Event leadership can run into a host of problems – everything from cost overruns and poor scheduling to poor resource allocation. These issues can cast a shadow on what could be an otherwise successful event.

It is up to leadership to jump ahead of these problems, but sometimes that can be a challenge.

Here are the top 5 issues event leadership faces and how to get ahead of them:

1. Less Money from Sponsors

Estimating an injection from funds based on a previously successful sponsorship engagement can be a double-edged sword. Gauging a sponsor’s interest based on previous events is a mistake that a lot of event leaders make.

More events does not equate to more money from every sponsor and leaders should be prepared for that.

Proper lead generation and a workflow for acquiring sponsors will help alleviate this pressure on both sides of these relationships. Automate as much as possible during efforts to acquire sponsors and this will become a lot easier.

You can start easily with utilizing sponsorship proposal templates so that your team can approach sponsors with quotes and solid numbers efficiently and easily.

2. Running Out of Time

Every experienced event manager and leadership team understands this conundrum. It’s easy as an event approaches to miscalculate the amount of time you actually have to execute necessary items to plan the event effectively.

It’s also a relatively easy problem to solve as long as you start early and push on forward. To be successful, it’s crucial to outline long term goals vs. short term goals, and then execute as needed.

Depending on the complexity of your goals, you and your team should design a cadence to touch base on specific goals as the calendar progresses.

Here’s a general format to get started:

  • 1 year from the event: Define goals, event schedule, external schedules, define budget.
  • 8 months from the event: Make sure venue, speakers, and topics are clearly defined and revisit goals.
  • 6 months from the event: Revisit budget, refine event messaging, reconfirm with all participants.
  • 4 months from the event: Finalize event attendee strategy (email, calls, online, other outreach).
  • 2 months from event: Begin invitations and external messaging as appropriate.
  • 1 month from event: Confirm attendee list and continue outreach.

In coming weeks, you should send reminders to guests to ensure they know the purpose of the event and any other pertinent information

1 week post-event, meet with your team to discuss strengths and weaknesses of event execution and if goal was met. Document all and develop success plan for next event. Begin any outreach follow-up you may need.

3. Failure to Allocate the Right Resources With the Right Skills

Proper event staffing is a critical piece of the puzzle. But too many event managers improperly allocate resources. This mistake is too common and is typically easy to solve.

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The key to any successful event is to get the right people with the right skills. All the planning in the world doesn’t make up for gaps in talent.

You can avoid this pitfall by gaining full visibility into the skills and workloads of all of their resources. This includes vendors, contractors and outsourced talent, all of which often get left out of skills assessments even though they’re carrying a huge portion of the workload.

Thorough assessment of all resources at the outset of the event planning process can help provide the level of visibility needed into the team’s skills and workloads.

Once leadership knows everyone’s talents and workloads, it becomes far easier to allocate resources across day-to-day operations.

4. Making Simple Process Mistakes by Not Following Standard Event Management Processes

This is far more common than anyone thinks. Lack of an agreed upon plan between stakeholders increases the risk that tasks related to the event will fall through the cracks, the event will have last minute issues, fall short on budgeting, or miss another major objective.

A well-defined and agreed upon plan helps leadership tackle tasks efficiently and lessens the chance that something will fall through the cracks. It raises an appropriate level of awareness for every activity involved in the execution of an event.

Leadership should make sure to have a baseline of repeatable processes for scoping, scheduling, allocating resources and communicating with key stakeholders to take a lot of the guesswork out of an event planning process.

5. Overspending or Not Having Enough Money

This is by no means a new problem for event leadership. But we can ultimately improve the way we execute and handle events while facing it with grace.

The typical philosophy of ‘plan and spend as you go’ that most event management undertakes is ill-advised. It often leads to a situation where they realize when it’s too late that they’ve spent more than the actual budget. And there isn’t any way to make up the deficit.

The easiest way to circumvent this issue is to frame your event budget as soon as the planning incepts. Managers should do their due diligence by keeping track of event supplies, putting together a spreadsheet, and meeting with the team to finalize the budget.

How Can Issues With Event Leadership Be Handled?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Kristen Bowie
Kristen Bowie is a digital marketer first and a leadership enthusiast at heart. When she isn’t writing about leadership and marketing for Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two pygmy goats and dog, attending live shows, or celebrating the world of craft beer.
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