Does your organization have some special events or programs that happen on a regular cycle but infrequently (i.e annual, semi-annual or quarterly)? Does it always seem like these are thrown together, or disruptive (taking time away from more frequent programming)? Are they hard to recruit volunteers for, and hard to plan?
Perhaps treat them all like one big program, so that there is some common coordination, and process accross them. Find what works for each aspect of each program and carefully document that so that knowledge is shared. Figure out common roles and responsibilities that can be shared across events or programs. Establish a common rhythm for these events – planning, meetings, schedules.
Here are seven suggestions for how to organize an event oriented minisgtry program:
1) Divide your roles by spiritual gifts and talents ( different people like to help in different ways ).
Teaching, Reaching, Counseling, Caring,
Behind the scenes:
Planning, Helping, Building, Fixing
2) Consider two meetings for all event staff for each event:
an organizational meeting – a brief [attendance mandatory] (15 -30 minute) run through of who is doing what, and the flow of the event schedule and plan.
an event retrospective – a longer, [attendance optional] chance for all volunteers to provide feedback on their experience, and suggestions for improving the event ongoing. Not only does this help improve the event, it helps volunteers play a more significant role in the program ministry.
3) Establish a template plan and schedule for all events in the program. This serves as a starting point for each event, and allows recruiting, communication and coordination the time needed to develop.
Assign event coordinator (120 days before event)
Formalize Schedule (90 days before event)
Formalize Roles (90 days before event)
Define event teams and leads (75 days before event)
Leadership meetings start (70 days before event)
Start recruiting volunteers (60 days before event)
Begin prep work (45 days before event) (materials and promotions)
Finish recruiting volunteers (15 days before event)
Organizational Meeting (10 days before event)
Finish prep work (5 days before event)
Event Retrospective (less than 10 days post event)
4) Maintain a core event program leadership and planning team. This forms the basis of leadership for all events, and provides backup and continuity or succession planning if leaders transition from the ministry.
5) Document the responsibilties of each role for each event. This includes leadership roles. This is the basis for recruiting and improvement. Use your event retrospective to adjust and improve these documents, as minimizing volunteer surprise is a goal.
6) Create an event checklist for each event. Use your event retrospective to adjust and improve your documents, as this informs the specifics of the plan for the next event.
7) Delegate as many leadership roles as possible to lay people. Try to make each role as lightweight as possible, so that more people can participate in the program. Rely on core program leadership team to be the glue holding the ministry together and making the events smooth. Delegate the leadership of specifics for an event, to groom new leaders for the core team future.