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How To Make Event Planning Easier on Your Soul: 9 Tips for Community Managers

How To Make Event Planning Easier on Your Soul 9 Tips for Community Managers

Coworking events can be an important part of running a successful coworking space. From small happy hours for your members, to lunch and learns, meetups, networking events, presentations, workshops, large events for your extended community and everything in-between, coworking events can serve numerous important purposes, including:

  • Providing added value for members
  • Bringing new people into your space
  • Positioning your space in front of your target market
  • Differentiating from other coworking spaces
  • Giving members an opportunity to share skills and expertise
  • Educating your local community about coworking
  • Strengthening your existing member community
  • Demonstrating your company values and culture

Events are an absolutely essential marketing tool and retention tool. Whether members take advantage of events or not, they want to know they have the option of participating in them.

Coworking Events and NextTalk Luncheon at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

Coworking Event Burnout

The flip side, however, is that events can be exhausting and overwhelming for space operators and teams that are already stretched thin with to-dos. Events are time consuming, they take a lot of energy, they require big picture planning and strategizing, as well as detail work down to the level of napkins and name tags. Here are 9 tips to prevent event burnout in your coworking space.

1. Understand what works for you, your staff and your budget

“Don’t set yourself up to fail by hosting events that are too large, too detailed, too expensive or too frequent,” says Delano. “Be clear with yourself, your team and any collaborators about what is realistic.”

2. Partner on events with local organizations

Partnering with your local SBDC should definitely be part of your PR and marketing toolkit. This way, you have two organizations putting their time and resources into one event each month. Doing that has taken a lot of pressure off of both of the organizations, and it’s increased our reach and attendance.

Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center | CloudVO

3. Host events during the 9-to-5 work day

When you work a full day of coworking and then you have to go into a 6-9 p.m. evening event, you have just pushed yourself too hard. After the event you have clean up and the next thing you know, you’re not getting home until 11 p.m. Then you’re turning around and you have to be back in the space—with a smile—at 9 a.m.

Put your focus into daytime and lunchtime events, and leave the evening networking events to other people. That way, events fall within the time and structure of the work day. Reserve evening events for very special occasions such as holiday parties, or perhaps an event that takes place outside the space, but definitely limit events after hours. They need to be very strategic.

4. Keep it simple and consistent

Many of our partner locations like NextSpace Santa Cruz does a second Tuesday of the month event, a Friday at 3:58 happy hour, and a quarterly breakfast on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. 
By having this structure, you can avoid overbooking yourself with numerous events in one week. Signature events in your space help everyone get on the same page and lets everyone structure their time accordingly.

Coworking Events and Happy Hour at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO
Happy Hour spread at NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

5. Manage your personal expectations

You can’t do everything, so plan your ideal situation. If you’re just starting out, try one event per month, or one event per quarter. Events can be overwhelming if you don’t have an event planning background so ask for help and allow other people to show you the ropes, especially in the beginning.

6. Do member-focused events

In-house events, such as a Wednesday Walkabout lunch, are not about retention and sales. They’re simply about connecting with members and helping them connect with each other. Let the members tell people how great your coworking space is. That way you can leverage word-of-mouth.

Coworking Events and Member Participation NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

7. Plan your event schedule annually

Sit down and look at the entire year, one quarter at a time. Look at all the things going on and make sure each quarter’s event schedule is realistic. Don’t forget to take things like billing and other operational procedures into account when planning your event schedule.

8. Curate your events

You have to do events that you like. After all, you’re the one bringing in the trendy, interesting, fun factor. If it’s not interesting to you, don’t do it. As a coworking space manager, take feedback and suggestions from members, but your events need to reflect you and, in turn, your community.

9. Be mindful and express your values

Our NextSpace partner location has become the clubhouse for women in tech in Santa Cruz. Therefore, many of their events are about supporting the women in the space and more generally, women in business. Addressing the needs of your community should be at the top of the list in order to get the most out of your events.

Coming up with event ideas and their realization takes time and effort, and can leave many coworking space operators feeling overwhelmed. We hope these tips can help get you on the right path.

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