Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.
Guild events outside of the usual raiding and PvP activities can help break up the monotony and get people excited about their guild. This week's email comes from an "event officer" who wants to know, how do you get people to show up?
I am an officer in my guild, and we have been re-evaluating our roles. I am considering becoming the Social Event Coordinator, and I am looking for some advice to get things started. ... My ideas include scheduling nights to do scenarios/dungeons for achievements, old school raids, and probably a pet battle league once people aren't as focused on gearing up for raids.
My questions are:
Do you have any suggestions on how to communicate to guildies that aren't around much that these events are being planned?
Do you have suggestions on how to determine interest before scheduling?
Do you have suggestions on how to encourage participation?
Do you have other event ideas that have worked for you?
I was thinking of using the guild calendar and inviting people, and even using in-game mail for communication. I was also thinking of having some pet rewards for the battle league. ...
Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. This is unfamiliar territory for me.
Events, like raids, have their own momentum. When players have fun, they'll want to come back every time. Here are a few pieces of advice that might help you.
1. Schedule it on a regular day/night.
Raiding guilds keep the same schedule every week because it works best that way. Players and their families can manage their week around those times far in advance. The same principle works for any kind of group activity, in-game or out.
If you want to hold regular events, you need a regular schedule. That makes it simple for those who want to participate. They can plan their own schedules around it.
2. Give your event a name that reminds people when it is.
"First Friday Pet Battles" or "Achievement Tuesdays" have built-in reminders. "Arenapalooza" does not.
3. Set up a sign-up list.
To gauge interest and help notify people, set up the event in the calendar in-game and allow signups. You could also use a widget for your guild's website, a Facebook event, or any number of similar tools. Then periodically ask people to sign up. The signup reminder doubles as an event reminder. If your guild is small, in-game mail can also work, but it's time consuming. The personal touch can encourage people to show up, though.
4. Build interest by talking about it in guild chat.
It doesn't have to be straight-up spam. You can ask people what kinds of pets they're going to bring, which achievements they want to shoot for, etc.
5. Day-before and day-of reminders are key.
People who may not have considered attending may all of a sudden find that they've got time to kill and show up even though they weren't planning on it.
6. Give stuff away.
Any kind of event that doesn't automatically lead to game-system rewards such as achievements, honor, etc. needs its own prizes. People always want to feel like time spent in-game can progress their character or at least put some gold in their pocket. People are far less likely to consider the event a "waste of time" if there's a chance, however slim, that they'll come out of it with something good.
Ask the guild leader if the bank can fund these prizes. Events build goodwill and solidarity among members. They keep people happy with the guild, which helps to support the guild's other activities. They are well worth funding.
7. Never cancel it.
Whenever you cancel an event, you're sending a signal to the entire guild that the events aren't worth attending. Members will be less likely to attend in the future, leading to a greater possibility of cancellation. It's a downward spiral.
As long as you and one other person shows up, go forward with it. Fill out the event from trade chat if you have to. Beg people on your friends list. Make it happen no matter what. Your commitment will impress the people who attended, and they'll spread the word.
8. Post recaps.
When you hold a successful event, make sure the whole guild knows about it. Each one will build interest in events and confidence that they are fun and worthwhile. A website or social media site is the best place for this.
If the event included a contest, be sure to congratulate the winners and remind people about the awesome prizes that they won.
9. Avoid event burnout.
Don't hold them so frequently that they become just another chore. Once per week is the max. Less frequency than that is probably better, depending on difficulty and interest.
10. Go all out once per year or so.
On a special occasion like a holiday, your guild's founding anniversary, the guild leader's birthday, etc., do something large-scale that the guild never does at any other point. It could be an elaborate scavenger hunt, an all-out Gurubashi Arena brawl, a transmog contest with insanely expensive prizes, a world PvP rampage, or whatever you want. Just make it a big deal. Make it something that your players will remember for a long time.
Big events like that can help your event attendance throughout the year. When people know you can pull off something like that, they have more faith that you can handle something smaller.
It's been a while since I've run an event like this myself. What advice do other officers have to give? You can find dozens of tried and true event ideas if you do a quick Google search. Are there any great new ideas for events out there?
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to email@example.com.