Executing a SQLSaturday

Executing a SQLSaturday

Preparations and Attendee Bags

Attendee Bags

If you have offered sponsors to provide marketing materials and/or swag for the attendee bags, you will want to make sure to purchase these at least a month out from the event. If you can get a sponsor to provide them, even better! (Some events offer to "raise" the level of sponsorship for a sponsor if they provide the bags, since it is saving you money.)

Supplies

Some useful things you should have available during your event:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pens
  • Notepads
  • A printer with extra paper and ink (some events have a printing station for attendees who forgot to print their SpeedPASS)
  • Large trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper towels / napkins
  • Gloves for handling food
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Coolers with ice for drinks

Speaker Dinner

Many SQLSaturdays provide a speaker dinner the day before the event, but not everyone has the budget to do so. That is completely fine! Most speakers are happy to just have a get-together to meet each other before the event, and are fine with paying for their own food and drinks. Just make sure to let the speakers know what to expect before the event. If you are planning a speaker dinner, have the speaker name badges and SpeedPASSes ready for them so they don't have to spend time at registration during the event. If you are providing speaker shirts, have those ready at the speaker dinner as well.

Signage and Parking

Make sure you have plenty of signage, both outside and inside the venue. Try to approach the venue as an attendee who has never been there before, and make sure that they can easily find the entrance, registration, session rooms, sponsors, lunch and restrooms. You will also want to have signs on the doors of the session rooms listing what sessions are happening in those specific rooms.

Sponsor Setup

Make sure sponsors know when to show up so they can set up their tables before registration opens.

Have a dedicated volunteer who can help sponsors during this period.

Speaker Room

Speakers need a quiet area to prepare for their sessions. If possible, have bottles of water available in this room, and if your budget allows it, provide other drinks and snacks.

Managing Volunteers

Be sure to have plenty of volunteers for important tasks like registration, clean up and room monitoring. Key volunteers should handle sponsors and speaker needs.

Registration

Name Badges

A big part of SQLSaturday events is the networking, so we encourage you to have name badges available for the attendees. (Sponsors especially like to see the name of the person they are talking to.) You will get the name badges as part of the SpeedPASSes, but if you choose to use these you will need name badge holders. The most common option is to buy name badge holders with lanyards, but you may also want to consider name badge holders with clips or safety pins. These can be quite expensive, so a good tip is to set up "recycling stations" by the exits so attendees can leave the name badge holders when they leave. That way you can reuse them next year!

Lunch

Plan ahead on how to collect lunch tickets, how to hand out food, and where the attendees can eat. If you are doing sponsor sessions during lunch, make sure attendees have time to pick up their food before the sessions start.

Evaluations

As part of the event tools package, you have received samples of paper evaluation forms for the event and for individual sessions. There are also online evaluation forms available, with ### being the number of your SQLSaturday:

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/###/EventEval.aspx
http://www.sqlsaturday.com/###/Sessions/SessionEvaluation.aspx

These links open up the night before your event, and are open for one week after your event. Many events still use paper evaluations on the day of the event (often to do raffle drawings from completed evaluations), then send out the online evaluation links the day after the event to get feedback from anyone who maybe didn't take the time to do so during the event.

Raffle

Sponsor Raffle

As part of the sponsor plan sponsors are typically asked to provide a raffle item to draw attendees to their table and obtain contact information.

End of Day - be sure to intrroduce sponsor when raffling their item.  If sponsor representative is still on-site have them draw and announce winner(s).

Sponsors can choose to hold their own raffle or rafffles throughout the day.  Be sure that they clearly communicate when the raffle(s) will be held and if winner must be present.

SWAG Raffle

Some events will have prizes for sponsors to raffle off, ranging from software valued at $1000 down to books and even smaller items. By end of day people are tired and selecting winners can take time, so it's a good idea to limit the number of prizes awarded at the end of the day, and do the smaller prizes throughout the day.

1.  End of the day raffle

Tends to keep attendees around through the end of the day

Be sure to schedule a block of networking time between the end of the final session and the raffle.  This block should be no more 20 minutes as you may lose some attendees.

Identify which prizes will be done at end of day

For software prizes, make sure you have a placeholder - build a "prize certificate" that includes the software key or the contact information for the vendor

Have someone available to record who wins the prizes, that information should go back to the sponsor and it's also great to announce as a close out note for the event.

Using event evaluations as raffle tickets is a good way to reduce the amount of times a ticket is drawn for someone that has already left for the day

We highly recomend requiring attendees to be present to win.

Leave a break between the last session and the start of the raffle. It's definitely bad to start the raffle before everyone can be present (such as when a session runs long). That break also gives you time to get organized.

2.  In Session Raffles

Work best when you have volunteers as room monitors who can ensure the speaker ends early enough to do the raffle and also to collect evaluations/tickets.

Can be used to encourage attendees to fill out speaker/session evaluations as the evaluations can be used as the raffle tickets.

The biggest issue with this is to keep the speakers moving and have time for the raffle and still allow the next speaker time to setup.

Final Notes

You can never give away enough stuff.  Make sure you specify whether or not a person must be present to win.

Cleanup

If you think you might have leftover lunches, research in advance any nearby organizations that you might be able to donate lunches to once lunch is over. Arrange for a volunteer to deliver it.

After Event

Some events organize after parties. This can be something as simple as reserving a group of tables and ask everyone to cover their own expenses, to providing some drinks or appetizers. The important thing is to let everyone know that they can meet and continue their networking after the SQLSaturday is over.

Post Event Form

After your event, the PASS SQLSaturday HQ Team will send you information about the Post Event Form. This is where you will submit attendee numbers, volunteer numbers, sponsors amounts and any feedback you have for other organizers.

Post Event E-mails

Make sure to thank all your sponsors, speakers and volunteers for their support and hard work! There are templates available in the Message Center for this.

Sponsor Follow-Ups

By now you probably already have a good number of sponsors. Make sure to follow through on all your promises to them based on your sponsorship plan, and make sure to have them in a location at the event that will get them a lot of "foot traffic". Sponsors will keep coming back if they are getting the chance to actually talk with the attendees. If possible, have all your breaks, coffee and snacks located near the sponsor area. If you're doing lunch sessions with sponsors, make sure that attendees can bring their lunch into session rooms, or plan for enough time to eat before or after the sessions.

Back to Top
cage-aids
cage-aids
cage-aids
cage-aids