Top 3 event planning must-haves

It’s happened. You spoke up at a meeting and somehow ended up as the head of the committee for an annual fundraising event for your favorite nonprofit. Now comes the planning, promotion, recruiting of volunteers, set-up, and all the other details that need to happen.

Before you order that giant striped tent and cotton candy machine, take a step back and make sure the organization you love so much is protected with the following three must-haves:

1. A safety checklist
Your number one priority as an event organizer is not only getting people to show up, but making sure they’re safe while attending your event.

The most common cause of injury at special events is trip hazards. Power cables and extension cords are among the worst offenders.
  • Cover or tape all cords, cables, etc. Mark their positions so your guests can see and avoid them.
  • Keep all walkways clear of cords and debris.
During your event, make sure safety remains a top priority.
  • Maintain sufficient lighting throughout the event.
  • Section off areas where you don’t want people to walk or gather.
  • Monitor your event for any unsafe or suspicious activities.

Download a sample event checklist and incorporate a few simple considerations to make sure your event is successful.

2. Volunteer waivers
Volunteers are not covered under a company’s workers’ compensation policy. This is one reason all volunteers should undergo safety and procedure training. A volunteer waiver will help:
  • Reinforce job expectations and risks.
  • Reinforce that workers’ compensation does not cover volunteers.
  • Volunteers gain a sense of ownership while working for you.
Have volunteers sign waivers before they start working. Find a sample volunteer waiver here.

3. Participant liability waivers
Some events like races or sporting events also should require a participant waiver. A liability waiver serves two purposes: it can prevent lawsuits and protect an organization from the actions of the participant.

To provide the greatest protection, a waiver should include a hold harmless agreement and an indemnification agreement.
Make the waiver is clear and easy to understand, and have an attorney review all waivers prior to use. You should also keep the following in mind:
  • Plan your event prior to creating the waiver. This reduces the possibility that last-minute changes may not be reflected in the document.
  • Each person who participates in the event should sign the waiver.
  • When an activity involves children, both parents/guardians must sign the waiver.
Be aware that local jurisdictions vary with respect to rights that may not be waived. Have your attorney confirm that your waiver meets with all legal requirements.

Planning an event can be fun and very rewarding when all the details are covered. Take advantage of additional nonprofit safety and procedure resources on our Prevention ConnectionSM website.

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