Trying Out a New Kind of Exercise
This month I was invited to be part of a daily group exercise that doesn’t involve putting on my running shoes or pumping up bike tires. Each morning we send a group text message with three things for which we are grateful.
A fun thing about this exercise is that each day’s list needs to contain three items not previously shared. My June gratitude items have included welcoming a new client, legs that recovered well from Grandma’s Half Marathon, the sound of falling rain, and Medjool dates (yes, there’s a story there).
Each day at Ann Plans there are many things to be grateful for including our vendor partners who are integral members of our planning team. Today’s feature article was written in collaboration with one of those amazing partners – Event Lab.
Let’s Get Creative with Your Décor Budget!
One of the fun challenges we have in working with the nonprofit community is helping create beautiful and impactful décor with a modest budget. The eight tips below focus on working smartly and creatively with those limited resources. Thank you to Jen Hansen and Randall Nelson at Event Lab for their contributions to this article.
Cultivate a decor partner. Seek out a decor company that cares about your mission, is willing to be creative with your budget, and will go the extra mile to deliver amazing results.
Tell your story. A goal we have for each event is to create one or more décor elements that creatively share an aspect of the nonprofit’s work. My all-time favorite mission-inspired décor element was the display of 1,500 votive candles at Tubman’s Starlight Soiree. Each candle represented a woman or child who would stay at Tubman’s domestic violence shelters that year.
Don’t be shy about budget. Do yourself a favor by being up front with your budget. You may be surprised how far a décor company can stretch a small budget. Jen and Randall from Event Lab love helping clients incorporate large statement piecesthat are cost-effective. This might be a striking stage set or an eye-catching entrance unit.
Start early! The best time to start planning is once the creative concept for your print materials is finalized. We like to start the conversation with our décor partner as soon as the save the date card for an event is created.
Make a statement with lighting. A cost-effective way to generate big impact is with creative use of lighting. For The Nature Conservancy’s 2017 Green Tie Affair, stunning nature-themed light treatments were provided by our AV partner AVEX.
Create a buzz. Impactful décor elements can generate reach beyond your actual event. Consider an irresistible photo backdrop that will inspire your guests to be active on social media. The year the theme of Tubman’s Starlight Soiree was “Night in Bloom,” each and every floral centerpiece was different which sparked lively conversation – and lots of photo taking.
Let’s be green! Décor companies have large inventories of items that get reused multiple times, making it easy for you to be green with your décor. Consider centerpieces that have a purpose beyond the event. Potted herbs and seedlings at this year’s Green Tie Affair served as both centerpieces and guest take-away items.
Sometimes simple is best. For Allina Hospice Foundation’s Dragonfly Gala in April, adding simple yet cheerful floral centerpieces to the tables and stage provided just the right amount of color to the room. As Jen from Event Lab commented, “Allina Hospice does just that, provides a glimpse of color through a very dark time for grieving families.”
As you are out and about today, try to be in tune with the beauty all around you. The natural “décor” in our daily surroundings is worth a moment of gratitude.