Wolfgang puck torches a PumpkinAt a significant event hosted by the Mayor, the invited guest speakers included the local movie star football coach, the president of the sponsoring big deal corporation and the conclusion was to be a few songs by the precociously talented young son of a high -profile local athlete.

As this was a school night and it was the Mayor and it was catered by Wolfgang Puck, the event was timed to the minute and quite well attended.


The lure of a captive audience was irresistible to several city politicians stumping for their future so they muscled their way onto the speaking schedule. As a rersult, the event ran late, food was late and by the time the kid came on, people were streaming for the parking lot.

Boring Speakers ruin an eventThe event did not deliver its purpose or any real fun; the kid was upset, and so was his dad.

Controlling Behavior

Keeping a very close eye on the clock is critical, as illustrated above. Handling politicians can be tricky ( ha!), but a firm will and kind voice will go a long way. Some grace under pressure will be required, otherwise the lost control sets the tone for the event; it is no longer yours. Despite the intentions, good or bad, this program is to benefit YOUR cause, and attention should not be diluted. Unless it is a surprise 5 figure donation, keep your speaker list under control: speakers and speaking time.

The Lesson

Managing the many expectations and requirements of an event is quite a bit of work, but managing the time line and schedule are paramount. You have a limited amount of time and attention from your guests and opportunity to deliver your message. Managing the schedule will help you produce what you hope. Write the timeline in advance, be realistic about times to speak and move and eat dinner.

Got a war story of your own? Leave it in the comments below.
If you’d like some help with a fundraising event you’re planning, get in touch.

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This is part 5 of an 8 part series in "What not to do when planning your Fundraising event".

1 – Death, Taxes and the other Unavoidable, the Weather
2 – I Love Planning Parties!
3 – Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan, then Drink
4 – Volunteers are Not Paid Staff
6 – Not Managing the Date
7 – Not Thinking of the Small Picture
8 – Not Saying Thank You

Image Credits:
by NoHo Damon on Flickr
Defcon 17 by vissago on Flickr