Planning an event for the MSTA may require any (or all) of the documents in zip file below. Please download it and put whatever is necessary to use. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us.
Download Event Planning Files (.zip)
- budget form pg 1.pdf
- budget form pg 2.pdf
- Event Guide JFF-MSTA.doc
- Event Waiver Form.pdf
- MSTA Statement of Responsibility.doc
- REGIONAL EVENT INFORMATION FORM.doc
- SEND BACK THE FOLLOWING ITEMS.doc
MSTA Event Planning Guide
Just-For-Fun and MSTA Sanctioned Events
Revised edition: July 2022
The purpose of this guide- is to provide MSTA volunteers a How-To Guide for planning and organizing event in the two formats that we suggest using. These are for the most part recommendations and suggestions. As an Event Coordinator you should feel free to pick and choose the suggestions that work best for your particular event. Feel free to try your own ideas. The goal of each event, no matter what kind is chosen, should be to provide the attendees with an event that they enjoy, is safe, and meets the ultimate goal of the club: “Bringing together the people, roads, and rides to create sport touring riding experiences and friends for a lifetime.”
TWO EVENT FORMATS TO CHOOSE FROM
1) JUST-FOR-FUN events- are informal gatherings with a location and date, but usually without an agenda, registration, scheduled meetings, or provided meals. No registration fees are charged. Routes may be provided but are not required. Think of a Just-for-Fun event as simply like-minded friends gathering to ride.
2) MSTA-SANCTIONED events- The same basic general procedures regarding a Just-for-Fun apply, with the addition of registration and fee, a formal host hotel arrangement, and GPS routes should be provided. MSTA provided waivers must be signed by all attendees.
GENERAL EVENT PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES
Submit a Regional Event Information Form- This is the very first step if you are contemplating a new event. For returning events, this information needs to be sent to the National Events Coordinator as soon as possible each autumn-. the sooner the better for inclusion in the national events schedule and for promoting your event. In planning, emphasize camaraderie, social time, group dining, and especially RIDING.
1) SECURE A DATE- Event Coordinator finds a date with minimum conflicts with other events, desirable location and accommodations. PLEASE consult with the Executive Committee and/or the National Event Coordinator before settling on an exact date. (email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org) We want to make sure that events are not held in conflict with each other.
PER THE BYLAWS…No MSTA-Sanctioned event may occur with 21 days of the National STAR Rally. Nationally promoted Just-For-Fun events may be allowed IF the EC approves them. (For example, a JFF in California when STAR is held along the eastern seaboard states MAY be allowed but should never be on the exact same dates) See the MSTA Event Calendar. Most regional events are annual, with similar dates so this calendar can be used as a general guide for planning next year’s event dates.
2) SECURE A HOTEL- Contact a local hotel/resort/lodge and secure a block of rooms for attendees. If you need help doing this, contact the EC (email@example.com) or National Events Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) Try using the hotels that we currently have national discount programs set up with (see Blue Book for choices), first. Negotiate a discount rate and don’t hesitate to walk away if the facility won’t work with you. Facilities that include breakfast are usually a plus. Make sure that the rooms will be held for a certain period of time at the discounted rate. Make sure when promoting the event to communicate those rates and dates and hotel contact information to the potential attendees.
3) FIND DINING OPPORTUNTIES- Contact local restaurants and try to secure discounts for event attendees. Let them know that you will be promoting their facility in exchange for the discount. Make sure that this is well communicated in your event preview and on any internet, information sites you put up. Other things that people have done include a pizza party at the hotel or a cook-out at a local park. Use your imagination and ask for suggestions from people planning to attend. Meals shared together bolster a sense of community within the club and are a great way to welcome new members or potential members into the group.
4) CREATE ROUTES- While not required for Just-For-Fun events, most attendees expect and depend on fun routes to ride and want them available in files for GPS use. You will need to create them yourself or get other local people to develop them for you. Once you have created routes, Norm Kern (email@example.com) can provide support for making them into finished, reliable GPX files. (Very few attendees are still interested in paper routes, so you can skip offering them unless you have a very large attendance.)
ADV Routes- If you are not offering adventure routes at your rally, you should consider doing so if it’s an option in your area. Some good ADV routes will attract new people who otherwise would not attend your event. ADV riders tend to be younger, and they make a good addition to your event. Once they discover the other fun people and social features of your event, they will enthusiastic paid MSTA members.
