Regional Event Planning Toolkit
SOMETIMES THE HARDEST PART IS GETTING STARTED. HERE IS YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO PLANNING A WDS REGIONAL EVENT IN YOUR AREA.
The WDS and the Regional Group Committee Members have taken their experiences and put together a toolkit, which includes a list of suggested steps and tips to assist you in your planning process. If you find that you still have questions, or your question was not addressed in this toolkit, please contact your WDS Regional Vice-Chair or the WDS National Office.
|WEST REGIONAL GROUP
Pearls Networking Dinner
|MIDWEST REGIONAL GROUP
Toys for Tots Event
|MIDWEST REGIONAL GROUP
Cocktails & Conversations
IT'S TIME TO START PLANNING YOUR EVENT.
To begin, click on the below table of contents and it will direct you that particular section. To return to the top, just scroll - or continue reading through.
1. Complete the Regional Event Pre-Planning Form
2. Select the Type of Event
3. Choose a Date, Time & Location
4. Secure Funding
5. Advertising & Promotion
6. Request Event Materials
7. Host Your Event!
9. Tips for Planning a Successful Regional Group Event
10. Links to Planning Forms
Filling out the Regional Event Pre-Planning Form will allow your Regional Vice-Chair and the WDS National Office to understand your goals and needs to help make your event a success.
Your WDS Regional Vice-Chair will be an invaluable resource during your planning. Each Vice-Chair is an experienced physician and leader within the WDS. They will be able to provide you with ideas, support, advice, tips, put you in contact with local industry reps, and much more.
CLICK HERE for the Regional Event Pre-Planning Form.
In an effort to streamline your planning and focus on the goal of your event, WDS suggests that you first identify what type of event you plan to have. We have created four event categories to consider:
- Educational: Learning a new medical skill/technique, study group, etc.
- Networking: Luncheons, group dinners, cocktail hour, office/practice receptions, exercise group, book club, etc.
- Program: Webinars, business modules, or best practice sessions
- Service: Local skin cancer screenings (Coast-2-Coast Program), sun safety educational talk, self-esteem event (Dove Self-Esteem Program)
The above categories and events are just suggestions. We encourage you to be creative and have fun with the structuring of your event. Another thing to consider at this point in your planning; would your event benefit from having a speaker, or would a panel discussion add value to your event? This is something you should decide early in the planning process, as you will want to consider any costs/fees associated with having a speaker and use your advertising to attract potential attendees.
Next, you will want to select a date, time, and location for your event. The earlier this is decided the better, to allow for maximum attendance. A few things to be mindful of when selecting the date and location; other local events taking place in your area (relays/marathons, concerts, festivals), try to avoid selecting dates that compete with other major dermatologic meetings out of state (although, hosting an event in conjunction with a major dermatologic meeting in your area could help increase attendance), and make every attempt to avoid any national/religious holidays.
Other factors to consider in selecting a location are venue fees, food and beverage minimums (hotel or restaurant venues), attendee capacities, permissions/permits (outdoor events), available parking, and the convenience of public transport.
You will need to determine if funding is required in order to successfully execute your event. If so, we have four strategies to help with your fundraising efforts:
- Industry Support: Contact local industry representatives to support your event. Don’t know any local reps? Your Regional Vice-Chair can be a great resources to connect you with reps in your area. Nearly 85% of WDS Regional Events have been funded by local industry reps.
- Doing Dutch: Require attendees to pay their own way at the event. For example, if you are hosting a luncheon event, each attendee would be accountable for paying for their own lunch. You will want to be sure this is clearly communicated prior to the event.
- Registration/Attendance Fee: You could charge attendees a fixed registration fee to attend. Again, you will want to clearly communicate this with your attendees prior to the event. It may be helpful to provide a brief description of what the fee includes or covers. This strategy may work well if a speaker is involved, or a development (professional or personal) session is part of your event.
- WDS Regional Committee Support: Each region has the opportunity to acquire $500 from the WDS to support their event. This request will only be considered after attempts to secure local industry support have been taken. You will need to complete the online Regional Event Funding Request Form. The request will be reviewed by your Regional Vice-Chair and the Regional Group Committee for final approval.
Now that you have all the logistics finalized, it is time to start advertising your Regional Event. You will want to be mindful of attendee capacities (does the venue you chose only allow a certain number of guests?). Know your target audience. Are you inviting WDS Members only, or is this event open to all dermatology physicians in the area? You do not want to have to turn anyone away, so formulate a plan or strategy before you start advertising. You will be provided a complete listing of WDS Members in your area with contact information.
The WDS National office can help create an invite and advertise your event through various outlets including:
- Sending an E-blast to your Target Audience
- Posting it on the WDS Website
- Posting it on our Social Media Platforms (Facebook and/or Twitter)
- Including it in the WDS Monthly News Brief
When you fill out the Regional Event Pre-Planning Form there will be a place to indicate what you would like the WDS’s assistance with. We are here to help in any way we can!
Being prepared on-site plays a major role in the success of your event. Your attendees do not see the planning phase of the event, just the onsite execution, so it is important to be prepared. In addition to having other WDS members onsite to help with implementation, you may also request the necessary meeting and event supplies from the WDS National Office.
You are able to request the following materials on your Regional Event Pre-Planning Form:
- WDS Membership Applications
- WDS Brochures
- Petals & Pearls Book
- WDS Pens
- Coast-2-Coast Materials (for Sun Safety Events) - Sunscreen Samples, UV Bracelets, Educational Materials
- Dove Self Esteem Materials (for Self-Esteem Events) - Products, Self Esteem Activities
** Special requests are accepted and provided if available.
Please submit all supply requests at least two weeks prior to your event. This will allow the WDS National Office to receive your request, gather your items, and ship them to you in a timely manner.
The day of your event, make sure to have fun and take lots of pictures for the WDS Website! Take mental notes of what went well, and what could possibly be improved upon for next time so they can be included in your Post Event Debriefing Form. Remember to share with attendees the great things that WDS stands for and has to offer, and encourage others to host a Regional Event of their own!
Now that you have successfully hosted a WDS Regional Event, there are just a few final tasks:
- Please take a few minutes to complete the Post Event Debriefing Form. Your feedback is crucial to the success of this WDS Regional Group Program and will allow us to continue the things we are doing well, and improve on things that could use some work.
- Send the WDS National Office any pictures you may have taken for our website and social media, and any attendee lists you gathered for future WDS Member Recruitment. You can also send pictures that are too large for email to the WDS Dropbox.
- Consider sending ‘Thank You’ notes when appropriate. Whether it’s an email to attendees for coming, or to a corporate sponsor for their support, ‘Thank You' notes are always appreciated.
- Lastly, consider planning your next event!
Below is a list of suggested tips, created by the WDS Regional Committee, for you to consider when planning your Regional Event. These tips are based on the obstacles and successes of past WDS Regional Events:
- Collaborate with other local dermatology organizations.
- Engage your WDS Regional Vice-Chair as much as possible.
- Allow yourself enough lead time to plan, fund, and advertise your event (6-8 weeks lead time suggested).
- Be prepared. Know the goals of your event and stick to them.
- Do your research. Understand your venue, and be mindful of any restrictions or possible obstacles.
- Involve the media when appropriate (local skin cancer screenings).
- Make your event memorable.
- Offer something unique that will attract attendees.
- Involve other local WDS Members in the planning and encourage them to host the next event.
- Keep detailed notes on your planning initiatives and record of attendees for future regional events.
- Send completed Regional Post Event Debrief Form back to the WDS National Office after each Regional Event so the committee can keep an accurate and detailed database of all Regional Events.
Click the below links to be taken to the online PDF: