What’s on your (Event) Bucket List?

Many people are making “bucket lists” these days and I realized I need to make mine. So, I was considering some of the items that would be on mine, such as:

Go skydiving
Ride in a hot air balloon
Learn to ballroom and/or swing dance
Run a marathon
Climb a mountain
Join a theatre club

This made me wonder, why don’t organizations have bucket lists?

For digital work and, in particular, social media, we talk about setting goals, measuring against those goals and analyzing the metrics so we can do more, better. We definitely need to do that! But a bucket list is a little different. A bucket list item is not one we really measure against. Bucket list items either happen or they don’t. The question here is simply, “Did I make it happen?” and we are usually happier when the answer is “YES!”

So, why are bucket list items important? Well, they make us think outside the box and give us something against which to create our measurable goals. They can also add the “WOW!” factor that many metrics can’t. They are the items that make others ask “How did you do that?” and “What did that feel like?” They don’t really have to logical or sensible, they’re just the items you are excited to attain and later talk about.

For example, there’s no logical reason for me to WANT to go skydiving – to choose, of my own volition, to jump out of a working aircraft and plummet to the earth, air rushing around me, trusting in nothing but a large piece of fabric and physics to help me land safely and securely on the ground. I’m not an adrenaline junkie (usually) and I don’t particularly like heights (honestly, I’m slightly acrophobic). So, WHY would that be on my bucket list? One, to conquer a fear. And two, to simply say “I went skydiving!” Have you ever talked to someone who’s been skydiving and not said (or at least thought) “WOW! What was that like? Why did you do that?”…That’s a bucket list item! It’s simply a life experience that you can remember and talk about and I think events need those WOW experiences as well!

So, what kinds of items could appear on an event’s bucket list? Here’s a starter list for you:

  • Have an A-list entertainer! Be generic if any recognizable name would be a great asset. Or, name a specific entertainer who would be a perfect fit with your cause and work towards that one person.
  • Raise $1 million! This might seem quantifiable, but really you’re not looking to do it in a certain number of years or by doing X Y and Z. It’s really about being able to say “We’ve raised $1 million for the cause!” – that gets some attention and response not only from your attendees and followers but others new to your cause.
  • Be featured on a TV show! The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party didn’t go looking for this and it wasn’t even on their radar, but in 2011 the Travel Channel filmed the event and will feature it in a seasonal show in 2012. Seriously, how cool is that – not only for the event but for the attendees?! Plus it’s always something they can refer back to and show to potential sponsors and attendees.
  • Have a copycat event! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? So, what does it say about an event when another organization wants to emulate it as much as possible? To me, it means the event planners are doing something seriously right! If this happens, you might even reach out to the “copycat” and work together as “sister events” – giving each other ideas and moral support can only help you both!

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Having trouble coming up more? Consider putting the question out to your fans and followers via Facebook and Twitter or in an email (you knew those digital pieces would work their way into this post eventually…). Once you have your bucket list, then start planning to make them happen through your digital avenues.

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2 comments on “What’s on your (Event) Bucket List?

  1. Pingback: Pitches Be Crazy « Extra-Special Events

  2. Pingback: From Basement Kegger to Travel Channel Feature [Case Study] « Extra-Special Events

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