On a community-engaged college campus like Towson, fall is the craziest season of the year. There are conferences, seminars, retreats, forums – you name it – almost every day. The university’s fantastic  Events and Conference Services (ECS) staff manage state of the art event spaces and provide technology support, event set-up, and planning resources. Additionally, the Towson University Office of Partnerships & Outreach (OPO) provides comprehensive event marketing plans for internal and external clients that leverage the excellent facilities and resources the university has to offer. The OPO team develops event branding, creates interactive event websites, manages online registration, and can coordinate and manage all day-of logistics.

In my role as the Outreach & Communications Coordinator, I am tasked with managing external client events and most internal DIAR events. Some of my most recent events included the National Association of Government Labor Officials annual conference, the Maryland State Department of Education Early Childhood Care & Education Research Forum, and the Economic Outlook Conference.

Helpful Online Tools

Our team leverages technology from planning to implementation when it comes to event promotion and planning.  Some of the online tools I rely on most include:

Eventbrite:  This is great source for managing registration. While its free for no-cost events there is a charge for processing credit card payments

ExactTarget: This is our email marketing system and provides reports, subscriber features, email delivery optimization, and is a key platform for getting the word out about the events.

WordPress: We use WordPress to build all of our external event websites. With a team of web designers on site, wordpress templates provide us with a lot of flexibility to customize each site for the unique needs of the client or event.

Campus Labs: Formerly known as “Student Voice,” Campus Labs is “one of the country’s leading online survey providers to higher education professionals.”  I use Campus Labs to create and disseminate event satisfaction surveys and measure event metrics. This tool has helped us improve event-after-event. If you aren’t a higher education professional and don’t have access to Campus Labs, Eventbrite offers a similar tool that I suggest testing out. Surveying your attendees is always a good idea!

If you’re having trouble or feeling overwhelmed, remember the 5 W’s of event planning.