5) MSTA WAIVER—IF money is being collected or route sheets given out- It is essential that all attendees sign and date an MSTA event waiver/statement of responsibility form PRIOR to receiving route information. (Event Waiver Form.pdf) A registration form that has the waiver clearly printed on it, the most direct way to do this. This can be done on-line for those pre-registering or on-site using a paper form.
(22 MSTA Sample Registration Form with Waiver.doc)
6) PROMOTE YOUR EVENT— Set up web pages on the MSTA website/forum, put the event on the club calendar, and promote it through the MSTA national and state websites, Facebook pages, and other social media outlets. Contact the STAReview event preview writer or send your own event preview into the STAReview editor. PROMOTION and COMMUNICATION are key factors in the quest to increase attendance at our events.
7) ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES— No MSTA event money or funds, including event fees, may be used for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. No problem. All you need to have is a good-sized cooler with plenty of ice in it. Put a sign on it: “ABC- Adult Beverage Cooler- Share & Swap Your Favorite Brews” The rest will take care of itself. Everyone has their personal favorite craft beer, and they like to bring it to evening gatherings. Most enjoy sharing and trading with others for a great social time. Expect to have some beer left over after the event.
8) PHOTOS— After your event is over, contact the MSTA National Photo Archivist and have them to set up a folder for your event at Smugmug.com. They will provide a link to view the folder and another to upload photos. Upload your photos and share the links with attendees so they can upload theirs. They can also be uploaded via the MSTA forum in the Members Only section. Do a write up on your event. Send it to the STAReview editor for publication. Post up a report on the MSTA forum and Facebook pages.
9) REGISTRATION/BUDGET FORMS—If money was collected for your event- copies of the completed registration forms must be sent to the National Event Coordinator or the National secretary. These forms will be kept in a file for future reference if needed. This should be done within 5 days of the end of the event. You must also print out and complete Event budget form pg 1.pdf and Event budget form pg 2.pdf, which must be sent with event proceeds, and all receipts for expenses to the Treasurer. The forms enable you to allocate how event profits are to be allocated- general fund, Ride for Kids, Dan Clark Fund, etc.
JUST FOR FUN EVENT-SPECIFIC GUIDELINES AND HOW-TO’S
1) Just for Fun events have no rally fees- so no registration needs be done for the event UNLESS
2) IF you are going to be giving out route sheets or GPS information- then it is essential to have people getting that information sign an MSTA Event Waiver BEFORE receiving that information. A signed waiver/statement of responsibility is your 1st defense against a possible negligence lawsuit. The simplest way to do this is with paper copies of the Event Waiver Form.pdf file.
Much better is to create a registration form with the waiver included on it. Then you collect contact info on your attendees so you can invite them to other events and get-togethers. simply use 22 MSTA Sample Registration Form with Waiver.doc and modify it for your event.
Another option is to offer online registration through https://c.planetreg.com. Use of the site is free if you are not charging a registration fee and not having those registering agreeing to a waiver. In any case, at the conclusion of the event, these forms should be sent to the National Event Coordinator for filing. It is suggested that you also keep a copy for your own records.
MSTA-SANCTIONED EVENT-SPECIFIC GUIDELINES AND HOW-TO’S
MSTA-SANCTIONED events have rally fees and require registration
1) Registration setup- Event coordinator sets up online registration. It is recommended that you use the site PlanetReg (www.planetreg.com). This is easy to set up and use and already has a template that can be used for almost any MSTA event. If you need help with this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will help you set up your registration site.
There is a set cost of 1.00 per registration for MSTA events or can use the formula of .50 + 2% of the total, whichever you choose to use. Make sure that this number is included when calculating your costs. You will also want to have a supply of paper forms available for on-site registration. (On-site registrations are typically about half the number of online registrations.) PlanetReg has a print form function that may suffice for your printed form needs or you can adapt the 22 MSTA Sample Registration Form with Waiver.doc for your event.
Make sure that the current waiver/release form is part of the signup and registration for both types of registration. You can also set up the on-line registration dates to not end until after your event has concluded. This will allow you to do on-site registration via the PlanetReg site and eliminate the need for any paper forms but will mean that you will need computer and internet access at the event registration site.
