We are lucky enough to work on a lot of event collateral for a variety of clients. No matter the event size, there a few key considerations. We’re sharing our thoughts on the collateral pieces that you need to think about and how to plan for timing.
Save the Date (Send 16 weeks prior to the event date)
This may be an easy postcard or emailer. Keep it short and sweet–include only enough details so the guest can mark their calendar and keep an eye out for the invite.
Sponsorship Deck (Send 16 weeks prior to the event date)
This might not be needed for smaller events, but for larger fundraising events, you will need a document that outlines how sponsors can get involved. It should breakdown the various sponsorship levels with notes on what each entails. It should provide contact information and next steps for those who wish to get involved with sponsoring the event.
Invitation (Send 6 weeks prior to the event date)
A good rule of thumb for printed invites is to leave 3 weeks for printing and shipping, which means finalizing the invite 9 weeks before the event date. This is where you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. It might be one of the most important places to spend the event promotion dollars you have. If you are planning to mail a printed invite you want to make sure it is going to stand out. You need to sell your potential guests on that fact that your event will be enjoyable and they don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a part of it!
Event Signage (Finalize 3-4 weeks before the event)
Branded signage can be a relatively inexpensive way to bring design into the space and help with the event flow. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure out your signage needs:
- Is there a welcome sign telling guests they are in the right space (especially if there are multiple events going on, like in a hotel)?
- Are guests registering and will they be able to see where to do so? This is especially important if they are in a crowd of people arriving at the same time.
- Do your sponsors get their own signage around the event? Keep in mind that you will be required to get a high-resolution logo from each sponsor if so. Which can be easier said than done!
- Signage can help promote any interactive features, auctions, or other fundraising initiatives throughout the event. Nothing will turn off potential donors more than unclear instructions, so make sure it is clear how they can interact.
Program Book (Finalize 3 weeks before the event)
We are seeing more and more clients trading in their 20+ page program books for a simple sheet with the schedule and important details. Often times, it makes more sense to utilize digital displays at the event to contain the other information, which can include things like sponsorship logos (even the one that comes in last minute can be included this way!).
Thank You/Follow-up Emailer (Send 1-2 weeks after the event)
It is always a good idea to send a follow-up emailer letting your guest know about how much you appreciate them and give them another opportunity to get involved in your organization. In the case of a fundraising event, it can be powerful to share how much was raised so they get a sense of their impact. It’s also helpful to lead them to next steps: either with information about an upcoming event or a link to your website. You want them to have lasting good feelings–which also makes them feel more invested and more likely to want to be involved next year.
Jackrabbit loves helping clients come up with unique, on-brand event designs that can be used across all of these pieces and more. There is a fine balance between creativity for the sake of being fun or different and staying consistent enough to your brand so it’s an easy association for guests. An emotional connection to your brand during the event is key.