November 10, 2017 Team Members Who (Unintentionally) Sabotage Your Event
You’ve been preparing for your event for a year, maybe longer, hoping to make it the best one yet. You’ve crossed every “t” and dotted every “i”. You are ready, right? Maybe not.
I’ve seen so many events take a terrible turn on the big night because the “team” didn’t have a clear understanding of their role. I’m not necessarily talking about their job assignment, but rather their roles as hosts and faces of the event. Your event day team can make or break the event. Here are 5 points that you can share with your team prior to your next event to avoid these pitfalls.
It’s Not Your Party – This is probably the biggest piece of information you need to impart to your team. Tell them that they are helping to host this party and should act accordingly. So many times, I see team members who are more concerned about when they are going to get to eat a meal or where their seat is among the other guests or what their family member is doing than focusing on the job they have been assigned. Your team needs to understand that this is a fundraising event, not a social occasion for them. One way you can set this stage is to not charge your team to attend the event if they are truly working the event. You will need to make it clear that by not having to purchase a ticket they are not a guest at the event and therefore are not getting a place at a table with a meal. You DO want your team to have a good time and enjoy themselves but not at the expense (literally and figuratively) of the event. Because they are not included in the meal count for the event, I suggest you have a designated volunteer area where food is available to them before the event or during a scheduled break. This can be as simple as ordering in pizza.
Alcohol Consumption – I’ve written about this topic many times in my blog. Over the years I’ve seen many events that were negatively impacted in a big way by team members who consumed adult beverages while performing their volunteer duties during an event. It doesn’t matter what role you have – if you consume alcohol, you are destined to make some mistakes. I get the argument that one or two drinks won’t hurt a thing. But that opens a Pandora’s box for everyone – just how much can a team member have before it becomes a problem? Each person’s alcohol tolerance is unique to that individual. For some, one drink affects their performance. When a team member imbibes too much, another of the team members is invariably going to have to pick up the slack and do the job the over-indulger isn’t able to complete. This causes discord among team members. Tell your event team that alcohol consumption is ONLY allowed AFTER the event, not before or during the event. Again, remind them that this is not their party.
Applauding During the Event – Creating momentum at a fundraising event is critical to that fundraising. Your professional fundraising auctioneer will work very hard to create this momentum. Your team needs to pitch in here as well. Instruct them to applaud after the sale of each live auction item, any presentations or awards, etc. When your team applauds, the guests will follow along with their applause, which creates energy and positively impacts giving.
Convey a Thank You from the Leadership – Prior to your event, I suggest you plan for a quick meeting with the team members. Granted, it can be difficult to get everyone together before the activities begin, but these few minutes set aside to talk to the team can make a big difference in the success of the event. While you have everyone gathered you can go over the “rules” for the night. But most importantly, have someone in a leadership capacity for your organization thank the team for their help. Many times, we get so busy working IN the event, we forget to work ON the event. Offering your gratitude to the people in the room who are working to make the event possible is not an option, in my book. The team members deserve to know how important they are to the event and how very appreciative your organization is of their time and talents. Many organizations also offer a prayer during this gathering – if this is something you are passionate about, do it!
Why They Are There – We all get so busy preparing for an event that it’s easy to forget why we are there in the first place. Don’t allow your team members to lose sight of the “why”. Remind them they are there to serve the guests and to help create a WOW experience for them so that the event will not only be a huge success but will also develop a reputation as THE not-to-be-missed event in your area.
I realize that some of these topics may be difficult to discuss with a team of volunteers, some of who may be board members. The message you need to get across to the team members might be better coming from your professional fundraising auctioneer. Ask the auctioneer if they will meet with your team before doors open. Just be sure to supply them with the message you want them to impart to the team.
If your team members understand what is expected of them your event will run far more smoothly, and make more money. Make a plan to set these expectations and convey them to the team, then review them just before your event begins.
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