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How to Plan a Community Event in North Carolina

Fundraisers, luncheons, beach cleanups, concerts, festivals, and more: When it comes to planning a community event the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, the work that goes into organizing these events seems endless at times too. From finding the right spot, to making sure you have plenty of restrooms and trash cans to keep the event clean, here’s what you need to know about how to plan a community event. 

Picture of a large crowd at a concert for the blog about how to plan a community event in NC.

Step-By-Step Guide On How to Plan a Community Event

If you’ve never planned a public event, the to-do list may look impossible. But if you break each milestone into separate categories and address them one-by-one, what was once overwhelming is now getting done. At Wall Recycling we’ve supplied portable toilets and dumpsters for thousands of events across North Carolina – and this is what we’ve gleaned from witnessing the planning process.

1. Make a Budget

Mapping out your budget at the very beginning of your planning will give you an idea of how much you are able to spend on each aspect of your event. Consider what your top priorities are, and what you would like to invest the most money into. 

Potential costs include:

  • Venue
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Decor
  • Marketing 
  • AV Equipment 
  • Portable restroom rentals
  • Clean up and dumpster rental 

This is also a good time to determine if and how you might make revenue from the event. You might opt for a sponsorship model, sales of merchandise, food, and beverages, or donations. 

Build the Guest List

This step goes hand-in-hand with budgeting, as the number of guests and capacity of your event will determine the overall cost. Small events may be held at your local park, or even at a local business in exchange for a small fee or publicity. Larger events might require a space to be rented, and may even require a permit or license which can increase the cost significantly. 

Once you have the ideal size, you can narrow down your guest list, send out invitations or community bulletin, and get on with planning. 

Find Your Venue

Securing your venue might require some legwork, but once you have it reserved you can pin down many of the other aspects of the event. 

If you opt for a public venue like a park or community center, you’ll likely need to apply for the space or reserve it by going through a council or the city. This is especially true if you are considering throwing a street or block party, as you need permission to close off a road, and emergency vehicles will still need to be allowed through. 

If you’re thinking of reserving a private venue, do some research to find one that will safely fit your guests, vendors, and provide ample space and the right setup for your entertainment. 

Secure Waste Management Services

From portable toilets to trash bins, you need to make sure your event has plenty of restrooms, garbage cans, recycling bins, and dumpsters. You don’t want to make your guests wait in long lines for a porta potty. You also don’t want to see trash thrown around because there aren’t enough trash cans or dumpsters available to your guests.

How Many Portable Toilets Per Person?

How many portable toilets should you provide for your event? At a bare minimum, provide at least one portable restroom per 50 people. For 50 to 100 people, provide two porta potties. As a rule of thumb, provide one porta potty per 50 guests. You also need to provide ADA compliant, or wheelchair accessible, toilets.

The duration of the event and whether or not there are alcoholic beverages being served also impacts the number of toilets you need to rent. Remember, you want guests to enjoy the event – not remember being stuck in a long line to use the porta potty.

At Wall Recycling, we offer different options for porta potty rental in North Carolina:

  • Standard (our most popular)
  • Wheelchair accessible / ADA compliant
  • Portable handwashing station
  • Holding tanks

We drop off your portable toilet rentals and retrieve everything once your event is finished.

How Much Trash Will Your Event Produce?

How much trash your event will generate is a different matter. This depends on whether you’re serving food and drinks at the event. If you are serving food and beverages at your event, you can use the formula below to get a rough estimate as to how much waste your event will generate – and how many dumpsters you need to rent:

# of attendees x # of meals = estimated pounds of waste

At Wall Recycling, we offer 10, 15, 20, and 40 yard dumpsters for rent. Our 10 yard dumpsters can handle up to 2 tons of trash. Call us to find out which dumpster is best suited to handle the garbage at your event.

Picture of Wall Recycling's dumpster rentals for events in North Carolina.

Find Out What Licenses You Need

While small community events are unlikely to need many expensive licenses, there still may be some you need to secure. For instance, you may need one to conduct certain raffles, play recorded music, or have live performances at the event. 

Find Vendors and Sponsors

A great way to spread the word about your community event and engage local businesses is to reach out to them first when looking for vendors and sponsors.

Vendors are most commonly known as those who provide food at a community event, but in recent years more and more events have opted to have local businesses selling more than just food: vintage clothing, homemade crafts, and art are among the most popular. 

Sponsors are those who fund your event in exchange for publicity and advertising, creating a mutually-beneficial arrangement. 

Enlist Volunteers

No one can do it all alone, and enlisting the help of your friends, family, and fellow community members is a great way to get everyone on board and get your event together quickly. 

Small events typically don’t require a ton of staff, but between eight and ten people per every 100 guests is a common rule of thumb.

It’s a good idea to have volunteers in the following areas:

  • Set up and break down 
  • Parking 
  • Entrance 
  • Any raffles or giveaways
  • Food booths
  • Merchandise booths

Consider Health and Safety

For the benefit of both your peace of mind and your attendees safety, take steps in advance to be sure you are prepared for contingencies. 

Make sure you are not exceeding the capacity of your venue, and that you have a good idea of where emergency exits are located. It may also be helpful to have an emergency plan, and crowd control staff if there will be lots of people attending or a ton of foot traffic. 

Go through a health and safety checklist long before the actual day of your event, so nothing catches you by surprise. That includes considering: 

  • Tripping hazards
  • Overcrowding 
  • Staff safety and OSHA compliance 
  • First aid or emergency services
  • Plans for inclement weather 
  • Renting trash cans or dumpsters to keep the area clean
  • Setting up public restrooms or porta potties 

For large events you may need to contact the local police and fire departments before the event. Depending on the capacity, you may even be required to have a medic present in case of emergency.


This may be last on the list, but it certainly shouldn’t be last on your list of priorities. Advertising is absolutely necessary for getting the word out about the event, and in turn for making it a successful one. 

You can opt for just one method of advertising, but most event planners recommend taking advantage of a few different channels to spread the word. That includes:

  • Social media
  • Print marketing 
  • Digital media

Social media is the simplest—and often the most affordable—place to start, with the potential for a wide reach with little investment. Utilize multiple platforms to maximize the effect, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. Make sure to share the post or stories several times a week in the months leading up to the event, and share the link to register or link to the events webpage if there is one. 

Print marketing may require more of an initial investment, but it makes even more of an impact. Whether it’s an advertisement in a local newspaper or magazine, a poster, or a flier, print can make your message more memorable. 

Call Wall Recycling for Waste Management Services in North Carolina

There are plenty of to-dos on the list when it comes to planning a community event, but Wall Recycling can help you get things done. From Wilmington to Raleigh and beyond, Wall Recycling has both porta potty rentals and dumpster rentals to keep your guests comfortable and your venue clean no matter how wild things get. 

Give us a call today to learn more about how Wall Recycling makes putting on an event easier!