Christian Meeting Planning Resources – October Update

Here is what we’ve added in October by category

Marketing/Promotion

Site Selection

Retreats/Meetings

Meeting Planners

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

Top 10 Posts – 3rd Quarter 2012

Fall is here and I for one can’t wait for the changing leaves and cooler temperatures.   This means the 3rd quarter is behind us and it’s time to share our 10 most read posts over the past 3 months. Hopefully this will help you find a great post you might have missed…

  1. What’s A Hollow Square – As in any industry, hotels and conference centers sometimes have a language all their own. Here’s a little help in translating…
  2. Ridgecrest Recipe:  Rutland Chicken – Have you been looking for something new to do with chicken?  Enjoy and then let us know what you think!
  3. 5 Things To Do AFTER Your Meeting Is Over – Everyone has gone home and you want to relax but here are a few things that still need to be done and will definitely help you in planning future meetings and/or retreats.
  4. 8 Ideas For Promoting Your Church Retreat –  If you don’t also spend time on strategically promoting your retreat, you may end up with a great retreat that no one attends. With that in mind, here are 8 ideas for helping to promote your upcoming church retreat.
  5. 3 Steps To More Productive Brainstorming – Brainstorming with your planning team is a great way to ensure you provide an event your attendees will find engaging and worthwhile.  Here are 3 steps to take that will go a long way to making your next session more productive.
  6. 3 Tips To Creating An Unforgettable Event – Here are 3 tips on how to turn your event into an unforgettable experience.
  7. Creating A Standout Womens Retreat – A podcast interview with Chris Adams and Betsy Langmade, 2 of LifeWay’s long-time women’s leaders sharing what they’ve learned about planning women’s events.
  8. 5 Tips For Programming Effective Youth Camps – Brian Mills serves as student pastor Long Hollow Baptist Church and is passionate about reaching young people for Christ. Here are his thoughts on how to program your youth camp for maximum spiritual impact.
  9. 7 Tips For Getting The Most From A Site Visit – Once you decide to make a site visit, here are 7 tips to help you maximize your time.
  10. Meeting Planner Survival Kit – Many planners need to be prepared to address last minute needs and emergencies. Here is a starter list of items you need to have in your meeting planner survival kit to be prepared at your next event.

Which post have you found most helpful?

 

Christian Meeting Planning Resources – September Update

Here is what we’ve added in September by category

Marketing/Promotion

Did you know you could livestream your event on Twitter? Me neither. http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/twitter/livestream-event

20 simple ways to measure event marketing success. http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/marketing/measure

A few tips on planning your event…before you start marketing. http://www.markjcarter.com/2012/03/event-planning-before-marketing/#more-610

Blog writing extraordinaires give their secret tips in this post. http://thinktraffic.net/traffic-building-tips

Retreats/Meetings

How to create networking without actually networking. http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/guest-post/conference-networking
 Need decor ideas for your event? Did you ever think about decorating the ceiling? http://www.bizbash.com/6-eye-catching-ceiling-decor-ideas/gallery/87765
Slightly over the top but 100% eye-catching decorating ideas for any fancy get together http://www.bizbash.com/25-best-ideas-from-social-events/gallery/85110

Meeting Planners

What to do before and during a video conference? http://www.persuasive-speechesnow.com/virtual-meeting.html

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

For What It's Worth…Was It Worth It?

Your event is over and you’ve (mostly) recuperated from the physical and mental demands of planning and holding your event.  Was it worth it?

Here are three key factors to consider when answering this question:

  • Results: Was the event’s purpose (which is likely aligned with the organization’s purpose) achieved?  For a Christian event, were the spiritual purposes of the event accomplished?
  • Feedback from attendees:  Consider both anecdotal and more formal responses, like surveys, that you requested.
  • Financial Outcome: In this area, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line.

Whereas secular events don’t hesitate to include all of the above factors when assessing an event’s worth, sometimes Christians are hesitant to consider the financial outcome because it doesn’t seem as spiritually-focused as the others.

In our office, we always consider the financial outcome along with the first two factors once an event concludes.  We do this not only because we are part of a self-sustaining ministry that must fund itself through business principles, but also because the Biblical principle of stewardship encourages us to use our funds, time, and talents in a wise manner.  “It was worth it all if only one life was changed” has merit, but so does considering how we might have an even greater kingdom impact with the resources consumed by that event if we apply them differently in the future.

