Event Management

by Rus Slater

Risk assessment and management

What factors could jeopardise the event’s success?

Firstly, you need to brainstorm all the possible risks to the successful outcome of the event. Then you need to assess the risks individually.

To do this, you assess ‘probability’ and ‘impact’ and rate each on a scale, from 1 = very low to 10 = very high.

Likelihood

You can judge the chances of something going wrong. The more likely it is to go wrong, the more you will need to have a contingency plan in place, but you need to couple this with the assessment of the impact.

Impact

The impact can range from ‘frankly, we’d barely notice it’ (1) to ‘it would completely destroy the chances of success’ (10).

Now that you have identified the risk, and allotted probability and an impact, you can assess whether to ‘manage’ this risk or simply be aware of it:

  • If it is low probability and low impact, you may choose to ignore it
  • If the probability or the impact is high, you should plan to ‘manage’ it in some way.

In order to manage risk you need to

  • Judge what overall response to take
  • Allocate a specific person to watch out for the risk throughout the entire planning and delivery
  • Have a plan to minimise the chance of the risk damaging the event by either preventing the risk or minimising its’ impact.
Example

When risk assessing for a fundraising event for charity...

  • Risk: ‘Failing to sell 155 or more tickets’
  • Probability is 5 (based on previously experienced difficulty in selling tickets at this price for this type of event)
  • Impact is 10 (on the grounds that 155 tickets is the figure at which you actually break into ‘profit’ for this event)...

Risk management

In managing this particular risk, the overall response could be as suggested below.

  1. As we cannot insure against poor ticket sales, we must start marketing tickets as far in advance of the event date as is possible; we must review ticket sales regularly and we must target our audience. The person allocated to oversee this is...
  2. Chris will take responsibility for managing this risk.
  3. You will review ticket sales initially on the on the XXth of YY, and finally on the AAth of BB, at which date you can decide whether to cancel the event with no charges.
  4. In the event that we haven’t reached target by the initial review date, we will offer a bulk discount for entire tables of 15 tickets at ZZ per cent.
  5. We will approach the Chelsea and Richmond Friends groups, who have contacts at this sort of level.
  6. Nicky will seek commercial sponsorship to underwrite the event to at least 50 per cent of cost.

Also see the topic on Risk Management which includes a Risk Register template and a more detailed approach to risk.

Risk assessment - health and safety

There is no straightforward approach that will cover all aspects of events from a Health & Safety perspective, especially where the general public are involved; it is therefore strongly advisable that you visit www.hse.gov.uk for up-to-date advice.

Competitors

You need to consider who your competitors are for this event and you need to consider what they are doing at around the same time.

You must also consider what other general events will compete with yours; this could be competition in terms of date (people can’t be at your event and at home watching the World Cup at the same time) or in terms of cash (people who have just sat through a telethon may not be attuned to spending money at a charity auction) or priorities (the finance department is going to be unlikely to turn up to a teambuilding session in the week leading up to financial year end).

You need to ensure that your event doesn’t clash with any of these competing draws on people’s time, pockets and priorities while at the same time ensuring that your event is at least as attractive.