Danielle Volman is only a junior at Boston University, but you’d think she’s been running events for years! Despite how easy she makes it look, Danielle will attest that things are not always as they appear. We asked her to provide some insight regarding what it takes to run a successful event (no pun intended).
Have you ever tried to organize a 5K race? Well let me tell you, it is not an easy feat, but definitely the MOST REWARDING! So, where would you even begin? I would definitely recommend recruiting at least 5 brave souls ready to dedicate themselves to a great cause, and a lot of logistics. Your next task is to battle all the other organizations for your date and location from the DCR – Department of Conservation and Recreation. This may take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the popularity of the date you are trying to get and most of all depending on how quickly you can submit your application fee and liability insurance. Luckily, if you are already working as part of some institution, they may already have insurance – as was the case for me – but good luck trying to get them to adapt to your event!
Let’s say you now have your crew, a date, and a location. Congrats! What’s next? The meat of the organizing involves getting sponsors. You need sponsors for everything – handing out their product on the day of the race (hydrating and feeding the runners), giving you great deals on items like T-shirts, donating their own time to do something like face painting, providing prizes for the participants, keeping you under budget, just to name a few… Keep working on the sponsors the entire time – you can never have to many people trying to get involved (the more the more festive your event will be).
So, you’ve gotten a good amount done so far, but who is going to come to the race if they don’t know about it? The most important part of the entire planning process is marketing! You can’t have an event without participants and volunteers, but how do you motivate them to come? If a good cause isn’t enough (usually it is, but do not plan on this), print tons of flyers, post your event absolutely everywhere online, AND bribe your target audience with some awesome free swag! Downtown Custom Printwear helped us easily order super good smelling and tasting (actual flavor is vanilla – real taste and smell is a tie between sugar cookies and vanilla frosting!!!) lip balm with our logo, race date, and website. The chapstick was a huge hit!
Now for the big catch! Every single event these days has its own “complimentary” T-shirt. I know I have at least 1 full drawer of event shirts, so how do you make yours stand out? Our goal was to include our logo, race date, awareness for our cause, and a TON of sponsors – and on top of all that…MAKE IT LOOK GOOD and have people wear them all the time. Solution: contact Downtown Dan at DCP! He and his crew are amazing (magicians almost).
Word of advice, communicate to sponsors EARLY, REALLY EARLY what the requirements for adding their logo to your shirt are – black and white, full color, 2 color, and most importantly the FORMAT of the file! You would be surprised how many managers have absolutely no idea what you are talking about even when you just ask them to email you a version of their logo. Once you start telling them specifications, just forget about it! You need at least 3-4 weeks prior to the shirt deadline to request the logo, respond about 10 times explaining that what they sent simply will not reflect well on their company if their logo looks like a blob, and finally send it to DCP. I say this like all the managers eventually followed through. No, that wasn’t the case. This is where working with Dan and DCP pays off – they will get you through it! Check out our shirts – American Apparel, V-neck, and just plain awesome!
Of course there is a lot more to planning a 5K – ordering tables and chairs, getting the race timing company, coordinating with my college, designing all of the marketing material, doing the actual posting and blogging, responding to millions of emails and phone calls, ordering a start/finish line banner, securing entertainment, the list goes on and on and I can talk about the event forever! So, if you have a question or would like to help out, support, donate, or sponsor us for our great cause – PLGAs (pediatric brain tumors – the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in kids) – contact me at email@example.com and I’ll be sure to respond!
Danielle Volman, Race Director of iChase the Cure
Twitter – #iChasetheCure