We don’t expect every event to be financially profitable every year, as potential for growth and future impact are always considered.  And, the profitability of an event does not automatically trump other considerations when determining an event’s worth, as there are numerous events we could plan that would be financially beneficial but not align with our purpose.  An event that falls within the intersection where attendees’ goals are met, our purposes are accomplished, and we exhibit wise stewardship has the potential to greatly impact lives both now and in the future.

What Did I Learn On That Retreat Again?

A retreat is meant to be a calming time where kids and adults feel closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. While at the retreat, it’s easy to feel the rush that comes along with the exciting weekend. But, once you get home, that high wears off, and it’s easy to fall back into your everyday routine. As a pastor, speaker, or event planner, you want to do everything possible to make attendees feel God’s love and implement the lessons learned weeks, months, and years after a retreat.

In a blog titled, “3 Ways to Make Retreat Lessons Memorable,” we discussed what to do during a retreat to help attendees after the event. (Go read that if you haven’t!) Now that you’ve applied all of those ideas, here are some tips on what you (the pastor, leader, etc) can do after the retreat to help your guests keep the retreat message in the minds.

  1. Send an informative email to the attendees of what you did that week. If you didn’t give an outline or notes during the retreat, you can give them after. Talk about what lessons were learned, what discussions were had and what activities were present. If possible, writing personalized notes to each attendee would be a nice touch as well.
  2. In the email, you can also (with consent) send a list of contact information of all staff, volunteers, and attendees. Having the names and phone numbers (and Facebook URLs) of other people could easily create long-lasting friendships between anyone at the retreat.
  3. Mailing out a DVD is another option to remind attendees of what was taught. Listening to the worship part of the retreat can mentally bring attendees back to the event very quickly, giving them the same overwhelming feeling of Jesus all over again.
  4. I was discussing this topic with a friend, and he gave me the best idea of all: Have each attendee write a letter to their future selves. During a break or at an activity, have guests write a letter to themselves about the event: how they feel, what they’re learning, and reminders of how they see the world at that exact moment. Then you can mail these letters a few weeks or months later.

Any other tips to keep the retreat feeling alive after it’s over?

Christian Meeting Planning Resources – August Update

Here is what we’ve added in August by category

Marketing/Promotion

Don’t ever blend in…especially when marketing and selling! http://www.ready2spark.com/2012/02/brand-differentiation.html

How to really, really build your brand http://www.ready2spark.com/2012/02/how-to-build-a-manifesto.html

Don’t make these social media mistakes! http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/tips/event-mistakes

5 more tips on how to plan and market your event (or party) http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/5-tips-for-small-business-event-planning.htm

Who doesn’t want their event to go viral? http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/concepts/10-elements-events-viral

Site Selection

A dozen fun retreat (and camping) ideas for the whole family http://bradzockoll.tripod.com/youthworker/id7.html

Retreats/Meetings

Awesome season based event ideas for any retreat, meeting, event, or the like! http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/5-fun-seasonal-event-ideas.htm

What are 4 different types of retreats? http://www.sugarhollowretreat.com/4-examples-spiritual-retreats

Budget/Cost Savings

How to save some retreat planning money in 8 simple steps http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/christian-retreat-planning-on-a-budget-1982758.html

Read these 49 tips to save money before planning your next meeting or conference http://meetingsnet.com/costsaving_budget/save-money-planning-meetings-0621/

How to hire and train conference and retreat volunteers. http://www.samhsa.gov/fbci/Volunteer_handbook.pdf

Meeting Planners

What planners can learn from the 2012 olympics http://www.busyevent.com/blog/?p=656

In depth and extremely helpful look on how to plan a retreat. http://bible.org/article/retreats-first-things-first

15 exceptionally useful websites to help plan an event. http://www.eventeducation.com/top-event-planning-tools.php

 

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

 

Resources – July Update

Here is what we’ve added in July by category

Marketing/Promotion

Twitter Hashtag Pages – The most crucial social media tool on-site at conferences is the Twitter hashtag…

Site Selection

The Green Meetings Evolution – The meeting and convention industry has made some eco-friendly strides in recent…

Visual Worship – What we see in the world around us deepens our knowledge and understanding of a Holy God and causes us to…

Retreats/Meetings

Choosing The Best Speaker – Hiring speakers is tricky business. Will they engage audience members or have them struggling to keep…

Creative Menu Planning on a Budget– Knowing peoples’ eating habits can help you save a bunch at your next event…

Meeting Planners

Meetings Industry Is Moving Forward Slowly – The average U.S. meeting attendee, over the course of a three-day event, uses more than 2,000…

5 New Networking Opportunities at RCMA – Religious Conference Manager Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting offers…

I hope you find these helpful and remember we have many more than might interest you  in the Meeting Planner Resources section of the blog.

