What is a special event coordinator?
A special events coordinator’s job revolves around planning, organizing, and promoting events for their company or employer. These events may serve a diverse range of functions, such as a fundraiser, volunteer appreciation event, or company dinner. They often plan or organize in an office setting, although they may required to perform physical tasks such as posting flyers around the city or visiting prospective event locations. Coordinators may also use social media to help promote the event.
Coordinators typically have to work with a number of other employees with the company, including individuals helping to set up the event and other members of the marketing staff; they may also need to coordinate volunteers. They must also monitor an event budget and remain within that budget throughout the planning process. Special events coordinators must meet with potential clients or other departments in need of an event, gathering ideas and helping to plan. They must also keep supervisors apprised of their work, including their budgets.
Special events coordinators typically need at least three years of customer service and/or public relations experience, including at least one year at a supervisor level. The job also requires an understanding of basic computer software, financial recordkeeping, public relations, volunteer management, and organizational skills. They must also be able to work within deadlines, which may occasionally be tight.
What skills do you need?
Your negotiation skills should be rock solid to lock in the best possible prices with clients and vendors. Good communication skills are also a must. You can’t manage relationships with clients and vendors without them. Being detail oriented and deadline driven is also important.
And you have to have stamina, who logged plenty of night and weekend hours after putting in a full day at the office. You don’t always get to quit at quitting time in this line of work.
Who is an event coordinator’s boss?
An event coordinator may report to a director of events, but it largely depends on the way a company is structured. At some companies, an event coordinator assists or reports to an event manager. At others, responsibilities mirror those of event managers.
Differences Between Event Planning and Coordinating
There are several loosely-defined terms in the event industry. That is, words that can be interpreted in different ways. The word “event” by itself could mean anything from a birthday party to a benefit concert. This use of different terms can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, specifically around job titles. One of the biggest areas of confusion concerns event planners vs. event coordinators.
Event Planners vs. Event Coordinators
Outside the industry, many people do not understand the difference between an event planner and an event coordinator. Generally speaking, the planner makes critical decisions regarding what, when, who, and how. An event coordinator, on the other hand, is responsible for making sure all the details are executed and that each vendor shows up on time and performs appropriately.
Responsibilities of an Event Coordinator
An event coordinator does not get involved with the design of the event, itself. Instead, they are in charge of managing the individual components to ensure the event goes smoothly.
Once the planner has determined the vision for the event, the coordinator assists the planner in making that a reality. They may look at vendors, organize delivery dates, and handle logistical tasks.
Larger organizations may have two coordinators for every planner, while smaller operations might only have one coordinator who serves the needs of all executive decision-makers. Either way, there is typically a direct line of supervision over the coordinator position. That doesn’t mean event coordinators have it easy. Most of them have the difficult task of organizing everything on-site with only a few hours before the event begins. This, of course, is when most problems occur, which is why a good coordinator is focused, organized, and resourceful.
This is a great position for those looking to start a career in event planning. Working as a coordinator gives you a strong foundation to move on to an event planner role later in your career. A strong coordinator is worth their weight in gold to any planner, and job security (if you’re good at your job) is virtually guaranteed.
To break into a career in event coordination, getting an internship or volunteering with a non-profit to help them plan their fundraising events can be advantageous. You’ll get hands-on experience in coordinating a real event and build your professional network at the same time.
Responsibilities of an Event Planner
An event planner works directly with the client to determine the customer’s vision, needs, and budget. For example, if it’s a wedding, the event planner may discuss the couple’s intended tone, the level of formality, and the size of the guest list.
From there, the event planner designs an event to wow the client. They will choose a venue and type of entertainment, then work with the client to determine a menu. They focus on the big-picture items that make an event memorable.
Becoming an event planner takes years of experience. A planner carries a lot of responsibility ensuring the client is happy and designing an event that fits the customer’s needs and expectations.
Before becoming a planner, several years of working as an event coordinator is often necessary. It’s an important stepping stone to a career in events.