We work with what is a dream association for a management firm – an industry group with a very active board and committee chair people. Each of the many committees plans and pretty much produces their events. Some events are simple seminars, others far more complex. And, every leader is earnest in their activity and responsibilities, laudable given how intense their day jobs are.

As we worked with them, it became apparent that when an event was put on the calendar it was sometimes lacking all of the necessary details that would make it viable. Now, I believe in sending out “Save the Date” messaging, but we often didn’t even have a date – just a desire for the happening. Guess what followed. LOTS of emails. We went back and counted; there had been 128 emails back and forth among and between all parties before the event actually happened. No, this was not a gala at The Plaza.

I was about to ask the board president for a discussion on the inefficiency and very real opportunity for major screw up with this kind of communication when she asked for a talk. Beat me to it as my staff was spending all day reading discussion emails. The President asked me to figure something out as they were being copied on much of this chaos.

We developed an online event form which is in its infancy but has promise. It asks for all the information truly needed to produce the event. By asking for this information, it aids the chair people in knowing the scope of their responsibilities and it gives us what we need to get going on the internal and external marcom.

Is everyone using the form now? Yes. Is it fully filled out? No. That was too much to ask right away, but it helps a lot. It’s a new tool in our toolbox which can help non-profits have the successful events they envision.

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