S1 E12: The Five Different Types of Events



Some people think that all events are the same but…

There really are five very different types of clients

And they have some similarities but they are all very different in many ways

  1. Corporate
  2. Education
  3. Social
  4. Non-Profit
  5. Government


Corporate – For profit organizations, trade shows, employee parties, new product roll outs, sales meetings, incentive trips, client appreciation, grand openings, ground breakings, ribbon cutting

    • Sales driven
    • Often one in charge person that we answer to
    • Decisions are subject to their decisions
    • Geared towards individuals vs social or non-profit
    • Often have colors, branding standards
    • Often a corporate structure that can move slowly
    • Want your client to be prepared to present to their boss for approval
    • Centered on guests but usually centered on presenting a product or service or inspiring employees to work harder for the company or to buy in to the company values or culture
    • Clear and defined budget but they can sometime shift funds from another area if they see it is important
    • Risk averse
    • Want guests to experience what they are


Education – Events for Colleges, Schools, Institutions – Fund Raising/Development Events, Scholarship Luncheons, Recruitment Events, Alumni Events, Community Gatherings, Open Houses, Celebrations, Cultivation Events

    • Education Driven
    • Typically more conservative fiscally depending on who the event is for – donors vs students or staff
    • Message is typically broader
    • College events are about professors, students, alumni – multiple measures of success for the event
    • Like to experiment and try new things
    • Willing to take some risks because that is what they are about
    • Education can be looking for donors so it’s similar in that way to a non-profit
    • Similar to Corporate that they have one leader or decision maker. Don’t usually have planning committees
    • Donor voices are loud so you have to consider those carefully so that is similar to non-profit
    • Story of person who loves flowers vs person who thinks they are frivolous – not like that in corporate


Social – Weddings, Private Parties, Anniversaries, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Funerals

    • Reputation Driven
    • Typically one decision maker
    • Represents someone on a personal level
    • Budget is less clearly defined – because there is more emotion because it’s personal. Especially if something goes wrong
    • Guest experience is not as much about liability unlike corporate. It’s more personal.
    • Can be very political, a lot of managing personalities
    • Geared to please tribes of people
    • More opportunity for embarrassment of the host – because everything is a reflection of the host
    • Your reputation can be very exposed – whether it be credit or blame – people will talk
    • Most difficult for those reasons


Non-Profit – Galas, Fund Raisers, Golf Tournaments, Cultivation Events, Ribbon Cutting, Dedications, Open House, Grand Opening,

    • Donor Driven
    • Even if one president – Multiple decision makers – often a board or committee
    • There are lines more than any other client
    • Can’t look too extravagant but must treat guests well
    • Like to have things donated
    • Geared at units of people – a couple, family or organization
    • About communicating their purpose
    • Want guests to experience what they do


Government Conferences, Training Sessions, Grand Openings, Seminars, Open House,

    • Program driven
    • They are doing an event because they have to do an event
    • Whole different ball of wax
    • Decisions based on boundaries and rules
    • Like a grant
    • Strong clearly delineated budgets
    • Most likely paid after the event
    • Message is typically about community – how we can live in community better



  • Corporate is sales driven
  • Education is education driven
  • Social is reputation driven
  • Non-profit is donor driven
  • Government is program driven

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624 S Boston Ave Ste 1030 • Tulsa, OK  74152

(918) 899-0123