How do you lead an event that people will love? What do you need to consider in order to have a successful event or retreat for your church, organization, or business?

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One of the most powerful ways to help accomplish the mission or vision of your church, organization, or business is to hold in person events. Over the past couple years, many of these events have been put on hold. But as we are starting to see the opportunities to gather increase, we decided to share some thoughts on how to have a successful event.

Both Holly and I have been involved with, coordinated, and led various events and retreats. So we are bringing you 6 questions to consider when planning your event. With each question, we’ll share some helpful tips and ways to approach each of these issues.

In case you missed it, in our last episode, we discussed leading meetings people won’t hate. So make sure to go take a listen to that one if you want more practical tips.

6 Questions to Ask When Planning an Event or Retreat

group of women in a living room | plan a retreat or event

#1: Why do you want to have the event? Does this help accomplish the mission/vision?

Some common reasons you might want to hold this event or retreat:

  • Bond the guests
  • Edifying of the saints
  • Accomplish a specific goal (yearly planning, brainstorm/plan new product or program)
  • Bring in money
  • more brand awareness
  • Grow audience

#2: What will the attendees walk away with?

Another issue you need to consider is how the attendees will be impacted by attending your event. Here are some possible answers to this question:

  • Solutions to problems
  • Feeling like they aren’t along
  • Belonging
  • Value to their life, business, or ministry
  • Closer relationship to Jesus
  • Unity with other believers
  • Something accomplished

#3: What atmosphere do you want to create?

It’s vital to consider the overall atmosphere you want to create for your event. This will help dictate a variety of decisions, including decor, schedule, setting, and more.

  • Productivity
  • Fun and exciting
  • Open and vulnerable
  • Motivational
  • Get something done

#4: How is this all going to get accomplished?

Once you know the items above, you’ve got to have a plan for how you’re going to make it happen. Some of the things you need to consider when making your plan are:

  • Who’s on your team?
  • Roles
  • Who’s in charge of the plan?
  • Timeline – when are things happening?

For more help on creating a plan, you can refer to episode 85 where Holly and I discuss how to create a strategic plan.

#5: What is the content & schedule of the event?

Another key factor of your event will be, of course, the content. It might be the case that it’s just you and you’ll be the one planning and teaching the content. Or, you may have other speakers come in to share. All of this hinges on the first few questions you have already answered in terms of the goal, the takeaways, and more.

When planning the content and schedule, consider the following:

  • Who is speaking/teaching?
  • Format
  • Timing – what kind of breaks are needed? Will the schedule be back to back or will there be lots of white space?

#6: How much will it cost?

Finally, you need to think about the cost. As much as it would be nice to create an event without thinking about the money, the fact is that events do cost a lot to put on. However, they can create a great return on investment even if it’s not a direct financial ROI.

Here are some factors to consider when it comes to figuring out the cost:

  • Location/venue
  • Speakers
  • Food
  • Rentals
  • Photography/videography
  • Coordination
  • Decor
  • Insurance
  • Tech – both leading up to and at the event
  • Supplies/printing
  • Swag
  • Ambiance

Action step: 

Use these 6 questions when planning your next event! And let us know in the comments if you end up using this list to help you plan.

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