Tips for Hosting a Smooth Event


This year, SOURCE hosted our first large-scale event: a Nonprofit Summit for over 140 attendees to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. Throughout the Summit, many attendees commented about how smoothly it went and how it couldn’t possibly be our first event. We loved hearing these compliments, because there’s nothing better than a well-executed event to make your organization look good!

We want to ensure that your events leave attendees saying “WOW!” Here are a few tips and tricks that we found particularly helpful in planning and executing on the SOURCE Summit.

1. Know what should be happening on a minute by minute basis

About a week before the SOURCE Summit, our planning committee sat down to flesh out our “Minute by Minute” document, an Excel spreadsheet that detailed what would be happening and who would be responsible. Examples of tasks ranged from “Pick up speakers” to “Place notecards on table”. No task is too small for this list as it is important tomake sure the small details aren’t forgotten. By making this a group task and doing it a week before the event and reviewing it the day before, you can ensure that details don’t slip through the cracks. Additionally, you can ensure that individuals know what they are expected to do before the event.

2. Have consistent branding

Early on, we decided to have a consistent logo for the event. This was made very early on and included on every material we printed and every email we sent. This consistency made it easy to identify the event and made the event appear pulled together. In addition to your organization’s logo, consider creating a new logo for the event specifically, to set it apart.

3. Give yourself big buffer zones on deadlines

Designing a program? Getting t-shirts printed? Try to make sure that you set deadlines for this far before you would expect. In our case, the program took about two weeks longer than we initially expected. However, we had buffered 2 weeks on our deadlines, so there was no stress! We got everything we could printed at least two weeks early, including our water bottles, t-shirts, pens, and notepads. These things could just sit in our SOURCE room, so there was no rush!

If you have any questions or would like to talk to SOURCE regarding your event, please reach out to us at