Updated: May 18
When you hear the word corporate event, what comes to mind? Meetings, Conferences? Corporate Events can be used to raise money, bring awareness to a new product or service, educate a specific audience, or even celebrate a company accomplishment. With so many different purposes, I am sure you can imagine that there are even more types of corporate events you can plan to accomplish your goal. I gave you a quick list first, but don’t worry, there is more information on each type below.
Board or Shareholder meetings
Team Building Events
Appreciation events are usually held to recognize employees or thank loyal customers. They are often held as luncheons, dinner/cocktail parties, galas, or award events. When planning an appreciation event, try to think about what your audience would really enjoy.
Most companies throw some version of a holiday party. The goal is simply to create some joy for the people who have worked hard for you all year long. Try to bring in some creativity and allow the employees to relax and have a fun evening.
Retreats are most frequently used for inspiration! They help get staff/leadership out of their normal routine to get everyone together in a space where they can bond, feel taken care of, and brainstorm what is best for their business in the months to come. They are usually off somewhere relaxing and consist of both work and play time.
Incentive programs are used to push your team to the next level! They are usually structured to motivate employees to reach a specific set of goals, and recognize all of the work they have put in while boosting engagement. The key here is creativity!
Corporate milestone events are used to celebrate a big accomplishment made through an organization. These can be hosted for company anniversaries, opening another location, reaching a longtime goal, etc. These typically are dinner/cocktail parties or award shows.
Team Building Events
Team Building Events are used to improve the relationship between co-workers. Escape Rooms, Scavenger Hunts, and Sports Games are all awesome ways to get a team to practice communicating and relying on each other to accomplish a common goal. When planning a team building event, you want to make sure everyone will have a good time while also learning about the best way they all work together. There are tons of companies like Outback Team Building that will put together an awesome experience for your staff and take the hassle out of it for you!
Board or Shareholder meetings
These types of meetings are usually held on a regular schedule (annually, bi-anually, quarterly), and are used to review performance, make important decisions, create goals, and strategies for the upcoming months. They sometimes provide dinner or other incentives for attending the meetings. They always include the most important people in a company, so it is important that they are planned well.
Any event that has a purpose of raising money for a charity or non-profit is considered a charity event. They can range from lavish galas to a bake sale. They typically try to bring a new level of awareness to the guests that inspires them to help out and donate to whatever organization is hosting the event.
Galas are best described as prom, but for adults. They are typically held to try and raise money off of ticket sales, donations, or auctions held within the event. The standard is to have a grand meal with an open bar. Your main goal is to really WOW the guests.
Auctions can be an amazing way to fundraise! They can be held within other events, virtually, silently, or with an auctioneer. Non-profits will sometimes get items donated for people to bid on, and then keep all of the proceeds made. It is also common to pair with a company like OneCause or Silent Auction Pro to help make the auction run smoothly.
Hosting a sporting event can be an awesome way to raise money! Marathons, biking events, volleyball tournaments, and so many more are used all of the time to get people out and having fun for a good cause. Sometimes people charge for admission, and other times people donate based on how much is accomplished by participants. For example, attendees can sponsor a runner, and for every mile they run, their sponsors must donate $20 to the charity hosting the event.
Although it is a type of sporting event, golf tournaments deserve their own category. There are tons of golf tournaments hosted by corporations and businesses every year to try and raise money or thank their clients. Golf tournaments tend to be more formal than other sporting events, and leave a lot of room for discussion between colleagues as well as with new potential clients. They are pretty easy to plan, and there are several options of software like Golf Registrations that make the planning process even easier.
Pop-Up events are meant to appear as they popped up out of nowhere, and provide a night of the unexpected for whoever attends. They can be extremely helpful when trying to attract a new audience, announce something exciting, or up a company’s brand awareness. They are becoming more popular, and have been done as restaurants, bars, and even concerts.
In simple terms, a festival is a gathering of people to celebrate common interests. The most common are featuring music, beer/liquor, food, etc. They usually attract lots of sponsor/advertisement opportunities, and raise a large amount of money. Be careful when planning these to follow all of the necessary city ordinances, and obtain the proper permits.
Fashion shows can be some of the most intricate events in the corporate scene. They can bring in lots of money, as well as quickly share a product with a large audience, but they require a ton of planning and imagination. Fashion shows are used to introduce a new line from a designer, showcase a piece of fashion history, or show off some pieces being held for auction. They require stage design, models, and sometimes performers all on the production side, as well as accommodations for attendees. They can be a lot of work, but if done right, they can make a huge impression.
A conference is a gathering of individuals to learn and network around a set topic. These are typically held around the same time yearly and tend to generate a repeating audience. They typically include multiple types of sessions and speakers, and sometimes include an exhibit hall.
Summits are extremely similar to conferences. They tend to have a similar structure and agenda, but are reserved for top level executives and the main people of influence within an organization. They are frequently where the big business deals are made.
A seminar is a program structured for the education of the attendees in an interactive way. They typically promote audience engagement and discussion between the attendees and presenter. They typically are smaller than a conference, but larger than a meeting.
Trade shows are a set of exhibitions and installations where businesses in a set industry promote their products and services to the attendees. They can be held on their own, but are also frequently seen in set locations of conferences and summits.
Experiential Events are used as a marketing tool for businesses to interact with potential customers in a real world situation. For example, in order to promote their new “Pool” service, Uber hosted an UberComedy event where they had high end comedians ride in random cars and provide a comedy show to whoever rode in the Uber with them.
A product launch event is used to bring awareness to a new product coming to the market. The company launching the product hosts the event, and goes in with the goal of getting an audience excited about the new product. These can take place within a conference or seminar, or stand alone. They frequently include the opportunity for the guests to test out the product and can include incentives like coupons or early purchasing perks for all attendees.
Networking events help bring together professionals with the intention of making connections and learning more about opportunities to work together. They can be as simple as a gathering in a coffee shop, hosted within a conference, or scheduled on their own in a set rented venue with catering.
Opening Parties are held for the opening of a new business. They are typically done in the style of an “open house”, and are used to bring awareness and community for the public.