communication requires good management. A great event manager can make clear who does what and when. It’s imperative everyone understands your expectations and adheres to their assigned timetable. Poor event management will result in a lackluster event at best and chaos at worst.

Ignoring Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s law states that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Unfortunately, things are bound to go wrong before your event or even during your event. Therefore, it’s imperative that you anticipate what could go wrong and design a solid contingency plan. What if your keynote speaker falls ill and has to cancel last minute? What if your event falls on an election year and the President decides to make a campaign stop three streets from your venue; causing a massive traffic nightmare? These are actual things that have happened, and while you can’t build contingency plans for every scenario, planning for those which can have a significant impact on your event is a good idea.

A Lack of or Unclear Signage

Imagine a member driving or flying for several hours only to finally arrive at your event and become lost or confused about where they’re supposed to go. To avoid frustrating or angering your attendees, ensure they know exactly where to go by creating adequate signage. Remember that it’s better to have too much signage than not enough. Lack of adequate signage will also burden event staff as members will be constantly asking for directions or clarification.

Inadequate Staff

Once you’ve finalized the number of members attending your event, it’s important to ensure you have enough staff to support them. Determine whether your internal event planning team and vendors will be able to adequately serve the needs of your members and provide them with an enjoyable experience. As the old adage goes, it’s better to have and not need than need and not have.

Failing to Consider External Factors

Before setting a date and time for your event, consider external factors. These are the things out of your control, which may impact the success of your event. Weather and other major events occurring at the same time are typically the big external factors which get associations in trouble. For example, is there a major concert or sporting event in town that day? Is it spring break for most of the school districts in your area? Is it December in Wisconsin? Even major cities have hotel capacity limitations, rental car availability, and available attractions like bars and restaurants. Booking alongside another major event will mean competing for these valuable local resources.

Contact Stansfeld, LLC. Today

Stansfield, LLC. specializes in helping associations plan and execute events that leave lasting impressions on their members. For more information on our event planning services, contact us today.