The largest resource to your event will be people: the number of committed people willing to work on the planning and execution along with a network of people to support, help and advise you.
The planning and administration of the event requires several roles. For smaller less complex events some people will take on more that one role, while a larger event may require one person per role.
Start thinking of the roles that your event requires. The following list is a suggestion of the more common roles:
Event Director or Manager
This is the person in overall charge to ensure that all responsibilities and plans are carried out; who will delegate and make decisions; who will call the meetings; ensure permissions are in order and appropriate licences are applied for and obtained; and will ensure clear communication takes place between all parties involved. If the event has applied for and been granted a licence, this person is responsible for ensuring that any conditions on that licence are met.
This person will create the event budget and cash flow forecast, handle the bills, pay people and take in any monies.
This person will arrange and co-ordinate everything to do with performers or may look after amusements.
This person will arrange and co-ordinate everything to do with market stalls and/or food vendors.
Stewards and Volunteers
This person will co-ordinate the volunteers and their schedule of duties.
Publicity and Marketing
This person would see to it that the event information is publicised to the correct target audience via flyers, emails, websites, press releases, listings and advertising. They will make sure correct permissions are in place for any leaflet distribution.
This person will be responsible for raising funds for the event by contacting persons and organisations willing to sponsor the event. They will liaise with the rest of the committee to ensure that the sponsors name and/or logo is included on publicity materials or on display at the event.
Production or Site Manager
This person will co-ordinate everything needed to build your event site / infrastructure: toilets, fencing, signs, staging, marquees, generators, public address system, water provision, site clearance, skips, litter bins, fire extinguishers etc.
This person co-ordinates lost children, looks at the needs of the elderly or of those with access or other special needs. This person could also coordinate event information available on the day and ensure that first aid is available through out the event.
Health and Safety Officer
This competent and qualified person will create the event risk assessments, contingency plans and emergency evacuation plans. They will carry out health and safety checks on any contractors or services the event buys in as well as making sure the event site is safe on the event day e.g. checking signage, access, trip hazards, first aid and so on.
The above are all suggestions. You may find that your event requires more roles or that some of the roles above need to be divided between two or more people.
Building and Managing Your Team
Event Staff and Volunteers will become your ambassadors, facing your audience, delivering your planning. For this reason, they are an integral part of your event mix.
You should consider the following aspects when preparing to build your event staff and volunteers resource:
- Expenses and Remuneration
- Health and Safety Responsibilities and Training
- Employer’s Liability Insurance
- Public Liability Insurance
- Grievance Policy
- Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Checks
Much of the process of building your team of staff and volunteers is very similar for the two groups; however it is important to recognise the difference in motivation between them. Event Staff are being paid to perform their duties, which means you can have a quite straightforward working relationship with them. Volunteers however are giving their time freely to assist you in delivering your event. Their motivations may be varied, such as supporting a cause your event is in aid of, being a friend of a member of the event team or wanting to be involved in an event in their community. Whilst identifying the motivations of your volunteers can be largely explored at interview, and through intuition, one universal motivation is recognition. In the rush of an event day it can be easy to not find time for small things, but simply saying thank you can go a very long way.
Especially in the case of smaller events, where staffing is not being outsourced to professional suppliers, internal staff and volunteer training can make the difference between a smooth running event and an event management team struggling under the weight of basic questions, or worse, staff supplying inaccurate information. Simply informing the staff and volunteers can resolve a large number of basic problems.
A useful, basic tool can be to create universal briefing documents. Briefing documents should be concise and easy to digest. You should consider using the headings below as a guide:
- What the event is: A brief description or outline
- When the event is: Dates & Times
- Where the event is: Location, including full address with postcode
- Meeting point: Where staff are to report to upon arrival
- Important contacts: Volunteer Coordinator, Event Manager, Site Manager etc
- Duties: Outline what you expect of the staff and volunteers. It may be appropriate to split this into separate Job Descriptions for different roles.
- Reporting and Leaving: Clearly detail how staff and volunteers should check on and off their shifts.
- Dress Code: Detail what you expect staff and volunteers to wear, including information on any supplied uniform.
- Facilities: Where staff can get changed, access drinking water etc.
- Health and Safety Policy & Guidance
- Lost and Found Children Policy and Procedure
- Accident and Injury Policy and Procedure
Contractors and Suppliers
Within the process of running an event, you are more than likely to need to bring equipment, skills or experience in from outside of your event management team or resources. When this is the case, you will need to source contractors that can supply the goods and services that you need and then ensure they deliver.
The goods and services you need may be varied, and in some cases, outside of many people’s everyday experience. Hiring a florist to supply some bouquets may for example be straightforward enough, but where do you get 250 metres of pedestrian barrier from? Or a PA system and sound engineer suitable for a swing band? Or a qualified Health & Safety officer?
Tips for Sourcing Contractors
- Ask other event organisers. Recommendations can be very useful, so consider asking other people who organise events locally who they use for various resources and staffing. This can often have the added benefit of helping you keep your suppliers local.
- The White Book is most easily described as the Yellow Pages for the events industry. It does however cost to get the White Book, so you may have to think carefully about how helpful it may be to you.
- Consult the Local Borough Council. The events officers at the Local Borough Council where you event is to be held may know of, and almost certainly have worked with a number of local and national suppliers of events equipment. They may also know of a number of local individuals or companies that are able to supply a range of event staff, including security and stewards, sound and lighting engineers, Health & Safety Officers, stage managers, crew, etc.
Ensuring your suppliers deliver what you expect can more broadly be thought of as relationship management. To make sure this relationship is a successful one;
- Make sure what you think you have agreed with the supplier is the same as what they think they have agreed with you. Be clear about your requirements, your objectives and you budget.
- Make sure you have exchanged contact details.
- Follow up email conversations with written correspondence (most likely email) clearly outlining the conclusions of what was discussed.
- It is good practice to formalise these correspondence into written contracts, detailing goods and services to be supplied, costs and charges applicable, dates of delivery and collection, as well as any terms and conditions.
- After this, all amendments to the contract should be made by mutual consent.
- Remember that contracts do not have to be overly complicated, just a clear agreement between two parties.
- Know when the goods or staff are due and add this into your production schedule.
- At the time of delivery, make sure you know what you should be receiving, so errors can be identified quickly.
- Keep your delivery sheets in one place, so you can find them easily if a query is raised.
- After the event, consider giving them feedback. If you’ve received particularly good service, tell them, if their delivery driver was unhelpful, let them know – if you run more events you may want to use them again, just remember to be fair and balanced.
Leaving things to chance allows for misunderstanding, misinterpretation, unexpected cost and can affect the success of your event – so follow the tips above to help minimise any unexpected surprises.
Contractors that install plant, staging or structures such as tents other demountable structures, will need to comply with all relevant legislation, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whilst working on your event site. You can find more information about the guidance that affects the use of contractors in the Regulations section.