Church run events, family fun days and community outreach programs are a vital part of extending our reach into our communities and expanding the Kingdom.
Church Event Management is key to running a successful church event.
How well we plan and run these events will be pivotal in the trajectory of our ministry and foster the desire for others to “Come and see” what being part of a Jesus-centred church community is all about.
Walt Disney is reported to have said “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
Let ACS Insurance Services, resource your organisation or event management team with tools and tips to impact your communities and “show them how well you do what you do.”
9 Steps To Successful Church Event Management
The success of your church event relies very heavily on planning and preparation. It is suggested that an organisation should spend just as much time planning an event as they do publicising it.
Benjamin Franklin is reportedly quoted as saying “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”.
Poor planning can result in:
- Shortage of hirable venues (due to seasonal demand – e.g. Christmas Carols Events)
- Budget blowouts
- Losses due to cancellation (perhaps due to unexpected weather events)
- Poor attendance
- Injury to patrons
Following is a step by step guide, and links to helpful resources to help you navigate your next event and avoid some of the common pitfalls of event management.
1. What Is Your Goal? You Need To Be S.M.A.R.T
Well known entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”.
When planning your event implementing certain disciplines and “remembering your why” is going to be fundamental in the success of your event.
A clearly defined goal provides focus and ensures the team understands exactly what they are aiming at.
This should be the first step toward planning your event. Begin by asking yourself “What is the purpose of our event?” Are you seeking to reach out to your local community? Are you seeking to fund raise for a cause, or is the event geared to provide fellowship?
When setting any goal, the S.M.A.R.T. principle provides some excellent guidance on how to establish and set your goals.
2. Establish A Committee
An Event Committee will act as the rudder to steer your event and keep your goals in focus and on course.
It is widely agreed that “two heads are better than one”, therefore an effective Event Management Committee should bring together people with appropriate skills to see the event through.
The Event Committee will be responsible for the oversight of the event and will act as a planning and advisory board.
They will also be responsible for the management and co-ordination of the tasks and volunteer teams.
A strong and skilled committee will play a significant part in an event and will help reduce the likelihood of personal injury to patrons, loss or damage to property or failure of the program.
One person should be authorised to have final approval/veto on activities.
This avoids confusion or conflict when important decisions need to be made.
This person should have the authority to cancel an event in the case of inclement weather or some other issue which may pose a significant issue.
Keeping comprehensive minutes of all planning meetings is very important to ensure that projects remain on track and responsibilities are clearly documented.
Keep all this documentation for future reference and use it when reviewing the event during debriefing.
3. Set A Budget
EVENTS CAN BE EXPENSIVE.
Sound planning includes beginning with a budget.
It is important to understand what financial resources you have available, and whether they are sufficient to cover the expenses likely to be incurred, whilst still allowing for unforeseen costs or emergency funds.
4. Prepare Your Risk Assessment
Preparing a comprehensive risk assessment for your event is a vital and valuable discipline that all organisations should undertake prior to any event.
Risk assessments help you to identify potential risks, understand how they may impact your organisation, and allows you to navigate appropriate steps to reduce or avoid unfavourable outcomes.
To help you along your journey to running a successful event we’ve created a Risk Assessment Template (includes the Risk Matrix) and the Risk Assessment Guidelines which you will be able to utilise for future event planning projects.
While this has been created specifically for church run events, you’re more than welcome to use it for your School events, Business events and Ministries.
Following is a simple flow chart of how the risk assessment process works. This is a cyclical process that follows a pattern of monitoring, reviewing and modification as required.
Most organisations will use a Risk Assessment Template to identify all the potential risks associated with their planned event.
They will then measure the risks and the likelihood of the identified risk occurring against the potential impact on the organisation should it eventuate.
Attached is an example of a very Comprehensive Risk Assessment Template for a Family Fun day being held at the local showgrounds with an anticipated attendance of 2000 people.
This is an excellent example of the range of risks that should be identified and assessed.
Keep all your Risk Assessments on file.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel each time to decide to run a similar program.
Simply follow the monitor, review and modify principle modeled above for each new event, making changes to your risk assessment where appropriate.
Debriefing with your Event Committee after the event is a valuable exercise. Using your Risk Assessments will help
- identify what was successful and therefore should be repeated
- identify what processes were difficult or frustrating
- recognise lessons that can be learned from near misses or fails
- evaluate how things may be done differently next time
The monitor and review process can perhaps be best summed up by “If you are not getting better, you are getting worse”.
5. Consider The Venue
The venue for your event will need to be carefully considered, making sure that it is suitable for the nature of program.
When considering a venue, prepare a site plan highlighting exit and entry points, emergency evacuation locations or any hazards which may be present.
If you are expecting a large number of people at your event, have you checked that there are easy entry and exit points for patrons, as well as for emergency services if required?
If you are expecting large volumes of traffic, it may also be necessary to consider traffic or parking control.
Does your venue have sufficient amenities to cater for the number of attendees, and do these include facilities to cater for people with disabilities?
You may be contravening building regulations if the venue is overcrowded, or there are insufficient facilities to cater for your attendees.
Poor facilities or overcrowded venues may pose safety risks or contribute to an unpleasant experience for your patrons.
Some of the most common claims arising from churches putting on events arise from slips, trips and falls.
These often eventuate because of poorly lit walkways or steps, potholes in pathways or other physical hazards such as leads across pedestrian areas.
These hazards should be identified in your site plan, and steps taken to either prevent public access to such areas, or remedial steps taken to improve the lighting, surfaces or walkways to reduce the likelihood of a person being injured.
Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls
- Ensure walkways are clear of clutter
- Provide adequate lighting
- Signage to identify hazards or to provide directions
- Make sure that stairwells are clear, well lit and have secure handrails
- Ensure that electrical leads are securely covered or taped to avoid tripping hazards
- Check the condition the ground or carparks for evidence of potholes
- Use non-slip mats in wet areas
- Clean up spills immediately
Often Councils or other local authorities may require you to seek permission or apply for special permits to run your event at your selected venue.
Make sure you have obtained approval from all relevant authorities well ahead of time to ensure that consent is granted if required.
Remember to have a contingency in place for an alternative venue should your original plans be disrupted by inclement weather or some other unforeseen circumstance.
6. Security And Safety
Once you have selected your venue, and determined that it is appropriate for your event, it is important to consider security and safety issues.
Not only for the safety of the people attending, but also perhaps for equipment that you may be storing on site for the duration of the event.
Large public events, such as Christmas Carols or perhaps fundraising bike rides or fun runs, may require the local Police to be notified, and if necessary, provide personnel.
Alternatively, private security firms may need to be engaged, particularly if you are concerned about the protection of church equipment in open air locations overnight, the need to protect or transport large sums of cash or the possibility of disruption by unruly members of the public.
Often churches or organisations will engage their own volunteers to perform these duties, which can often place unqualified people in potentially dangerous situations.
Where possible, it is always preferred that qualified, licenced and insured organisations are engaged to provide professional security detail for events that may require it.
In addition to security, will you have trained first aid providers on site?
Again, these duties can often be undertaken by qualified volunteers of your organisation, but larger scale events may require the services of organisations such as St Johns First Aid (http://stjohn.org.au/)
As the organiser of the event, it is important that you have clear and documented incident reporting procedures, and that your event team are instructed in the need to report and document incidents to the event management committee.
This information not only helps to clearly identify what has happened, but also serves as an excellent tool to learn from in the future.
A simple Incident Report Form should be completed by those involved, documenting all relevant information.
Keep this information on file for future records – a claim against you may not always be notified immediately, and specific details of an incident can often be forgotten or fade over time.
The success of most events hinge on the dedication of volunteers.
The event organiser is responsible to ensure that the event volunteers are skilled, qualified (if necessary) and capable of carrying out the tasks they have been assigned.
Clear and concise instruction must be provided in the way that tasks need to be performed.
Remember that Volunteers are now captured under OH&S legislation, therefore you have a high degree of duty of care to provide a safe environment for them.
You are also responsible to ensure that volunteers are provided with the necessary personal protective equipment which they may need to perform their duties (e.g. high visibility vests, hearing protection, eye protection).
Volunteers who are working with children must be appropriately screened and hold the necessary Working With Children Check (or equivalent in your State), as per legislative requirements.
CLICK HERE for a WWC resource by state.
To summarise – here’s the list below:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: http://www.screening.dcsi.sa.gov.au/
NORTHERN TERRITORY: http://www.nt.gov.au/emergency/community-safety/apply-for-a-working-with-children-clearance
NEW SOUTH WALES: http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/child-safe-organisations/working-with-children-check
Do you have enough volunteers to manage the size and nature of your event?
It is recommended that you have your volunteers complete a Volunteer Application Form.
The form should ask what skills the volunteer can bring to the organisation, establishes the credibility of the volunteer and identifies any individual health or fitness issues which would be necessary for the Event Committee to take into consideration when allocating duties.
8. Outside Contractors
Often churches will engage third party contractors to provide a range of services at their events, including food vendors, amusement rides, sound and lighting, fireworks and the like.
There are several key areas which you need to address when engaging outside contractors to provide services on your behalf.
These would include:
All events carry an element of risk. Managing risk saves time, energy, suffering and disruption to the church and its people.
However, it is impossible to anticipate every possible circumstance that may give rise to incidents or accidents.
Therefore, we should ensure the impact to the organisation is minimized by insuring against their occurrence.
Contact your Insurance or Protection provider to notify them of your plans, and check if your current Public Liability will extend to the event.
Sometimes large events may require additional cover, or certain activities may be excluded.
Paying an additional premium may be a small price to pay to ensure full coverage of your event.
Working closely with your Public Liability provider may also help you to identify risks around your event that you had not previously considered.
Councils or third-party contractors may require you to provide them with evidence that your Public Liability is current and may also require you to note their interest on a Certificate of Currency.
Make sure you provide your Insurance or Protection provider with adequate notice of your event, to allow them sufficient time to review your program and address any risks which may impact on the protection you have in place.
At ACS Insurance Services, we will often request the completion of a Single Event Declaration which help to capture key information about your event.
EVENT MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST
At ACS Financial we seek to champion the efforts of our churches and ministries to extend their reach into their local communities and make a difference.
We want to help you to “show them how well you do what you do”.
This Event Management Checklist will assist you further in the successful planning and running of your event.
A successful event will inevitably be a blessing to those who attend, reach your local community for Christ and increase the profile of your ministry.
Establishing sound processes around your events will be what makes you stand out from the crowd. Step by step processes will become habits that will spur your ministry from success to success.
Planning an event for your church?
If you are planning an event for your church or organisation and require assistance with risk management advice, require specific insurance or protection for a program or wish to speak to one of our team of insurance professionals, please do not hesitate to contact us
on 1800 646 777.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website reflect some of the commercial aspects and potential risks/obligations for your Church, School or Organisation. The information is given as a guide only and does not represent a definitive list or legal view in any way shape or form. You are advised to seek your own professional advice on all your individual needs.
ACS Financial Pty Ltd (ACN 062 448 122) (AFSL 247388).
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