December 13, 2007 at 11:42 pm #57075Curt & Linda HoffmanMember
Here is a collection of United Tips for running a United. This is not intended to be a stand alone since we have great manuals as guides. But it is meant to be a quick one or two pager to give the overall view on what’s important. for ideas for this United send to Joe Parlanti, this years Chairperson. I will take new ideas from each Chairperson’s experience and keep this document a living document reflecting our current thinking on what is important. Obviously to me having enough beer is the most important thing, but I respect the thought that others might want other things at the United as well so have included other ideas as well 🙂
United Chairperson Tips – to help you get started in planning your United.
Read the Guidebook and as many previous United manuals you can get
Use the 1st VP as a coach
Get a committee together from the local area. Send out postcards to all members if necessary to get a good, but small and dedicated team together. Too big can be as bad as too small.
Discuss thoughts with previous United Chairpersons. The VP will know who they are
Don’t reinvent the wheel – use ideas that have worked in the past or events
that you enjoyed and build upon them. Ask others what they would like to do
at a United. Having said that, also have a local event that shows off your area.
Communicate early and often- get input from appropriate groups on ideas, plans, costs, etc. Send emails to the board, regional reps, etc. to get input on ideas. Use the forum for sharing of thoughts as well. The more input- the better the plan and the stronger the alignment. This builds alignment and suppresses criticism (how can they criticize something they input to)
Make a “to do” list based on the input. You will forget things if you don’t
Get the hotel and date lined up first. Having a date with a confirmed hotel allows other things to fall in place
Make sure hotel has adequate rooms for hospitality, tech sessions, number of members expected to come, parking for trailers and cars, security, and generally is nice.
Have a theme for your United- make it something local to build on the area where you are holding it- this makes it memorable, a destination worth going to, and makes it stand out from just a motel, or car meet.
Have some local activities included in your event that aren’t available in other locations- tours, special restaurants, museums, etc.
Create a relationship with the hotel, autocross hosts, activity management early in the process. For example, we held our planning meetings at the hotel and kept them involved in the planning.
Have some local activities for those not doing autocross or other car events.
Have open time for just hanging around the hospitality room. You don’t need to have every minute filled up
Have a booklet with information on schedule, directions (very clear for non-residents) to events, etc. Assume people will not read your notes but will eventually want the booklet for long term reference.
Have directions and times for events posted in very visible place for those who do not read the booklet (most members by the way). Members will not paw through the goodie bag to get directions. Make clear as to time to leave, where to meet, how you will go, etc. Leave no stone unturned as to directions or questions will be endless.
Add GPS locations (addresses) for those people now bringing a GPS. This is a growing crowd. This also allows people to join up from a different start place.
Pre-visit the planned activities. Do everything you plan to do in advance so you know what to expect. It’s fun to make it an event for your committee.
Assume about 100 people for your budget. This gives a good number just in case and will allow you to make a little assuming a normal crowd. Look to history for how many rooms to hold but 60 for the main nights is about right.
The most important thing in a United is to have a good hospitality room. Supply enough food and beer and all critique goes away. Parking is a close second. This club loves to drink and talk.
Pick a date to for closing ordering of shirts. After that it is too bad. Only order a few extra of a common size. Those that want them will order early.
The autocross is the hardest thing to get done. Get your United date and hotel and worry about the autocross later. There is no way to try to set the date based on the autocross. There isn’t an autocross club in the world who knows their schedule for the following year prior to you needing to finalize the hotel and date.
Keep the hospitality room close to the parts room. This keeps everyone together and makes it much more workable. This has become more important with the shrinking parts room.
Work out the banquet schedule with the President so everyone knows who is doing what when. Who will talk, who will do awards, etc. Have an agenda.
Double check your trophy award selections before going to the banquet. It’s good to get it right the first time.
Make sure you contact the previous year’s Lord Rootes and Keith Porter award winners so that they bring the awards to the United or (carefully) ship them to you.
Plan activities for the women and children that attend. Many events can serve all but not all. Craft, cooking, shopping, etc. events have been popular.
Encourage everyone to pre-register as early as possible. It never works but we keep hoping.
Print the key event schedule on the back of the nametags.
Additional event help and ideas can come from members of your local British
car club. Chances are that they have organized road rallies, autocrosses,
or car shows in the past and that will make your United planning easier. They may even volunteer to lead certain events like rallys, wine tours, etc.
Have a car washing area available and stocked with supplies each day. This
should be part of the hotel requirements. Plan for multiple cars all washing at once before the concours.
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