Our Collaboration Drives Innovation series aims to provide help and advice specific to this unique moment in time. So far we’ve tackled working from home and participant coaching. This week, Account Director Janelle Benuska, shares what she has learned about rescheduling and reinventing events.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill is remembered not only for his inspiring speeches, but for his refusal to give in… even when things were not looking optimistic. To state the obvious and address the elephant in the blog, things are not looking what would be considered optimistic these days. And as I reflect on this quote and the current state of the world, I think about “planning” and “plans.” In Event Production, it is wise to know the difference. Planning is a process, while plans are the decided outcome. And while plans may change, the foundational action of planning is the constant which can withstand those changes.

When faced with an unforeseen event, such as the crisis we are currently enduring, it’s the planning groundwork you have laid which will help you navigate rough waters and be able to make the changes to your event that you need to. So how do you go about making major changes to your event?

The first step in the process is to identify each piece that will be impacted. For example, we are currently working with our partners on their peer-to-peer fundraising events that need to be moved to a later date. As such:

  • The project timeline will need to be extended and adjusted.
  • Vendor contracts will need to be placed on hold while postponement is figured out.
  • In light of the current economy, concerns around fundraising and potential losses are being discussed. With this, the production budget may need to be adjusted to streamline costs.
  • The website, marketing, and communications pieces will need to be altered to ensure participants are aware of the event status and tactfully learn how they can continue to engage and support your organization’s mission.

Identifying the key areas impacted will ensure nothing is missed as the next steps progress.

Next, evaluate how these pieces will change the current picture overall.

  • Will changing dates necessitate a new location?
  • How will adjusting the production budget impact the site plan and layout?
  • Will the participant experience change?
  • What additional items might be needed for the health and safety of attendees?
  • Do vendor contracts need to be re-worked and/or new quotes received for reduced event needs?
  • Will the staffing and volunteer plans need to be adjusted?
  • How can you adjust the tone and frequency of your messaging and update your marketing plan to best speak to your participants and target recruitment audience? (We’ll talk more in depth on that topic in a forthcoming blog post.)

The third step is to take action.

  • Reach out to jurisdictions regarding availability of your current event site and inquire about availability on any additional sites that could house the event.
  • Revisit the original production budget and contact vendors to discuss the next steps on any necessary adjustments.
  • Make tweaks and adjustments to the Event Operational Plan and documents as needed such as maps, on-event timeline, and Safety Plan.
  • Speak to volunteers regarding any changes to shifts and/or position requirements.
  • Ensure current event news and updates are communicated over all channels including your website, email and social media.

We are deeply aware that these are difficult times being faced. Re-thinking your events can feel very overwhelming. But by identifying, evaluating and taking action, we know that peer-to-peer events will withstand these rough winds of change and continue to bring people together for good, sustaining the amazing work of your organization. Need help with any of these adjustments? Send us an email to set up some time to chat with us one-on-one.


Janelle Benuska is an Account Director with Event 360 working on the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, AIDS Walk Atlanta, and Ride for Life Chicago. She has a passion for client services with experience in project management, participant and volunteer programming and support, and event production.


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