August 24, 2017

Playground Planning 101: Managing Your Event

Let's Do This!

This is the fifth post in the six-part Playground Planning 101 series. Here are links to parts one, two, three and four.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Step by step!”

― New Kids on the Block


Whether you decide to hire a full team of professionals to build your playground, or you rely on volunteers, all you have to do is close your eyes and make a wish. It will all magically go smooth as silk. Ha! Just kidding. There has to be good organization and leadership in order for your project to be a success. And lucky for you, we’ve mapped it all out.

Here we go - step by step (oh baby) - your guide to managing your playground event...

Step one - We can have lots of fun (in a planning meeting)

Begin your project by organizing a playground planning meeting to discuss goals, timetables, budgets, and confirm volunteers. This meeting is supposed to inform the entire community about your project and make sure they understand it. Getting the word out about it through newspapers, TV spotlights, distributing flyers, and talking to the public will help you reach that goal.

Step two - There’s so much we can do (when we work within committees)

It will also be important to discuss the duties and responsibilities of each committee participating in this project. The success of each committee will rely on the Executive Committee, a group of people that should be elected during this planning meeting to pick the following roles:

  • Chairperson
  • Co-Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Head of Design
  • Head of Fundraising
  • Head of Construction
  • Head of Public Relations
  • Head of Hospitality

Step three - It’s just you and me (and a ton of volunteer committee members)

After the Executive Committee has been selected, you can brainstorm ideas that will finalize the project timetable and committee organizations. Then, volunteers can be assigned roles on different committees based on project needs and the best use of their skills. There may be volunteers who can’t commit to a committee that requires consistent participation. However, they may be able to help when called upon.

Step four - I can give you more (details on this)

Here is a breakdown of each committee, its members, and what their goals are for this project:

Executive Committee:

  • They represent various committees while also working towards the project’s goals.
  • The members of this committee are listed above.
  • Role: Lead all teams. They are responsible for final decisions and coordinating teams.

Design Committee:

  • They promote the needs and priorities of the project while staying in line with the budget and timeline.
  • Members: Site owner/manager/representative, parents, students/children, design professionals (landscape architects or engineers)
  • Role: Organize and coordinate feedback from other stakeholders. Edit and return results of design meetings to playground vendor. Choose colors and components with assistance from playground vendor.

Construction Committee:

  • Typically volunteers with the most construction experience who will be responsible for playground maintenance.
  • Roles: Outline site requirements and address any special needs before installation. Checks local zoning and building codes. Contacts local utility companies prior to installation. Plan security at the construction site.

Fundraising Committee:

  • They are people in your group who aren’t afraid to network and reach out to people to ask for help.
  • Members and their Roles: The Corporate Sponsorship Chair obtains sponsorships from local businesses. The Promotion Chair organizes and executes fundraising promotions like T-shirt sales, walk-a-thons, etc. The Special Events Chair coordinates auctions, pancakes breakfasts, etc. The Special Funding Chair researches and obtains grants and donations from charitable municipals and corporate foundations.

Public Relations Committee:

  • They have the basic marketing, writing, and communication skills to ensure your messages engaging and well distributed.
  • Roles: Issues regular press releases. Updates and maintains website. Maintains and updates fundraising progress signs. Organizes and executes Grand Opening ceremony. Maintains journal, website, and social media platforms.

Hospitality Committee:

  • They enjoy supporting the playground project by building connections with local babysitter, providing food, and leading volunteer recruitment.
  • Roles: Lead volunteer recruitment, confirmation, and check in on construction day. Set up child-care for meetings, Design Day, and Construction Day. Provide meals and snacks for meetings.

Support Group:

  • This team of people who can’t commit to a specific task, but still want to help will provide support.
  • Utilize these people in an adhoc capacity on any committees that may need it, whenever they can provide the help.


Step five - Don’t you know that the time is right (to plan your playground)

There is a place for anyone who may be interested in getting involved. The key to the success of your project will depend on good organization and delegation of roles. Getting everyone in your community involved will make the playground a more personalized experience worth investing in.

What's Next?

Watch for the final post in our series - coming soon. If you are on the edge of your seat and can’t wait, request a copy of Blueprint for Play and get all the details now. Or contact us and let us help you tell your playground story!

Also, you’re welcome.