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Your Event Is Over, Now What?

You just got home from your big event. Chances are you probably need some sleep, but you feel deeply satisfied with your organization’s hard work, hope your attendees had a wonderful time and are trying to remember if you paid that caterer…

Now, you’re coming down from the post-event excitement and wondering what to do next. You have dozens of business cards on your desk. You start to wonder if your guests really did have an awesome time and you start to question if anyone actually learned anything. How do you handle all of this?

Well, we’re here to help! Below are 5 simple steps to help you gain feedback from and communicate with your attendees, coworkers, and other guests after a conference:

  1. Say thank you – First and foremost be sure to thank your staff, volunteers and faculty. This is the most important action you could possibly take. Thanking them will not only let them know how much you care, but also make them feel an important part of the team. You can do this via phone,  email or the more friendly and endearing way of a handwritten note.  When thanking your employees or co-workers, we suggest having a little thank-you lunch or simply go around the office telling them how awesome they are.
  2. Connect with new people – If possible, communicate with everyone new you met. Thank them for attending, but also attempt to kindle a friendship or business relationship. After all, isn’t that why you hung on to those business cards?
  3. Explain event outcomes – Let them know which of your goals were accomplished and which weren’t. If you were trying to raise money, let them know how much you raised. If you had a goal to build community, share stories that reflect how well that happened.
  4. Ask for feedback – You can do this in the form of another email, a quick survey, or even a meeting of your planning team. Ask questions such as, “What was your favorite part of the conference?” and “Would you recommend this event to a friend?” This will help you know what to change and what to keep the same for the future.
  5. Review what others are saying – Check Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone has been talking about your event. If so, what were they saying? I believe people are more likely to share their true thoughts with their friends on social media than they are when you send them a survey.

What do you typically do after returning from one of your events? Care to share?

Top 10 Posts – 2nd Quarter 2012

I think it’s safe to say we’ve entered the dog days of summer and I’m already looking forward to fall. This means the 2nd quarter is behind us and it’s time to share our 10 most read posts over the past 3 months. Hopefully this will help you find a worthy post you might have missed in the past…

  1. 3 Steps To More Productive Brainstorming – Brainstorming with your planning team is a great way to ensure you provide an event your attendees will find engaging and worthwhile.  Here are 3 steps to take that will go a long way to making your next session more productive.
  2. What’s A Hollow Square – As in any industry, hotels and conference centers sometimes have a language all their own. Here’s a little help in translating…
  3. 8 Ideas For Promoting Your Church Retreat –  If you don’t also spend time on strategically promoting your retreat, you may end up with a great retreat that no one attends. With that in mind, here are 8 ideas for helping to promote your upcoming church retreat.
  4. Ridgecrest Recipe:  Rutland Chicken – Have you been looking for something new to do with chicken?  Enjoy and then let us know what you think!
  5. 5 Things To Do AFTER Your Meeting Is Over – Everyone has gone home and you want to relax but here are a few things that still need to be done and will definitely help you in planning future meetings and/or retreats.
  6. Creating A Standout Womens Retreat – A podcast interview with Chris Adams and Betsy Langmade, 2 of LifeWay’s long-time women’s leaders sharing what they’ve learned about planning women’s events.
  7. Meeting Planner Survival Kit – Many planners need to be prepared to address last minute needs and emergencies. Here is a starter list of items you need to have in your meeting planner survival kit to be prepared at your next event.
  8. 3 Tips To Creating An Unforgettable Event – Here are 3 tips on how to turn your event into an unforgettable experience.
  9. 5 Tips For Programming Effective Youth Camps – Brian Mills serves as student pastor Long Hollow Baptist Church and is passionate about reaching young people for Christ. Here are his thoughts on how to program your youth camp for maximum spiritual impact.
  10. 7 Tips For Getting The Most From A Site Visit – Once you decide to make a site visit, here are 7 tips to help you maximize your time.

Which post have you found most helpful?