Keys to Running a Successful Event

By Rabbi Elliot Salo Schoenberg and Daniel Schoenberg

With a bit more planning, you can make your event stand out. Here’s how:

Definition: Be deliberate about what type of event you’re planning.

A program is a low energy event with the purpose of providing knowledge to a group of people.

A rally is a high energy event with the purpose of motivating participants to take action.

Content: Plan it around substance: 

At a program, information is central. Balance and discussion makes sense. There is time for questions and answers. Provide handouts. Presenters should be knowledgeable.   

At a rally, keep the content to the basics.  Drama, presentation and emotion are more important than information. Presenters should be enthusiastic and forceful.

A successful program appeals to the intellect, a successful rally appeals to the heart. 


At a program, have more than enough seating. Participants should not feel crowded.

At a rally, do not have seats. Standing adds to the sense of urgency. Being uncomfortable helps motivate the participants to want to do something.

Food and Refreshments:

The best programs are built around food. Link the choice of food to the content of the programs. Food helps build the interactions. 

Rallies do not have food.  Food detracts from the impact. You want your people to leave the event hungry to take action. 


Programs do not need signs, rallies do. Signs at a program can often disrupt people’s views of the presenters and should therefore be off to the sides or at the front or back of the event. Signs at rallies should be dispersed throughout the crowd. The visual impact is critical at rallies. It’s a chance to reiterate your message.


Sometimes programs have music linked to the content. However, at rallies music makes the event. The music used should be upbeat. The higher the beats per minute, the better; nothing below 100. Choose the music with your take away in mind. Rallies should start and end with music.

Social Media: 

Publicity about your event is essential. The public should know about your programs. Media builds your reputation. 

On the other hand, for a rally, media coverage can transform your rally into a forceful leverage point. The right social media can extend the impact area of your rally from your local area to the broader world. Engage your audience; create a hashtag to be used during the event and make sure participants know what it is. Ensure that you have social media presence leading up to, during and after the rally.

Take away:  Make sure people know what actions you want them to take after the event concludes. From a program, the key take away is the learning. From a rally, the key take away is feeling you need to do something. Make sure your attendees know how to take action after the rally is over.