Secrets to Successful Events:
How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals
Whether you’re a first-time event organizer or a seasoned professional, discover how to successfully plan, implement, promote and manage festivals and community events of all sizes, shapes and kinds. Unique insights, tips, tools and resources are based on years of hands-on experience.
This easy-to-read handbook follows a logical progression taking event organizers from inception to thank you letters and everything in between.
- Discover how to find volunteers to serve on your organizing team and during the event.
- Find out what sponsors need and want in order to sign on the dotted line and what the event can do to guarantee sponsors return year after year.
- Gain an understanding of how budgets, event finances, money handling and online ticket sales work.
- Master the key elements required in marketing a festival and the role public relations plays before, during and after the event and in the world of social media.
- Explore specific festival and event themes: music, food, wine, beer, books and film, plus air shows.
- Learn the steps involved to book talent – headliners, artists, speakers, musicians, pilots, performers, wine makers, authors, chefs, entertainers and brewmasters.
- Review revenue generating options – the sale of merchandise (design, production and inventory control) and vendors/concessions (applications, selection, menus and set up).
See how all the pieces fit together when reading cover-to-cover. For those interested in select topics, cross-references are included for more details.
“Research proves that foodies love food & drink events and will travel great distances for them. It is in a planner’s best interest to reach potential travelers if they want attendance to soar. Yet marketing food and beverage events to travelers requires addressing a specific set of considerations that may not be fully relevant to local attendees. “Secrets to Successful Events” is required reading for any event planners who seek to grow attendance from anyone beyond the reach of their local market.”
— Erik Wolf, Executive Director, World Food Travel Association
“I know firsthand, having attended events all over the world, that they are one of the key reasons people travel. Every day we make arrangements for those desiring to experience festivals, especially those showcasing local customs, culture and cuisine. “Secrets to Successful Events” offers a comprehensive look at how to organize an festival or to make a great event even better, providing more reasons to make travel plans.”
— Kendra Thornton, owner/president, Royal-Travel.com
“As someone that has known Lynn Fuhler from the early days of her career as an event planner, I have seen her learn first-hand the right ways — and the wrong ways — to run festivals and major events. She learned from the best, learned from mistakes, and became a leader in the field. She has been where you are headed and knows how to guide you when you approach the fork in the road. It’s all here in her detailed roadmap, “Secrets to Successful Events.””
— Bob Andelman, Author: The Wawa Way, Fans Not Customers, Mean Business, Stadium For Rent, The Profit Zone, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life; Host/Producer: Mr. Media® Radio & TV Interviews; and Publisher: Mr. Media® Books
“She has provided insight and detailed instructions on how to make event planning a success from the idea to implementation stage. She provides information on taking the concept of creating an event to how to seek support through sponsorships that will financially support your event. She explains how you are to market and provide public relations support to advertise and gain interest in those who would be interested in attending your event. She gives the reader expert advice on recruitment of volunteers to run your event smoothly. She underscores how to recruit vendors and entertainment that will draw maximum crowds to your event. Lynn is an expert in event planning and she has put all of her knowledge into this must read book for all.”
— Dr. Steven V. Cates, Graduate Professor
“Drag out the sticky notes, highlighters and note pads and prepare to be immersed in a comprehensive crash course on event planning as the author “holds your hand” and takes you step by step through the dynamics necessary to plan successful events of any size or type. Written in an easy-to-read format with a cutting edge approach, every one of its 283 pages contains tips and suggestions that will lead you on the path to success. Whether you are a newbie or seasoned veteran, you’re sure to use this book as a resource guide time after time for yourself and your organizing committees.
This book would be good for those planning events but also those involved with assisting and promoting events including chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and PR agencies. Well done, Lynn Fuhler!”
— Nancy Foster, Founder, Foster Tourism Marketing
“A tour de force to be sure, Ms. Fuhler has pulled all the stops. Written in the author’s characteristic horse sense style, this tome neatly balances depth with breadth, humor with pragmatism. While someone new to event planning might consider this a must-have playbook, it is also loaded with value for a seasoned veteran as well – a roadmap to continuous event improvement.
“Secrets” has something for everyone, regardless of event size. A variety of event types are covered. Ms. Fuhler’s years of experience in travel, PR, and entertainment shine through. Particularly impressive, however, is her understanding – and nuanced exploitation – of digital media. How many event organizers even consider the role that a blogger’s “casual energy” could play?
Probably unlike most reviewers, I’ve heard the author speak on more than one occasion. This book reads like she speaks – clear and to the point. It is logically organized, efficiently cross-referenced, and very thorough, yet neither heavy-handed nor pretentious.”
— Dale H.
“This book is an effective manual for event planners with a great checklist and detail most people forget or were never aware of. If I was an first-time planner following the logic and progression would make my life so easy. If I was trying to make an existing event better, this book provides insights and great suggestions. Every planner should have one.”
