event planner's guide

 I have an idea for an event. How can I get No Kidding to sponsor the event?
We are open to almost all event ideas. As an all-volunteer organization, the best way to ensure that an event happens is to offer to be the event coordinator.

Why don't you plan more No Kidding events near me?
We make an effort to offer programs throughout the region to encourage wide participation. The best way to be sure there are events near you is to offer to coordinate an event at a location near you.

How do you decide what events No Kidding will offer and when?
Periodically, we invite No Kidding members to join us for a meeting of the Event Planning Committee. We usually meet for brunch and toss out ideas of what we enjoy doing, then try to organize them into a schedule that is diverse in terms of time of day (day and evening events) and location among other things.

Can I plan an event to sell merchandise (jewelry, plastic containers, beads, etc.) or services (financial planning, estate planning, accounting, etc.) to No Kidding members?
While we appreciate your interest in reaching our members, we do not allow any event which would result in the sale of merchandise or services to our members. Our group is devoted solely to providing a social forum for the child-free.

How do I sign up for the No Kidding Event Planning Committee? When is the next meeting?
The next Event Planning Committee meeting will be announced by e-mail and is also included in the list of events. Please check there for our upcoming meeting. Let the meeting coordinator know you are interested in participating in the meeting. If you are unable to attend a meeting but have some ideas or suggestions to share, please contact the meeting coordinator prior to the meeting. The meeting coordinator will share your comments with the committee at the meeting.

How do I plan an event? What does it mean to be a No Kidding event coordinator?
The event coordinator takes complete responsibility for the planning and implementation of an event. It is a big job but others will help and the group can only be successful with the support and commitment of No Kidding members.

What are the first steps in planning an event for No Kidding?
The best place to start is by attending an Event Planning Committee meeting or by contacting Kathy Henderson.   It is helpful if you do some preliminary research before the planning meeting. Listed below are the kinds of things you will want to consider in planning an event for No Kidding members.

When would it be best to offer the event you have in mind?
 Some events are weather dependent and others are only offered at a certain time of year. This information helps fit your proposed event in with the others being considered.

How large a group can the facility accommodate? 
We often get 15-45 people at our events and we would prefer to never have to turn people away.
Can the facility be flexible with expected attendance? Some people wait until the last minute to sign up for an event and others will sign up and not attend.

What are the costs associated with hosting the event? 
No Kidding has no membership dues so there are no funds to use for an up-front deposit. Please do NOT sign anything obligating the No Kidding group to a financial outlay.

Is there a place for attendees to gather as they arrive to fill out name badges and sign in? How will you set up the room? Will everyone be seated together? After some initial telephone calls, it is best to visit the site, see the facility and decide how you want to set things up.

Consider the schedule for the day.
It is generally best to have an opportunity for people to interact (generally a meal) before a performance or activity. As a group of 15- 45 people, it can often take us quite a while to do almost anything. We enjoy one another's company and can get lost in conversation so a simple lunch can last a few hours. Discuss with the facility how long they recommend for group dining. Many facilities will require a limited menu for groups of our size. A limited menu is one where you pick a few items in advance rather than offer a full menu. If you are doing this, please keep in mind that a number of our members are vegetarians and plan a meal choice for them, too.

We have learned that even after you have confirmed the details it is best to reconfirm with the facility several times before the actual event. When you contact the facility, provide them with updates on expected attendance and reconfirm the schedule for the day.

If the event involves traveling between two locations, you will want to prepare and copy directions from the first location to the second location to distribute to event attendees. You may also want to include this information in the event confirmation you send prior to the program.

Once an event is scheduled and I have completed the planning process, how do I promote the event to other No Kidding members? What do I need to do to get the event listed on the No Kidding website?
Once you have the event plans sorted out, fill out the Event Planners Worksheet. This is an electronic file, provided by Kathy Henderson, which asks for the details of the event. To add the event to the No Kidding website, you will need to provide the date, time(s), location(s), facility address(es) and telephone number(s), estimated costs to participate and a website link for the facility (if available). On behalf of the event coordinators, Kathy Henderson will send out event announcements and reminders on a monthly basis. Once the email has been sent containing your event, you will be provided with an electronic list of No Kidding members so that you can track RSVPs. In addition, as an event coordinator you will need to send an event confirmation with final details to those who signed up for the event. The event confirmation will confirm where and when to meet, expected costs and other information people who are attending will need to know. It is recommended that the confirmation email be sent five to seven days prior to your event. If you need help sending out your confirmation email, please contact Kathy Henderson.

What are the event coordinator's responsibilities on the day of the event?
Arrive at least 30 minutes early to be sure everything is set up as you asked and to greet your first guests.
As people arrive, ask each person to review their contact information on the sign-in list and invite them to make themselves a name badge. Kathy Henderson will provide you with the list and name badges.
Welcome new members to the group and make an extra effort to include them.
Check your watch and keep the group on schedule. This can sometimes be tricky because we tend to be having so much fun, we lose track of time.
If your event includes a meal, get the check from the facility and pass it around asking everyone to cover their selections plus 25% for tax and tip. Count up the money and be sure that the bill is covered. We rarely have a problem with this but if you are short, ask everyone to contribute an extra dollar or two to make up the difference.
Thank people for coming.
Return the sign-in list to Kathy Henderson so she can keep an up-to-date membership list. You can also return extra name badges to her for use at future events.

I agreed to host a Women's Dinner Group evening. What does that mean?
The schedule of Women's dinners is set each year based on participant input. Once the schedule is set, volunteers are sought to host a dinner or dinners.

There are several steps to hosting a Women's Dinner. You will want to contact the restaurant as soon as possible to confirm that they can accommodate us on the evening we have designated. At that time, find out the street (including zip code) and website addresses if they are not already on the No Kidding list of upcoming events. Forward the information to Kathy Henderson so she can update the website to include this information. You will also want to let her know the e-mail address you want posted on the website for registrations.

When you contact the restaurant you will want to reserve a private or semi-private room or area for up to 24 people. The group prefers two or three tables of 6-8 people rather than a single long table. A small table for name badges is also useful. The group arrives around 6 p.m. for drinks and mingling, and sits down to dinner at 6:45 p.m.

It is best to re-confirm the reservation about two weeks in advance and then update the restaurant on the final number of attendees expected two days before the dinner. You will find the number of attendees grows in the last week and there are usually a few last minute cancellations and additions that night which seem to balance each other off.

Tracy will include the dinner in the bi-monthly No Kidding event announcement as the date approaches. She will also provide you an electronic version of the member list to use in tracking attendance. You will want to let her know if you receive any changes, updates or additions to member information so she can update the master list.

On the evening of the dinner, arrive a few minutes early to ensure that the room is set up and to greet newcomers. You will need to bring a print out of the list of attendees to circulate to enable attendees to update their contact information. You will want to forward the updates to Tracy after the dinner. Tracy will bring name badges and markers.

Try to encourage everyone to sit down for dinner at 6:45 p.m. As the dinner proceeds, you will need to address any situations of concern with the facility.

At the close of the dinner, circulate the check asking everyone to pay their total plus 25% to cover tax and tip. You will need to count the funds to ensure that the total is covered. If there is an excess of funds, as sometimes happens, that amount is provided to Kathy Henderson, the No Kidding Coordinator, to cover miscellaneous costs associated with the dinners.