4-6 months to go:

Record basic event details

Event planning should begin with between four and six months to go, and the first step is to record basic details such as the event objectives, date, and potential venues.

Record these details using the form fields below.

If you don't know the date for definite, give a rough estimate (or ideal choice) for now.

Arrange a location

Next you need to select and arrange a location for your event. Once you've done this, record your choice using the form field below.

Create a budget

It's time for you to start planning the event, and the first step to doing this is to estimate the costs involved in order to create a budget.

Record the costs and budget using the form fields below, and work through the sub-checklist below for some guidance on the costs you need to include.

  • 1
    Accommodation
  • 2
    Catering (food and drink)
  • 3
    Equipment
  • 4
    Paying speakers
  • 5
    Travel (for speakers too, if provided)
  • 6
    Event staff
  • 7
    Insurance

Appoint event management staff

Now it's time to appoint your event management staff. These people will help you organize and manage the event to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Focus on appointing or hiring an event manager, committee and (if necessary) sub-committees.

Create a publicity plan

Now you need to plan how the event will be publicized. This will take some time to arrange, but once you're finished, upload a copy of the plan to the form field below.

This should include everything from arranging staff and/or volunteers to who will manage media relations, co-ordinate VIPs, design and print promotional materials, handle social media duties, and so on.

Arrange speakers

Make a list of speakers who are relevant to your event and contact them to confirm who would be willing to speak. Record the speakers in the form field below.

Arrange sponsors

Now that you've arranged speakers it's time to do the same for your sponsors. As with speakers, record the sponsors and details of them in the form field below.

3-4 months to go:

Confirm details with speakers

Once they've been given time to arrange the content for their slot at your event, you'll need to meet with them (in person or by phone) and confirm some basic details.

Namely, you'll need to confirm their speaking topic, bio information, photo, travel details, accommodation, and any contracts that will need to be signed.

Confirm financial and admin details

Next, it's time to tackle the financial and administration details of your event.

This should include any registration fees, online registration details (if applicable), sponsorship amounts, and accounting tracking details.

Tackle logistical issues

At this time it also pays to deal with logistical details relating to the venue and event.

This includes any required special permits, licenses, equipment or insurance, details relating to parking, registration, and security.

These details should be cleared with the event manager to make sure that everyone involved knows what's going on.

Carry out the publicity plan

Now it's time to start following through with your publicity plan.

This should include creating a draft script/program, writing/planning publicity pieces, getting sponsor logos, creating physical items like tickets and posters, setting up an event webpage and email list, creating social media posts/pages, promote it on your blog, track and invite VIPs, register the event on online event calendars, and developing a promo video for use on social media and Youtube.

2 months to go:

Send reminders to attendees

Once you have two months to go it's worth sending a reminder to anyone who has already registered or bought a ticket. It's also worth doing the same for your speakers, but consider specializing their message to remind them of what their time slot will be.

Confirm speaker details

It's time to confirm the details of your speakers.

At the very least you should talk over and confirm their travel and accommodation details, but ideally you should get (and review) a copy of their speeches and/or presentations. That way there shouldn't be any chance of undesirable or lackluster content at your event.

Confirm sponsorships

This task is simple - all you have to do is follow up with your sponsors to confirm that your sponsorships are going forwards as planned.

Start publicizing the event

It's time to start publicizing the event!

This means carrying out the initial stages of your publicity plan, which should include tasks such as releasing press announcements, posting the initial news release, and circulating that material to your partners, affiliates, sponsors, speakers, and so on.

1 week to go:

Create a backup plan with your event staff

Once you're closer to the event itself it's worth meeting with your event staff (manager, committee etc) to create and/or confirm a backup plan for your event.

For example, you could prepare backup speakers for if someone is unable to make it, volunteers to help registration go smoothly, a second security plan for alternate situations (eg, if the main exit is blocked), and so on.

Finalize event details

It's time for the hefty task of finalizing the details for your event! Use the sub-checklist below to make sure that you don't forget anything.

  • 1
    Event script
  • 2
    Seating plan
  • 3
    Registration numbers
  • 4
    Registration list
  • 5
    Name badges

Once this is done, remember to send the registration numbers on to the parties who will need them, such as your security team and caterers.

Make copies of event materials

Once the details have been confirmed you need to make copies of the materials for the event (such as scripts, videos, and so on).

These should be stored in multiple locations to make sure that they can always be accessed, so make sure that you have copies online as well as printed out for reference.

Brief staff of their duties

This task is exactly what it sounds like - you need to talk to your event staff (and hosts) and go through their duties and timetables to make sure that they understand what they need to do and when they need to do it.

1 day to go:

Check items are stocked

With one day to go you should be checking that all necessary items have been delivered and put in place ready for the event.

Make sure tables/stages are set

Next it's time to make sure that any tables, stages, and other equipment has been set up in preparation for the event.

Check registration is set up

You're almost ready, but first you should make sure that your registration/sign-in station is ready for action.

Confirm any publicity

If any of the media are supposed to be (or might be interested in) attending it pays to contact them the day before to make sure that they are going to show up.

Remember; this is free publicity on top of what your event is already providing, so every last media appearance is at least worth a call to offer!

Event day:

Make sure you have copies of all relevant information

On the day itself you should have copies of every piece of information which might be useful with you.

For example, you should have copies of the event timetable, floor plan, contact details, guest and seating lists, and so on. Make it a point to familiarize yourself with the VIPs beforehand so that you can make a good first impression.

Get progress reports from your committee

Roughly halfway through the event you should make a point to go through each of your committee members and get a progress reports. This should let you get a good idea of how the event is going and potentially predict (or prevent) any problems which might happen in the second half.

Having said that, you should be keeping in contact with (or at least be readily available for) your committee at all times to make sure that you can react quickly if you are needed to address an issue.

Immediately after the event:

Compile all financial information

Once the event is over it's a good idea to compile all of the resulting financial information and record the actual cost of everything to compare to your budget. Do so using the form field below.

Remember to take into account all receipts, registration numbers, and so on.

Send thank-you letters

Next you should send thank-you letters to everyone involved with the event who wasn't a regular attendant or part of your company.

This should include volunteers, donors, sponsors, speakers, and the media.

Send a post-event survey to attendees

It's worth capitalizing on your event by sending a survey to attendees to assess what their thoughts were and where you can improve.

This doesn't have to be hefty - the fewer questions you ask, the more likely your attendees are to reply.

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