It is best that you have a personal Paypal account setup. This is free to do. However, if you contact the MSTA treasurer they should be able to set up direct deposits of rally fees to an MSTA Paypal account. OPTION: If the event coordinator prefers to do registration by traditional mail-in forms, payments by check only, they can still do that. At the conclusion of the event all money collected, along with any receipts for expenses must be sent to the treasurer.
An Event Budget Form is used to report budget expenses, money collected, and profit from the event. Event budget form pg 1.pdf and Event budget form pg 1.pdf Print them out and submit the completed forms with money collected to the Treasurer after the event, along with any other paperwork. Make a copy for your own records.
2) Rally Fee Structure- All rally fees should be based on making the event at the very least a break-even proposition. The amount charged will be left up to each individual event coordinator. Some things that should be considered when choosing the amount to be charged are what costs will you have to cover and what do you wish to use the profits (if any) for? With those things in mind, it is suggested that the minimum charged for attendees be 10.00 (9.00 for MSTA sustaining members). Finally MAKE SURE that any rally fees charged will be enough to cover ALL of your costs.
3) Order plenty of wristbands- They make it easy to identify who has paid for registration, signed the waiver etc. Be sure to get some green ones for new attendees so others can recognize, welcome and help them get acquainted. Put them on people when they register/check in. Tear off the number tab and save for the door prize drawing, if you have one. Order wristbands from the National Events Coordinator, who will also send you an MSTA banner to display at your event.
4) Keep registration payments simple- Encourage online registration with payment at the time of registration. Do not allow online registrations to be paid by mailing a check or paying at the event- it’s an invitation for headaches.
Get as many to register online as possible. Then when they show up at the event, all you have to do is check them off the list, hand them an event schedule and put an armband on their wrist.
Those who manually register onsite with a paper form will have to have their contact info hand transcribed later and require more effort for volunteers. Don’t be shy about charging them more.
Keep onsite cash payments simple- charge in $5 increments $10-15-20 etc. so you don’t need to fiddle with $1 bills.
5) How to handle coupons- If anyone asks about using a coupon when they register online, just tell them to pay the online fees and bring the coupon to the event. When it is presented to you, simply give them the coupon amount in cash. You use coupons just like a check or cash when submitting them to the treasurer, so you will be reimbursed. Just make sure the coupon has not expired when you accept it.
6) Hosting the Event ( 4-day weekend example) Event Coordinator decides actual duration and format details)
Thursday- Event coordinator arrives, sets up and opens check-in/registration from 4-6PM for early birds, then go to dinner
Friday morning, check-in/registration 8-9 am, go ride
Friday evening, check-in/registration 4-6 pm, go to dinner with attendees, straggler check-in/registration after dinner while
Saturday morning, check-in/registration 8-9 am, go ride
Saturday evening, go somewhere for dinner together, socialize, return to hotel, do closing ceremony, door prizes etc. if you
Sunday morning, go home
7) List of Supplies/Resources for Registration
• Computer with internet access to PlanetReg event check-in page or a printed check-in sheet
• Laser printer to print additional forms etc. if needed
• Ream of printer paper
• White and Green wristbands
• Scissors to trim wristbands
• Paper Event Registration forms- (estimated number of copies = 40% of online registrations)
• Printed Schedule of Activities to hand out to each attendee – (estimated number of copies = 1.4 X number of online registrations)
• $50 in $5 bills startup money for making change
• Envelope for money
• Envelope for completed Registration Forms
• Envelope for wristband tabs
• Accordian file can be used for all envelope functions.
• ITRs or MSTA membership registration forms- (estimated number of copies = 6)
• Pens- at least a dozen
• Name Tags with holders and lanyards for new people- at least a dozen
• Post at least one printout of MSTA Statement of Responsibility
• Find People to Ride with Forms (FPRWF) (estimated number of copies = 24)
• Printed signage, instructions for FPRWF
• Fine Point black Sharpies to mark FPRWF with (at least half a dozen)
• SWAG table if you have free literature or promotional items to give away
• Cooler with water & Pop- replenish as needed for the duration of the event
• Assortment of snacks- replenish as needed for the duration of the event
Other Event Features & Extras
These are not required, but many coordinators have found them useful and helpful in making events successful.
