How to Plan an Event
It’s no secret that Event Planners have the most stressful jobs … just because you planned a kid’s 3rd birthday party with 50 guests and the greatest hits, does not make you the next Master Event Planner.
From planning World Cups, CD Launches and High-Profile Galas including Celebrity guests, a recent Event included NBA guest appearances. I have had occasions where people RSVP’d and not one guest pitched. Yet we have never failed to have the most memorable experiences.
Before you plan your next Event, read this:
- Develop Event Goals and Objectives
The very first step is to establish a tangible goal and objective. (e.g. why are you organizing this event and what do you hope to achieve?)
- Organize a Team
Any event takes a concerted team effort to handle all the details. Consider identifying one key Event Manager as well as individual Chairpersons for subcommittees, such as:
- Set a Date
Be sure to consider the following:
Give yourself enough time! Ideally, you should have 4-6 months to plan (depending on the nature of your event);
Be aware of religious holidays and standard Events on calendars;
Check dates with key participants (e.g. speakers, presenters, VIP guests, etc);
Changing dates after guests RSVP’d can tarnish credibility unless it’s due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Brand Your Event
If you want your event to stand out, you need to choose a timely and compelling theme that sets you apart. This means that you need to come up with a dynamic overall theme, especially with Social Media. Once you’ve come up with a name, also try to stick with a tagline (e.g. a short, memorable branding slogan that describes the event).
- Create a Master Plan:
This plan should encompass all aspects of the event, including:
Venue, logistics and catering management (contracts, permits, insurance, etc.)
Speakers / Presenters (identifying, confirming, logistics and management – an MC / Speaker can make or break the Event)
Activities / Entertainment
Publicity / Promotion (online and off-line; web page; events calendars; printed programs; media relations; signage; social media, etc.)
Registration (online sign-up, payment and tracking; on-site sign-in, etc.)
Sponsor / Partner management
- Determine Administrative Processes
In other words, how are you going to keep track of your planning, registration, budget, guest and speakers lists?
- Identify and Establish Partnerships and Sponsors
Are there organizations that you could partner with or call on for sponsorship to defray 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.
- 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. No plan is complete without the post-event thank-you’s, sponsor acknowledgements and articles about the Event’s key messages or success.
- Establish a Budget
Your budget should incorporate estimates for all the key items identified on your Event Master Plan. Don’t forget to include any travel or accommodation costs for speakers, presenters, etc.
- 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.