In the world of event fundraising, a dire weather forecast can be one of the most demanding challenges for an event planner. Yet, dealing with rain and other bad weather are an inevitable part of the business. Over the past eight years we’ve been through it all, and through that experience we have some helpful tips for managing rain delays.
“What are worst-case weather scenarios that could affect the outcome of my event?”
This is the first question you should ask yourself. Prior planning will always win out to “winging it” on the day of the event, and forethought allows you to execute seemingly seamlessly–even in the worse case scenario.
Here’s an example to help get you started.
During a revent overnight-walk event we managed for an Event 360 client, the weather was so cold that we feared participants could be exposed to hypothermia. With the safety and health of our participants in mind, we implemented our severe weather plan. This involved:
- Mobilizing transportation and relocating participants to safety
- Distributing mylar blankets
- Having a “Plan B” in place for every facet of the event
- Making a safety checklist for everyone involved with the event
But even with a strategy in place, it’s also essential to keep your participants informed. A great way to do this is through checklists that detail what to pack or bring to an event. Explaining that these items are key to have on hand in the case of bad weather will help participants understand the necessity and encourage them to pack. Having this type of high-level communication on the front end can help eliminate problems on the day of the event.
Another way to ensure that your event will run smoothly is by looking at each event from the eye of the participant. Their comfort, safety and enjoyment should be your top priority, so anticipate problems and have the resources necessary to address them before they occur. For example, if you have ponchos on hand before the rain starts, participants will stay dry and happy. Delivering ponchos you bought after it started drizzling will leave you with soaked participants and will not endear you to anyone–and could lower your repeat fundraising efforts.
Above all else, be honest with your participants. If they’re your priority, then they will appreciate your efforts and understand that you just can’t control it all. Especially the weather!