Be Creative. Start Early.
The first step in any project is developing a plan. For some people, p-l-a-n is a four-letter word. But it is the key to success.
Begin by brainstorming. Think outside the box of what you’ve done before. Define your target audience (sophomores, fraternity members, off-campus students, sci-fi fans, vegetarians, etc.). Then brainstorm ways to reach those groups effectively. For example, if you’re trying to reach a group of sci-fi fans for a literary critique, consider advertising on the slides that appear before each movie at your local movie theatre. Find an upcoming sci-fi release, contact the theater and provide them a slide. It is inexpensive and hits your target audience very efficiently. Don’t waste a lot of time thinking of ways to encourage people outside your target group from coming. Review evaluation and assessment documents from past years to see what worked — and what didn’t. Figure out why and how you can do better.
Narrow down list of ideas
From your infinite list of ideas – if we had all the money and all the time in the world, here’s what we would do – bring reality back into the picture. What resources do you have in terms of money, time and staffing? You can have all the best ideas in the world but without the people to execute those ideas they cannot be effective.
After you have decided which ideas are going to be effective and efficient given your limited resources, prioritize them. Which one will be the most effective? Which one should you do first? Which one will be effective at the last minute? Keep careful track of deadlines. It is pointless to put up posters around campus a month in advance unless you are just trying to increase awareness. They’ll just get torn down or ruined thanks to the weather. A timeline will help you keep track of all these decisions without any last-minute panic.
With a plan in place, execute it. Make sure people know what their specific responsibilities are. And give everyone small deadlines for copy or design or production so they can meet the big deadline while still attending class and working at their jobs.
At various stages and after the event is complete, evaluate the project and each of the steps. Ask participants to evaluate the project. Your filed comments and participation evaluations will provide positive feedback and prevent the same mistakes from happening in the future. And archive newsletters, ads, other printed documents and planning documents to help the group in planning next year.