How to Plan a Successful Community Event
Aeromodeling is a fun, exciting hobby meant to be shared!
This easy-to-follow eight steps will help guide you through the event planning process and set you up for success! Filled with suggestions, ideas, and helpful advice, the Academy of Model Aeronautics' event planning guide will have you planning your next big event with confidence!
Define Your Goals
Who is the intended audience?
- Consider what kind of audience you are trying to attract with this event.
Should the Event be AMA Sanctioned?
- If the event is to be AMA Sanctioned, the event must be managed by a credentialed AMA Contest Director (CD) or Event Manager (EM).
- Sanctioning an event has benefits. However, for internal club events, it is probably not needed.
- Info on how to obtain this credential can be found at:
Who will oversee event planning?
- Identify an Event Planner and establish an Event Subcommittee with clearly defined roles, such as: budget, location/venue, promotion/publicity, sponsors, and volunteer management.
- Assigning roles to team members establishes accountability and ensures that all tasks are completed without overloading one individual with too many tasks.
- Plan regular meetings to track progress.
What kind of event is it?
- It is important to decide early on what type of event you want to hold. Will it be an air show? A fun fly? A fundraiser for a local charity?
Where will the event take place?
- Does your club have a flying field? If not, brainstorm other suitable locations.
When will the event take place?
- It is recommended to begin planning an event at least 4-6 months in advance. This timeline will give you and your club members adequate time to hammer out the details.
Why are you holding this event?
- National Model Aviation Day Celebration
- Membership growth
- Club outreach
- Community event
- Club activity/event
- Raise funds for local/National charity
- Competition event
- Club event for enjoyment/benefit of club members
How much will this event cost?
- How much will it cost to hold this event, and how will you pay for it?
Define a Timeline
Again, the time to start planning an event is minimum 4-6 months in advance. During the initial planning stages (1-3) months, you should establish your goals and objectives, your budget, venue, and programming. The latter half of the planning process will consist of confirming sponsors, vendors, and volunteers, as well as marketing the event and selling tickets, if applicable.
Establish a Budget
After establishing your goals and objectives, it will be easier to envision a budget for your event. You will need to consider things like advertising, materials for make-and-take projects, venue costs, vendor costs, food and beverage, various rental costs (pop-up tents, golf carts, Porta Potties, etc.). Once you have established everything that has costs attached, begin your research. Find out how much everything will cost to determine the overall budget for your event.
Your budget can be supplemented by charging for various elements of the event, such as parking, food, raffle tickets, and more. You can also offset costs by seeking out sponsorships.
Find a Venue
Book your event early, if you are not planning on utilizing your own flying site. Regardless of whether you're renting a venue, or you have one in place, consider the following:
- Accessibility: do you have enough restrooms for men, women, families? Is the site wheelchair accessible?
- Parking: do you have ample parking available? Is the site accessible by public transit?
- WiFi: is WiFi needed, and if so, is it available?
Plan Your Program
What is on your schedule of events? Will it go all day, or just for a few hours? Say you're planning an airshow to fundraise for a local children's hospital. What else will you provide to the attendees? Will there be a swap meet? Will there be food available for purchase? Will there be a raffle? What will you have available for families?
- Additional attractions/activites for your event might include flight simulators, static displays, a bounce house for families with young children, other RC activities (a track for race cars, if you club has a body of water, an area for RC boats).
- Establish an Event Master Plan that can be accessed by all members of the event subcommittee. Either have this as an editable document online (such as Google Docs), or plan to update/edit each time you meet.
- Track everything: venue, activities, guests, publicity, registration, sponsorships, volunteers.
- Utilizing the branding and logos you have established for the event, have a one-page version of the Event Master Plan available for dissemination to potential community partners, sponsors, etc.
Find Vendors, Sponsors, and Guests
Once your Event Master Plan (EMP) begins to take shape, begin seeking out sponsors and vendors. Your EMP will add legitimacy to the event and encourage businesses to contribute dollars or in-kind donations, such as door prizes. If you are planning on having vendor space, begin seeking out vendors as well. Not only will you need vendors for food, beverage, and snacks, but you could also utilize any unused space as a marketplace for a swap meet or local entrepreneurs.
- Consider coordinating with your local EAA chapter to put on a collaborative event with Young Eagles rides, EAA Young Eagles Build & Fly Program, etc.
- Did you know that one requirement of the Boy Scouts of America Aviation Merit Badge is to attend an air show? Another one is to build and fly our very own FPG-9 glider! Encourage a handful of your club members to obtain credentials to become a Merit Badge Counselor for the Aviation Merit Badge and make the required activities a part of the programming for your event. Partner with your local Boy Scout Troops to get the word out!
Build a Marketing Campaign
There are many way to promote your event. If your club has a Facebook page, you can create an Event page that outlines all of the details of the event. You can also submit your event to local community calendars, radio stations, and more. Be sure to contact local visitor bureaus and Chamber of Commerces. Utilize the network your club members have and distribute event flyers for them to bring to their jobs, churches, etc. Many restaurants and cafes have community announcement boards where you can post event information as well! It's all a matter of getting the word out in as many ways as possible.
How to Make a Facebook for Your Club (Video Tutorial)
How to Make a Facebook Event Page for Your Club Event (Video Tutorial)
Build on Your New Relationships with Attendees
As a part of your EMP, you must also consider what will happen not only during your event, but also after it takes place. How will you keep your attendees coming back to your club? Be sure to have information on hand about when your club meets, when your next funy fly will be, event when your next event will take place. Having plenty of literature available for attendees interested in joining your club and the AMA.
How to Promote and Market Your Event
How to on Public Relations
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