— Francis Purvey
“As a school teacher who has lived in many communities, large & small, I have always enjoyed being an active part of that community and throwing myself into its varied life, especially when there’s a call goes out for its people to pull together in some common cause dear to the hearts of those who care about their community & wish to see it survive & thrive. As such, I often find myself involved in community events at some organisational level and have seen how it takes more than hard work & willing hands to make all the difference to a successful outcome; it takes careful forward planning, knowledge honed by experience, & genuine leadership & people skills to make it all work. A bit like life really.
I recently came across your new book, “Secrets to Successful Events,” and wanted to thank you for its clarity of communication style & perceptive analysis of how to avoid the many pitfalls of what is often a fraught endeavour by a community of volunteers. I actually found it a very easy & interesting read, & consider it as an excellent resource tool and a valuable guiding blueprint for future community events. It’s a very thorough, logical & practical guide to the subject; its coverage is certainly comprehensive but its presentation is concise, methodical & accessible to anyone at any level. And, although it was written from your American perspective, its coverage has universal application & is entirely relevant to other situations & communities, including those in my rural Australia.”
— JL Australia
Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide:
42+ Easy-to-Use Forms and Tools to Save You Time and Money
If you’re an experienced event planner or festival organizer looking for a quick-start guide to hosting and promoting your next event, this Resource Guide is the answer. It features sample letters, contracts and forms used in key areas: sponsors, marketing, publicity, talent, volunteers, merchandise, vendors/concessions and more.
If you have minimal experience in event planning and want to jump start your event, we suggest you pick up Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals, as well as this book. Together they explain not only what needs to be done but how to manage all the details and create a crowd-pleasing event.
This invaluable resource guide gives you the templates and tools to help you:
- Quickly organize your committee’s structure and establish operating procedures.
- Communicate effectively with sponsors – using sample proposals, contracts, invoices, checklists.
- Master the budget process and track revenue and expenses.
- Discover marketing tools, PR opportunities and social media tips.
- Protect your event using customizable contracts for sponsors, talent, vendors/concessions.
- Use our handy forms when booking talent from headliners, artists, speakers and musicians to chefs, entertainers, winemakers and brewmasters.
- Easily track talent travel arrangements and equipment needs.
- Learn how to solicit and sign up volunteers.
- Take control with RFPs and bid specifications for graphic design, merchandise, sound and lighting.
- Wrap up the event using pre-created thank-you letters.
Based on the author’s years of experience in event planning, you’ll discover the essential tools, forms and resources every event organizer needs to get your event off the ground and running quickly.
“I was the special events coordinator for twelve Earth Day events in the 10th largest city in the country. I would have loved a book such as this to walk me through every step of the way. Excellent manual for a small or large event.”
— Jill Cody, Author: America Abandoned
“Oh, how I wish I had this easy-to-read book when I began my career! I would recommend it to every single person starting out in the planning process — and for meeting planning veterans, it’s a wonderful aide-mémoire of how it should be done.”
— Liz Guertin, Executive Assistant; Meeting Planners International (MPI) Board – New England Chapter representative; and Past President, MPI – Carolinas Chapter
“Lynn Fuhler has provided the reader with all of the vital knowledge and resources to research, plan, and successfully manage any event.”
— Dr. Steven V. Cates, Graduate Professor
“I’ve known Lynn since our days working together in Florida’s tourism industry. Lynn has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience, and event planners are the better for her having shared her insider advice in her first book – Secrets to Successful Events. But wait there’s more … this companion Resource Guide takes her expertise a step further by including the tools and tips needed to excel at event planning. Lynn has provided easy-to-use forms and templates for each step of the planning process. Novice planners and marketers will find everything they need to get the ball rolling and put on a successful event. What a great service and time saver!”
— Wit Tuttell, Executive Director, Visit NC, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Throughout her career, Lynn Fuhler has successfully organized and promoted numerous festivals as well as corporate and community events and leadership programs and activities. The former Tourism and Convention Director of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, FL – named TripAdvisor’s #1 Beach in the U.S. in 2018 – she has worked extensively with the hospitality industry to market destinations, festivals, events and visitor activities throughout the world. She is the former Event Chairman of the all-volunteer Clearwater Jazz Holiday, then the largest free jazz festival in the Southeast U.S.
Lynn Fuhler is a consultant, speaker and publisher of a blog which focuses on all aspects of festival and event planning. A native of Illinois and the greater St. Louis area, Lynn holds a B.S. degree in transportation, travel and tourism from St. Louis University’s Parks College. Now based in North Carolina, Lynn is the co-founder of Flying Compass, Inc., a hospitality marketing company, and Savvy Rooster, a wine-centric tourism and digital marketing agency.