How to Not Freak Out While Planning a Huge Fundraiser

This is not a drill. I am currently 4 days away from my job’s annual Fight Night fundraiser. A huge event in Orange County hosted at #TheMarconi where Marconi Foundation for Kids partners with another local at-risk children’s charity.

This year we’re partnering with Seneca and its G.A.I.T program; healing at-risk youth through horseback.

Any huge event you’ve attended, there is a team of exhausted and sleep deprived coworkers slushing through the night with a smile on their face, cautiously eyeballing the timeline (a minute by minute schedule of the event) and saying a little prayer everything goes off without a hitch.

I work in a small office and after three months of planning, it’s starting to get stuffy around the office. And by stuffy I mean stressful.

Rule #1: Don’t waste time having imaginative arguments with coworkers in your head. Be the bigger person. 

At the beginning of last week I could feel the stressed induced vomit pooling at the back of my throat. Every being in my body wanted to slam my office door shut, turn off the lights and growl at anyone who came knocking.

After one day of office silence, I cleared the air. Took the few minutes before the work day started to give a pep talk to a couple coworkers feeling the pressure.

You feel like you’re working harder than everyone else, get over it. Even if you are, it’s more than likely everyone else planning the event with you is feeling the exact same way. So don’t wallow in the bad vibes, be the bigger person and suck it up.

Crack a joke, make someone smile and lead by example. Laugh through the chaos.

Rule #2: You can’t control everything. Put your best foot forward and keep walking.

Have you ever planned a small gathering for friends and family? I planned a baby shower, once. I remember thinking how much fun it would be to coordinate a little get-together and celebrate a new life.

My baby shower was probably different than yours though, I couldn’t account for the grandma-to-be to get pissed drunk and start wrestling guests.

After two months of planning and getting everything just right, nothing could’ve prepared me for drunk grandma. Oh well, the show must go on.

Rule #3: If you worked hard for it to be a success, those who matter will notice.

Market the shit out of your event. Create promo videos, make engaging and informative social media posts, pump up your audience and get creatively spent each and every day leading up to the big event. Don’t be afraid to step it up and extend your creative brush onto another canvas.

Not everyone has a boss who can express gratitude for hard work, same goes with coworkers. You know what you did, don’t waste any energy making sure everyone else knows, just keep killing it. Good things come to those who strive for it.

Did your grandma get pissed drunk and wrestle guests at your baby shower? What are some of your event horror stories? I want to hear them! Comment down below.


My First Agency Tour

Photo Cred: Awo Eni

Today PRSSA and myself got the unique chance to tour the Weber Shandwick office in downtown Dallas, inside the Comerica Bank Tower. The PR firm represents over 3,000 companies and have multiple offices in 80 countries, including the United States, London and Middle East. In regards to the work they do, they are a little more corporate and little more traditional.

After climbing to the 16th floor, we entered a lobby that had double glass doors on opposite sides, upon entering the bunch of us were shuffled into a magnificent conference room with a gorgeous view of downtown Dallas.

We got a run down of the afternoons schedule from Senior Vice President Tracy Donalson and then dove into specifics about the firm and its daily routines from Neil Nowlin, executive vice president and general manager of Weber and Shandwick. Lesson one, it’s never routine in their offices.

While listening to Mr. Nowlin talk, these are a few of the things we all took away from his speech:

  1. Take the initiative in all aspects of the job.
  2. Alway bring a positive attitude into work, a bad attitude is just as contagious as a good one.
  3. Be willing to do anything, don’t be that guy who walks in to an interview with stipulations and a chip on your shoulder. If they want you in a hotdog suit, waving at potential consumers, JUST DO IT.
  4. If you haven’t had a lot of experience thus far, think about what you can do. For example, can you take on a leader ship role in a club at school? Have you volunteered in your community or tried to work for a nonprofit? Is there a political campaign you can volunteer with?
  5. Practice your writing skills! The PR world needs strong writers, have you mastered the art of writing persuasively?
  7. When submitting résumés make yours stand out, one guy sent his on top of a cake!

Then, we got to hear from staff who worked in the technology department, graphic design and videography department and most importantly, from the people who manage the interns they have quarterly each year, about six to seven in each batch. So if you are looking for something in the agency life, check out the opportunities here.

I also hear Senior Art Director Matthew Weir is always looking for a graphic design intern, and he hears The University of North Texas has one of the best programs around, so tell your friends.

Gazing at the social media hub Photo Cred: Shannon Randol
The Weber Shandwick break room. What a view! Photo Cred: Shannon Randol
Another great view from their office windows. Photo Cred: Shannon Randol