Six Things to Know - About Postponing Your Event - Post COVID


If you are planning an event of any size for any reason in 2020 - here are some things to keep in mind if you are canceling, postponing or rescheduling your event.

1. Notify Your Event Venue in Writing - As convention centers, hotels and event venues are scrambling to build their own COVID-19 event plan safety protocol, I've been successful with 100% of the Central Florida hotels and venues that I'm currently working with to allow my clients to cancel or postpone without a penalty. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all).

2. Notify Your Event Vendors in Writing - Your event vendor list is comprised of anyone providing a product or service for your event such as catering, decor, entertainment, audiovisual, photography, videography, parking and valet, security, etc. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all). 

3. Communicate With Your Attendees - It's fair to say that it would likely be assumed by the general public that any event set for the Spring of 2020 is canceled. But as we enter Summer, Fall and Winter things become less clear. In any case, you will want to communicate with your attendees. 
  • Your event ticket platform will have a list of registered guests. I use Eventbrite and they offer a wonderful resource page. 
  • Send personal emails or use your email marketing platform to confirm cancellation (and ideally a new date) with all of your invited guests, whether they have confirmed or not. 
  • I use Mail Chimp - they are offering free Standard Mailchimp accounts through at least June 30, 2020, to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits, and other organizations that are sending critical public health information about COVID-19 to their communities.
4. Communicate With Your Event Partners - Make a personal phone call as well as send an email to touch base with your sponsors, volunteers, media, in-kind donors, speakers, and local dignitaries who are a part of your event. Let them know, you will circle back when things settle. 

5. Pause All Event Marketing - Update your event website page, cancel your Facebook events. Pause any scheduled social media posts. I use Hootsuite for social media - they announced that they will provide free access to their Professional Plan to nonprofit organizations and small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

6. Re-Set your Event Plan and Marketing Strategy NOW - Work with your convention center, hotel, event venue, and event vendors to "soft hold" a tentative date in summer, fall, winter - whatever makes the best sense for your organization. Don't publish the date until it's certain. When the world un-freezes there will likely only be a handful of Saturday nights left in 2020 - so be flexible to consider adjusting to a daytime or weekday event. Stay Safe - But Save Your Place at the Table for 2020 events.