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When to Choose an Event Contractor Over a Full-Time Employed Planner

In the world of event planning, the decision between hiring a full-time employee or an event contractor can have significant implications for your business. As someone who has transitioned from being a full-time event planner to an event contractor, I have gained valuable insights into when and why it makes more sense to opt for a contractor as opposed to a permanent employee.

When is a full-time planner the right choice?

Hiring a full-time event planner is a logical step for large companies that consistently host frequent and substantial events. If your company organizes quarterly events or at least 8-10 medium-sized events each year, and you have a marketing team of 5-10 individuals, it may be beneficial to have an in-house event planner. This allows for better alignment with your company's vision and brand, as the planner becomes well-versed in your specific goals and objectives. Non-profit organizations, in particular, rely heavily on fundraising events to generate revenue. Having a full-time planner ensures continuity in donor relationships and a thorough understanding of the organization's donation processes.

When and why should you consider contracting an event planner?

For small businesses that are still experimenting with events or only host 2-3 events annually, they are likely considering one of two options:

1. Hiring a full-time event planner and filling their "off-season" time with administrative or marketing tasks.

2. Diverting the attention of your marketing and fundraising team away from their core responsibilities to plan events.

As a former full-time event planner, I have experienced seasons of intense workload, dedicating 60-hour weeks to organizing conferences or galas, followed by months of trying to appear productive while learning unrelated tasks. While I’m super grateful for what I learned in some of those off seasons and I am always happy to jump in where needed, it didn’t make sense for the company I was working for to try and keep a skilled event planner busy doing tasks they weren’t trained for and don’t specialize in.

For many companies, it does not make financial sense to keep a skilled event planner occupied with non-specialized duties during their downtime.

Regarding option 2, while most marketers and fundraisers have the potential to become adept event planners, they are often overwhelmed with the strategic and logistical aspects of events. This can lead to burnout and distractions, taking their focus away from stewarding donors, tracking leads, and creating content. It is crucial to recognize that fundraising and marketing teams have full-time, steady jobs that require their undivided attention. While events may be part of their strategy, it is best to allow them to concentrate on achieving their goals.

It is important not to underestimate the skill set that trained event planners bring to the table. Just as you would hire professionals for content development, bookkeeping, or software development, event planning should be approached similarly. Here are a few additional reasons to consider hiring an event contractor:

  • 1. Cost savings compared to hiring a full-time employee.

  • 2. Flexibility in adapting to changes in your marketing strategy without the burden of a permanent employee.

  • 3. Access to a contractor's diverse experience gained from working with multiple clients.

  • 4. Contractors continually develop their skills by working in various environments and industries.

Ultimately, the decision to hire an event contractor or a full-time employee depends on the specific needs and circumstances of your business. By carefully considering the frequency and scale of your events, the expertise required, and the potential impact on existing teams, you can make an informed choice that best serves your organization's goals.

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