Autumn is upon us, but there will be no let up in your event calendar. Here are our 10 tips to help guide you through planning for any up coming events and hopefully making life that little bit easier!
Please note: We hope the following provides a starting point for your event planning. Each event is different, but following the basic steps will ensure a smoother set up with less hidden surprises along the way!
1. Develop Event Goal and Objectives:
The very first step is to establish a tangible goal and objectives. (e.g., why are you organising this event and what do you hope to achieve?)
2. Organise a Team
Any event takes a concerted team effort to handle all of the details. Consider identifying one key Event Manager or Event Chair as well as individual team roles for larger events, such as:
3. Set a Date
The date might already be pre-set for a reoccurring event, but if this is a new event, be sure to consider the following before firming up your date:
Give yourself enough time! Ideally, you should have 4-6 months to plan (depending on the nature of your event)
Be aware of statutory and religious holidays
Avoid school holiday time periods (e.g., winter, spring and summer holidays)
Check dates with key participants – e.g., speakers, presenters, VIP guests, etc.
4. Should You Brand Or Have A Theme For Your Event
If you want your event to stand out, you need to choose a timely and compelling theme that sets you apart from your competition. This means that you need to come up with a dynamic overall theme and you need to take great care with the actual name – since it can be a key attention-getter, especially in online media.
5. Create a Master Plan:
This plan should encompass all aspects of the event, including:
Venue, logistics & catering management (contracts, permits, insurance, etc.)
Speakers/presenters (identifying, confirming, logistics & management)
Publicity/promotion (online & off-line, e.g.,: web page & online promotion; events calendars; printed programs; media relations; signage; social media, etc.)
Registration (online sign-up, payment and tracking; on-site sign-in, etc.)
6. Determine Administrative Processes
In other words, how are you going to keep track of your planning, registration, budget, guest and speakers lists, etc.?
Make sure your Event Manager or team are on the case regards all of the above aspects. Always be prepared for a last minute change from suppliers or attendees!
7. Identify and Establish Partnerships & Sponsors
Are there organisations that you could partner with or call on for sponsorships to spread the costs and increase potential participation? When you involve other people or groups in your event, they have a stake in helping spread the word and making the event a success.
You might want to consider:
Seeking corporate sponsors to fund a portion of the event. This can range from national organisations that might want to sponsor a dinner, offer a door prize or a key silent auction item, to local businesses that might be able to provide goods or services, such as flowers for the tables, gift bag items, etc.
Partnering with community organisations who might be able to offer a venue and/or assistance with organising or staffing an event
8. Create a Publicity Plan
Even with the most amazing speaker or entertainment line-up, you need publicity to get people in the door. Event promotion starts with the initial notice or page on your website, note in your newsletter or email to save the date, and then builds to include online and off-line publicity, media relations and on-going outreach to encourage attendance. And no plan is complete without the post-event thank-you’s, sponsor acknowledgements and articles about the event’s key messages or fundraising success.
9. Establish a Budget
Your budget should incorporate estimates for all of the key items identified on your Event Master Plan. Don’t forget to include any travel or accommodation costs for speakers, presenters, etc.
10. Determine Evaluation Process
How will you determine if your event is a success? Do you measure success by the number of registrants or attendees or is it dependent on you breaking even or raising a target amount in donations?
When you set your initial event goals and objectives, you should also consider how you will evaluate the event to determine your success.
For more advice on all things Event Planning, or to discuss ways in which we can help with your events - firstname.lastname@example.org
on your initial goals.