How to plan an unforgettable event

This is it, your big moment, you want to plan an unforgettable event. We’ve all been there, you’ve just started brainstorming for your event. It might be a big family function or a company retreat you were just informed you would be responsible for. This is a crucial stage. Right now you have a pivotal decision to make: do you want to plan successful and ordinary event or do you want to plan an unforgettable event. You might think I am pushing you towards the latter option, but let’s be honest both are very good options. Depending on your situation either might be the right choice for you. However, now is the time to take a deep breath and make this decision.

That is exactly what happened at the first meeting with my fellow team members, for what would eventually become the Freezin’ for a Reason fundraiser. This project is a fundraising campaign that is hosted by groups from Loyalist College’s Public Relations program every year. As the four of us sat around the table discussing the project one thing was apparent, we were all highly motivated, dedicated to this project, and reliable. This would not be a group project spent tediously chasing down team members to fulfill their roles. At that point we decided on two goals for our campaign. First, it had to be a unique event, not some variation of the usual suspects in fundraising ideas. Second, we wanted to beat the previous fundraising record, which was approximately $2000.

The first objective was actually the most challenging aspect of the entire event. We spent weeks developing and subsequently eliminating ideas. We were almost at the deadline to submit our idea when it finally came together; Belleville’s first-ever polar plunge!

Keys to an unforgettable event

The polar plunge event hit all of the key criteria for a memorable event, it:

  • appeals to a large number of people
  • creates community involvement
  • is new and intriguing to the target audience
  • multiplies your reach by recruiting participants who engage their connections
  • promotes friendly competition
  • is news-worthy

That in a nutshell is a complete list of the elements of a memorable event. Not all unforgettable events have each of those elements, but they will have the majority of them.

So to recap how do you plan an unforgettable event?

  1. Don’t be afraid to keep brainstorming until you hit on your ‘heck yeah’ idea. You MUST be excited about your event, or nobody else will be either.
  2. Craft your idea to include as many key elements from the list above as possible.
  3. Meticulously plan the details of your event.
  4. Work your butt off to make sure it happens.

For those of you waiting with bated breath to find out if we met our goals, we blew them out of the water. Was our campaign unique? It was a first-ever in Belleville and featured 30 participants plunging into frigid water in March. To give you an idea of the temperature, we had to cut a hole through more than a foot of ice to reach the water below. The fundraiser attracted more than 200 spectators and was covered by multiple local media sources. Did we beat the previous record of $2000! Heck yeah, in total we raised over $8400!