Planning an event, whether big or small, can be an extremely stressful process. So stressful, Career Cast put it at a whopping number five for the top most stressful jobs in the US. In order to ease the headache, typically associated with the event planning process, we’ve put together a step-by-step checklist for you to follow. Keep in mind that this checklist may not have all of the details relating to your event so make sure you brainstorm any unique necessities specific to the kind of event you’re hosting.
Our event checklist will serve as a super valuable tool that not only keeps you on track but should prevent any snags or slips in the entire process. You will also find that each step is from a bird’s eye view - take a deeper dive and jot down any ideas that come to mind!
Although these categories may not identify all areas of attention for your event, they should keep you organized and moving towards a super successful event.
Once you realize you have an event to plan - START planning! I promise you, the sooner you get the ball rolling, the better. Worst case scenario: You don’t jump the gun and instead sit and let the idea marinate until boom… it’s cram time and your head is just about ready to explode. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you try to plan this event last minute.
So, let’s get started!
BEFORE THE EVENT
- Define the purpose of the event
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What do you want the attendee(s) to experience?
- What do you want the key takeaways to be?
- Who is your target audience?
- How many people do you wish to host?
- What will the entry or ticket fee be?
- Are you hoping to make money or donate profits?
- Financial Planning - establish an accurate budget
- Allocate areas of financial attention
- What is most important to the overall success of the event?
- Don't be cheap, but be frugal and strategic in spending?
- Are there ‘do it yourself’ items or potential event equipment
- Weigh the pros and cons of renting versus purchasing
- How will attendees get to your event?
- Will you provide transportation?
- Is this included? Do you need to coordinate parking/valet with the venue?
- When is the event taking place?
- Save the date
- Check the calendar for holidays and other conflicting dates
- Select a venue, location or sponsor host
- What venue/location is central to most of your attendees? (think convenience to big cities, airports, hotels etc.)
- Do you have a sponsor that could potentially host the event?
- Find sponsors
- Research, research, research
- Look at similar events to yours and see what kind of sponsors they had
- What would an ideal list of sponsors look like?
- Offer different sponsorship packages to attract a wider range
- Still having trouble? Click here to learn more about finding the perfect sponsor for your event
- Anyone hungry?
- Will you have food at the event?
- If so, you will need health department paperwork and/or a catering company that will have such documentation
- Someone’s got to clean…
- Research cleaning companies and see if the venue might offer a crew for an additional charge
- Marketing + Social Media
- Create a marketing plan or loop in your marketing team to ensure you have proper resources and even some branded swag!
- Do you have a website?
- If so, plan to create an info page
- If not, try a few free websites that are easy to create
- Use all social platforms to boost news about the event
- Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- Outline time, baby!
- How long do you want the event to last?
- Re-define the goals you established in step (1)
- Put together a timeline for the event (hour by hour) designating time for networking, speakers and any presentation or spotlights you may have
- This outline can be tweaked down the line but you need to have this in the works to get a pulse on the structure of the event
- How are attendees going to register for the event?
- Paper forms or Streamlined online registration?
- Click here to check out an all-in-one registration platform
- What questions will be on the form?
- Do you plan to sell any event related merchandise with registration?
WEEK BEFORE THE EVENT
- Confirm venue, speakers, caterers, cleaning company etc.
- Run through the outline with your team and staff
- Set clear expectations with the hosts, attendees, and staff
- Send out reminders to attendees
- Have all marketing material ready to rock
DURING THE EVENT
- Set up a registration booth
- Create an easy flow with clear signage directing attendees where to go
- Huddle up with your team
- Pulse check different stations
- Engage with all guests
AFTER THE EVENT
- Send out thank you notes
- Send a survey to both attendees and sponsors
- Check-in and see how you did with the budget
- Follow up with more marketing material and post success stories
GO GET EM’
Without using such template, you may get scatterbrained, forget important details which will lead to an unsuccessful event. If you follow such a template or at least use it as a guideline I guarantee your event will be much more aligned with your hopes and dreams.
Catering for an event can get overwhelming, check out these Components of a Successful Catering Invoice.