1) Provided Meal(s)- (No longer required) The requirement was dropped, because some event coordinators found that a provided meal was very hard to arrange at their particular venue. For example, we always had a cookout on Friday night and a Saturday dinner at Fly-By but had to drop it during COVID. We then discovered that most attendees were OK with that, grabbing dinner on the fly on Friday and Saturday and happy to be able to ride later without being obligated for a group dinner time. Not having a provided meal takes a pressure off volunteers and lets them enjoy the rally more as regular attendees. The next option provides the social advantage of group dining, offers variety and lets someone else do the cooking.
2) Dinner Tours- If your event does not have a good selection of restaurants within easy walking distance, consider offering “Dinner Tours.” The idea is that you arrange transportation to a nearby restaurant or group of restaurants so attendees can enjoy a nice meal and adult beverage without having to gear up and ride their bikes in the evening. For some rallies, there may be enough attendees who trailered to the event to provide a carpool. Some hotels have a shuttle. At Fly-By Week we carpool early in the week and hire a shuttle bus for the busy nights. Attendees don’t mind kicking in $5 per night to help with expenses, but this year I was able to get sponsors to pay for our shuttle.
3) Evening Social Gatherings- I attend most of the club’s regional rallies and find if you can set up an area for socializing in the evenings, it’s a very popular feature. Some members enjoy a cigar, so it’s important to have an outdoor space. Plenty of chairs, some tables, some sort of shelter for coverage if it rains is a plus. Most hotels have some extra chairs for outdoors.
4) Refreshments and Snacks- Instead of trying to provide meals, have plenty of convenient snacks- individual bags of chips, cookies, granola bars, peanuts, etc- snacks that can be taken on a ride with no worry about melting or spilling in a tank bag. Coolers with water and pop on ice are important too. Keep them handy and available in the registration room during the day and bring them to the evening social gathering spot after dinner.
For adult beverages in the evening, provide a good-sized cooler with plenty of ice in it. Put a sign on it: “ABC- Adult Beverage Cooler- Share & Swap Your Favorite Brews” The rest will take care of itself. Everyone has their personal favorite craft beers, and they like to bring them to evening gatherings. Most enjoy sharing and trading with others for a great social time. The iced cooler keeps them cold and encourages browsing and sharing. Expect to have some beer left over after the event.
5) Door prizes- Not as popular as they used to be, but always a plus if done right. Most event coordinators designate one or more people to procure door prizes. It’s usually someone who works for a motorcycle dealer and knows some reps that call on the dealer. They can usually come up with enough stuff for a drawing. The key to making door prizes fun is to draw the wristband numbers quickly let winners come up and pick what they want. If you have a few big items save them for last and put all the drawn numbers back in the hat first. Most important- don’t drag out the drawing. If it takes more than ten minutes you either have too many prizes or you’re doing it wrong.
6) T-Shirts- Attendees like quality shirts with nice, screen-printed artwork. Cut off orders at least two weeks before the event so you have time to order and get them delivered. I don’t order any extras and state that up front. If someone doesn’t pick theirs up, (there’s always a few) give the leftovers away as door prizes.
7) Bike Wash- is always popular. It can be very simple- hotels are usually happy to provide a hose, some old towels and wash rags. All you need to provide is soap, a few buckets and maybe some sponges.
My friend Jeremy Riffle helps me with the bike wash at Fly-By Week. He owns a high-end detailing business, so he has a popup with a nice sign that he brings, along with top quality tools and supplies. He loves to clean motorcycles and he helps attendees just about every day. Last year, I got a complaint from an attendee who mistakenly thought he would be charged for Jeremy’s services, so now we have a sign that makes it clear that everything is free of charge. Use money from registration fees to provide quality soap, polishes etc. It shows you care about your attendees, and they remember and appreciate it.
8) Massage- If you have a decent size rally, you might consider getting a licensed masseuse for your event. If you can get someone local who will work with you, the format of free 20-minute mini massages (tips will provide their compensation) with the option for them to book full paid sessions, can work well without costing you anything. We run the sessions in the registration room from about 3-6pm. The mini massages are done fully clothed so there isn’t need for privacy like in the full paid sessions that can be done at other times when registration is closed. Doing the sessions at registration avoids the cost of another room and generates additional interest from attendees who may not be aware of the option.
