How to organize an event (EN)

This page pretends to be a guide or check list for all event organizers (new ones and experienced). It is a list of advices. It should not be understood as a list of rules. Send me please any suggestions that you think that would be useful.

Clica aquí, si vols llegir aquest document en català. Pulsa aquí, si quieres leer este documento en español.

FIRST STEPS

  • When should I plan the event?
    • The meeting time is your decision, but you should take into account the following:
      • If meeting time is too early (before 6 pm) on Friday, less people are going to be able to join you (but maybe that’s what you want too).
      • If the meeting is too early in the morning, it can happen the same.
    • When the event is taking place is your decision too, but:
      • If it is one-day event on Sunday and you are going by car, coming back to Barcelona can take longer time because of rush hour. This happens more often when the weather is nice. Therefore, it is better to plan one-day events on Saturday.
      • If you are leaving just before a long-weekend or vacation time, it can take a long time to leave Barcelona.
    • When should I publish it?
      • If you publish an event taking place in one week or less, less people will join it. They have probably made other plans. The best time in advance is 4-6 weeks.
      • If you are not going to charge any fee, it is enough if you publish it two weeks in advance. This way you are going to spend less time organizing it.
      • People tend to change their plans easily, if you plan more than two weeks in advance, you should charge a reservation fee to increase the ratio of people attending to it. Take into account that this implies more work for you.
  • Choosing a Meeting Point
    The meeting point has to be chosen taking into account the transportation that you are going to use:
    • Are you going by car?
      • You need to choose a place where cars can park easily (like Palau Reial).
      • It is a very good practice to choose a place that allows you to leave the city quickly. If the drivers can reach a highway or a main road in short time, people will not get confused easily following driving directions.
    • Are you walking or going by bus or train?
      • Choose a place that can be recognized easily (a tower, a fountain, …)
      • Avoid the Ticket Office (if you go by bus or train) and other places where a lot of other people, not related to the event, could be.
    • Do I have to assign every person to a car?
      • No, but it is a good practice. People will feel more comfortable knowing it in advance and they will ask you less questions.
      • If you do it, people can leave sooner (or later) and/or from a more convenient (for them) meeting point, if they arrange it with the driver. Important: If the drivers depart from different places, there is the risk that if a driver can not come, his/her passengers can not travel in another car.
      • A couple of days before the event, send a confirmation email with the information of which people is assigned to which car. This will produce a feeling of compromise of the attendants and ocasionally some people will change their RSVP to No. In this case, to have your waiting list is in Manual Mode will help you. You can find below in this document how to manage the waiting list.
    • Another idea is to meet where the event is going to start. For instance, instead of meeting in Barcelona, you meet in the Monastery of Montserrat where you will start a hike. With this option:
      • If the people have to travel by car, the drivers have to be in charge of the coordination with the people in his/her car. You have to be sure that the drivers understand this situation and it is mandatory to assign every person to a car.
      • If the people have to travel by bus or train, everybody is in charge of buying the corresponding ticket. It will make your life easier.
  • How many people can join the event?
    • Which is the maximum amount of people that should be able to join the event?
      • Groups of more than 15-16 people, tend to be a group of groups. This means, people will interact with a reduced amount of people and not with the rest. If you want better people-interaction, do not plan events with more than 20 people.
      • If what you are planning is a hard hike or something riskier than a relaxed hike, a group bigger than 10-12 people increases the inherent risks of the event.
    • If you are going with your car, you should open the event to 4-5 people at the beginning and ask for car drivers to tell you in their comment, if they are coming with their cars.
      • Every time that a driver joins the event you can modify the amount of people that can join the event.
  • Outdoor activities involve some risks that you should not ignore
    Always suggest to the people joining your event to have an insurance or similar for the activity that you are organizing. Keep in mind that associations, such as the hiking club MadTeam, offer the chance to get federation licenses (by FEEC).
  • Description of the event
    • Try to give a clear description of the event. If your description is clear enough, people will send you fewer emails and you will have less work answering them. You can use this event as a template.
    • You can upload files with extended information in the Files section and include a link to the file in the description of the event. The extended information can be the GPS Track, Maps, Driving Directions and anything that you consider that it is useful. You can download here one that you can use as a template.
  • Promote your event
    Once you have created your event, Meetup offers you the chance to email all members of the group. Take advantage of that and write an email telling everybody that you are organizing an event. More people will join it, and you will have more fun.
    • It is not necessary to use this feature just after you created the event. Meetup will remind you that you can promote the event and do it later.

ONCE YOU HAVE PUBLISHED YOUR EVENT

  • Managing the waiting list
    It is mandatory the use of a Wainting List:
    • If you are going to the event by feet, bus or train and you are not charging any reservation fees, this is the best option. The system will manage the waiting list and you will not have to do anything.
    • If you are going to the event by feet, bus or train and you are charging reservation fees, this is still the best option. Nevertheless, you have to check if somebody new joined the event in order to inform him/her about how to pay the fees.
    • If you are going by car, this is not a good setting for the waiting list. If a driver changes his/her RSVP, another person will automatically join the event making the problem of having one car less even worse.
    • This setting is usefull (less work for the Organizer), if the event is going to take place in several days. It is also fairer, because the people will join the event in chronological order.
  • Closing an event:
    If you choose to close and event, no more people can join it and people will not receive emails informing that there are free spots:
    • If you want to manage the waiting list manually, it is a good practice to close the event before you change who is coming or not and after you managed it re-open the event again. This way people will not get emails about free spots that do not really exist.
    • It is a good practice to close an event (not allowing more RSVPs) 24 or 48 hrs. before. People are not constantly connected. If somebody in the waiting list gets a free spot, it is very likely that he/she do not realize it and he/she will not probably attend the event. In this case, the organizer should not count it as a No-Show.
    • You can close an event if there are too many people in the waiting list (double as much as allowed to join the event).
    • Few days before the event takes place, and if you are not going by car, you can set the waiting list in Manual Mode and re-open the event. In this case, if somebody changes his/her RSVP to No other people could take this free spot.
  • Managing cars:
    • Try to keep always one spot free in each car. If you assign 4 people to every car and one driver gets sick or cancels, you can assign the people in his/her car to other cars. They will have less space and will travel not as comfortable as they could, but it is better to travel with 5 people in a car than not to travel at all.
    • If somebody in the waiting list offers his car, it is a good practice to let him/her join the event even if they are not the first people in the waiting list. This way, you will have back-up cars and if a car driver gets sick or cancels, you can solve the problem easily. Try always to make your life easier.
  • Managing tents:
    The same ideas used to manage cars can be applied to manage tents.
  • Managing reservation fees:
    • If you have to book an accommodation or a company for the event, do not use your money or you can have bad surprises.
    • You can also ask for a reservation fee in order to increase the ratio of people attending the event (reducing No-Shows) even if you do not have to book anything. You can return the reservation fee at the event or use it to pay for the petrol of the cars, etc. Remember though that you are not allowed to make any profit. This is a non-profit group.
    • All payments have to be managed manually. Nor Paypal or Amazon Payments are allowed.
    • A good practice is to have an Excel sheet to register all the requested and received payments.
    • Another good practice is to ask for different amounts to every person in order to recognize easily who performed a payment. I usually modify the cents of the amount and I return the difference at the event (for instance if the reservation fee is 30 EUR, I ask to pay 30.01 EUR to the first person, 30.02 EUR to the second one and so on).
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