Before my internship with LPR, I’ve only ever attended an event as a guest. In the few charity events I’ve been to (or, really, seen on TV), everything seemed so coordinated and effortless. People smiled for cameras, guests of honor spoke without nerves and everyone was focused on the benefiting charity.
After working my first charity event, the DeMarco Murray Foundation’s Celebrity Waiter Night, I’ve come to realize that all of those things do happen – but not without a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Here are my two big takeaways: how an event like that is put on, and why we did it.
My role leading up to Celebrity Waiter Night was pitching the event to Dallas-area bloggers, where I gained firsthand experience inviting them to attend and following up for both participation and coverage.
On the day of the event, I staffed the celebrity room. (Pretty cool for this sports-loving Dallas girl!) Some things were out of our control, like DeMarco Murray being stuck in traffic when CBS needed to film their live shot. A lot of things, however, were in our control, like maintaining consistent communication between the media and celebrity rooms about when the next item on the agenda was happening.
But the biggest challenge of the evening, I realized, was finding the balance between accommodating the players, guests and media.
The players – the celebrities of the evening – needed time to eat before they began serving the guests and wanted to enjoy the night with their dates just as much as the guests of the event. Meanwhile, the media wanted every possible photo op and detail of what happened, which is why they were invited.
It was important for me and the rest of the team to remain sensitive to everyone’s wants and to try and cater to those wants as best we could.
Although a few portions of the evening didn’t flow as smoothly as we’d hoped, we had to keep two things in mind: the players and media are people, too, and there was a cause behind every hectic moment.
When the timing of things didn’t happen the way we wanted, it was important to keep sight of the vision and purpose behind what we were doing.
The planning, arranging, organizing, scheduling, inviting, publicizing, calling, emailing, set-up and implementation of weeks of preparing was all for one group of people: the Dallas-area youth who would receive educational help and resources thanks to DeMarco’s foundation.
Professional athletes, especially football players, haven’t had the best publicity the past few months. This event came at a crucial time for the NFL’s reputation. Thanks to the media who attended the event, members of the Dallas community had the opportunity to see the players they cheered for, sometimes even idolized, doing good for their hometown.
And, no matter the size of my role, I was a part of helping them do good. To me, that makes my first celebrity event a success.