Catch the Spirit! Hosting an Annual Event

On March 15, the Mary Louis Academy held its annual Spirit Night. The Mary Louis Academy is an all girls Catholic Academy in Jamaica Plains, New York. Spirit Night is “One of TMLA’s oldest traditions…dating back to 1940 when it was known as Sports Night.” All four class years join together in a variety of competitions. The 2012 Spirit Night Theme was “Hollywood Movie Studios.” The Student Council Coordinator, Beth, explained, “It is a school competition used to bring unity among the grades.”

Something to Look Forward to

Many organizations such as The Mary Louis Academy host annual recurring events. Annual events are a traditional way to bring members of the organization together, raise awareness for a cause, or bring in funds for projects that exist outside the regular organizational budget. While all events have similarities, there are special expectations for ones that reoccur.

Annual events build community and loyalty among attendees. Some families look forward to attending the same cultural festival each year. A proud alumni might looks forward to returning to her alma mater for the homecoming celebration. Traditions build around the tradition.

Tradition and Success

Annual events rely on wisdom and tradition.  Often there are elements that absolutely must be included, an opening dinner in honor of a Provost or a Sadie Hawkins dance. Some are formal, some are strange, like MIT’s annual Piano Drop. Whatever the tradition, it is an important feature of the event.

Each year, organizations and planners learn from the past year’s event, so they’re able to host more effectively and more efficiently the next year.  Organizations can learn what worked and what didn’t. By reviewing the event when it’s over, the committee can come up with ways to make the following event more enjoyable and memorable to everyone.

Marketing Annual Events

While it’s true, annual events will have more built in buzz than one time gatherings, organizers shouldn’t rely solely on word or mouth or loyalty to ensure attendees. For even the most established recurring events, it pays to look at different ways to advertise in order to keep bringing in new folks.

Traditional print media is great. Posters, flyers, and bill boards will get the message on the streets, but if the budget is tight, events can benefit from plenty of free advertising. It’s simple and quick to build Facebook and Google+ pages where information about the upcoming event can be posted and shared. A Twitter account dedicated to the event can be used to share small snippets of information. A more traditional website, even a simple one, can help keep folks informed. For organizers who aren’t comfortable with technology, it might help to arrange an interview on the local radio or news station or with the local newspaper. There are many ways to share information about the event.

Have Fun!

The event at the Mary Louis Academy was run by the school. “Students sold tickets and got the student body excited about the event,” Beth explained. For her the best parts of the event were the “students dances and cheer and the general vibe in the gymnasium.”

The most important part of hosting an annual event is the outcome. Have fun and enjoy your tradition.