9) Find People to Ride with Forms- If someone new shows up at an event, meets some regular members and has a good riding with them, they are very likely to attend more events and join MSTA as paying members. The problem is that new attendees don’t usually know anyone yet and have trouble finding others who may be open to having a stranger ride with them.
The new form enables attendees to connect with like-minded riders who are looking for someone to ride with. Answering the questions on the form forces people think about what they want for themselves, making it easier to browse others’ forms. Best of all, the instructions make it clear that it’s each person’s responsibility to reach out to others.
All you have to is print out copies of the form, basic instructions and a bit of signage. Here are the files you need:
The form: 22 FindPeopleToRideWith.pdf
Signage for the table: 22 Find people to ride with instruction sheet.pdf
Bonus: After the event you can look over the completed forms and learn a lot about what attendees, especially new ones, are looking for.
10) The Closing Ceremony- For a sample closing remarks checklist, this covers the important stuff. Sample Closing Ceremony Remarks.doc
AFTER THE EVENT
1) Send copies of the registration forms & Liability Event Release & Indemnity Agreement forms to the National Event Coordinator. These forms will be kept in a file for future reference if needed. This should be done within 5 days of the end of the event. NOTE: on-line registrations using the PlanetReg site can be downloaded for permanent storage.
2) Fill out the Event Budget & Accounting Forms Event budget form pg 1.pdf and Event budget form pg 2.pdf, which must be sent with event proceeds and all receipts for expenses to the Treasurer. If there are expense receipts that you need reimbursement for, include an explanation for them. Make and keep a copy of all forms and receipts for your records. The forms enable you to indicate how event profits are to be allocated- MSTA general fund, Ride for Kids, Dan Clark Fund, or other charity that you choose (with prior EC approval). Keep it non-political please! You can use the disposition of funds as a promotional point in your pre-event advertising.
3) Send ALL coupons collected to the Treasurer. Include them with the items in 4) below and you will be reimbursed for all coupons that not expired.
4) Collected money for deposit- If you have any cash or checks not made out to MSTA that need to be deposited in the MSTA account, please convert them to a bank or personal check payable to MSTA and send everything to the treasurer along with the completed Event Budget forms. Do NOT send any cash.
5) Send all properly filled out and signed new member application forms to the Membership committee. You can use the ITR forms, available from Membership for these. They have the proper address already on them. Put them all in one envelope and mail them together. Please tell new members to allow 4-6 weeks for proper processing. If you need ITR forms, request them from Debbie Todt.
6) Write up an event report for the website/forum/Facebook Page, and the STAReview and either post them or send to the STAReview Editor for publication. (email@example.com)
7) Send out Thank You cards to those who attended, those who helped organize and run the event, the host hotel, and any vendors that may have donated any services or door prizes. make sure you thank them and ask them to return the next year.
8) Clean-up- Make sure that any areas of the hotel that were used for MSTA activities are properly picked up and cleaned up.
Return- all extra forms, banners, MSTA information, etc. are retuned to whom you got them from-. National Events Coordinator, Membership Committee, State Directors, etc.
A Final Reminder About Liability and Waivers
MSTA has devoted considerable time and research over the past years to the liability issue. This has resulted in a Release for Membership and for Events that MUST be used for any MSTA-Sanctioned Event. You can get blank copies from the National Events Coordinator, or you can print your own copies off of the MSTA forum. They can be found in the Downloads Section. This waiver should be included in the on-line registration form. You can also use printed copies for on-site registration. Prior to ANY GPS or Printed routes being given out, you MUST have a properly filled out form in your possession. If someone refuses to sign the form, do NOT give them the routes. It will be left up to the Event Coordinators to either give the non-signer’s rally fee back and ask them to leave, or to keep the fee and allow them to stay. If someone signing up on-site refuses to sign the release, and asks for their rally fee back, don’t argue, just do it. Agreeing to the release should be a part of any on-line registration.
The Statement of Responsibility, 19 MSTA Statement of Responsibility.doc must be printed out and posted at Registration.
The EC. firstname.lastname@example.org
National Events Coordinator.. email@example.com