Last week I had the honor of speaking at the NetSquared meeting in Houston. I talked about how the merger of online and offline is transforming events and fundraising. You can find the complete write-up on the Tendenci blog and my slides on Google Drive. The summary on the blog starts with the conclusion of my presentation, but I want to take a little more time to elaborate on the introduction, in which I discussed key event participants. There are four key people that you want to be part of your event to help make it a success. I define success as a well-rounded event that will have as broad of an appeal as possible within your specific niche. Those people are the following:
Influencers - I know you may think you know what I mean by influencers, but you may be wrong. When I hear the term thrown around the internet, it is usually referring to individuals that have a high Klout score or a large follower count. My definition is broader than that. Think community leaders, local news personalities, city officials, prominent CEOs, and also those with pull on the internet. They will not only add more appeal to your event, but they will also help build the anticipation of your next soiree.
Loyalists/Legacies - Most seasoned organizations have a stable of supporters that may or may not be internet savvy. Just because they don't tweet or hang out on Facebook doesn't make them useless. In fact they are one of your most valued assets. When moving in a new direction you can't forget about the people that have carried the organization for so many years. These advisers will be your barometer of what is new and exciting and what might alienate the old guard. Listen to them!
Professionals - This group might not have been intimately involved with your organization previous to this event, and that's a good thing. Professionals bring a critical eye and hold a wealth of knowledge. They will spot problems and conflicts way before you even think of them. Adding their abilities to the essence of your function will increase legitimacy and give a fresh perspective.
Hobbyists - Hobbyists sometimes have more energy and spunk than any other contributor. These go-getters work hard and will follow through on whatever tasks you give them. Their passion will keep things energized, organized and will make sure that the details don't fall through the cracks. Having someone to take notes, schedule meetings, book venues, pick up supplies and make calls is invaluable. This also frees up time for event planners to focus and concentrate on the big picture.
The above list is based on my observations from being part of some very talented teams. You do not only want them in your planning core but also in attendance. If you strongly disagree or if you feel I left something out, please leave a comment. I want to hear from you and have a knowledge exchange.