Maybe you’ve already seen our current easy event planning (click here and here if you haven’t), and are now wondering about how to get started. There’s no reason to be pulling out your hair when planning an event – it all comes down to staying organized and keeping the event goals in mind. Let’s go back to the very beginning of the event planning process and make this easy!CC Image by Wang Shein
P.S. Read to the end for a free, downloadable treat – an Easy Event Planning Worksheet PDF!
Step 1: Answer the “Why” and “What”
Let’s start by answering these two questions:
Why are you holding this event?
What are you hoping to achieve?
Your answers to those questions will help you define your event goals and objectives – these are absolutely crucial to have in mind right from the preliminary stages of event planning.
Step 2: Who?
Put together a stellar team that will help you with the event planning. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – involve and engage your planning team from the very beginning of the planning process. If the size of your team warrants it, consider pinpointing one Event Manager as well as individual chairpersons for each subcommittee (i.e. venue management, entertainment, sponsors, volunteer management, publicity).
Step 3: When?
It’s time to pick a date!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to keep in mind your timeline, as well as statutory and religious holidays, school holidays, and the schedules of your main participants.
Step 4: Branding – Let’s Be Creative!
Now comes the fun stuff – branding your event! Work with your team to find a catchy and dynamic overall theme. Try using these questions as jumping-off points if you’re feeling stuck:
What makes your event unique?
What will attendees gain by being present?
What is the overall purpose of your event?
Once you’ve decided on a theme, try coming up with some event-specific tag-lines, an event logo and even a custom hashtag. These components of the event brand will help your event stand out, be memorable and gain presence on social media. Branding will also help you keep a clear overall vision of the event when deciding on the “big ticket” items.
Step 5: Big Picture Planning
Next, create your master plan. This includes ideas for the venue, catering management, speakers, sponsors, volunteer management and everything else in between. Your master plan should contain all of the “big ticket” items for your event.
CC Image by Tax Credits
Step 6: Figure Out the Dollars and Cents
Put together a budget that includes estimates for all key items on the Big Picture Plan – the venue, guest speakers, catering etc. Having a clear idea of this ahead of time helps your team make smart, informed decisions later in the planning process.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include the travel and accommodations costs for your speaker or presenter if they are from out of town.
Step 7: Organization is Key
Now that you have your budget sorted out, you need to decide how you are going to keep track all of your key information. While you’re at it, keep track of your registration and attendees as well!
Pro Tip: Using Google Docs to stay organized and up-to-date is a great idea. It will allow for easy sharing and updating between your different committees, and definitely beats tedious email chains!
Step 8: Identify and Seek Out Your Partners and Sponsors
Brainstorm ideas for possible corporate and community sponsors. Are there community organizations in the area that share common goals and visions? If so, how can you involve them in your event?
Pro Tip: Reach out early to potential partners and sponsors to avoid disappointment.
Step 9: How Will You Get the Word Out?
This step is pretty self-explanatory but incredibly important: how will you get the word out? Social media, local media channels, and flash mobs – these are all opportunities to spread the word and gain attention and attendees. Don’t leave this to chance though…come up with a plan to ensure a successful event!
Step 10: Determine Your Report Card
Last but not least, it’s time to decide on how you will determine the success of your event. This should be directly related to the goals of the event.
For example, if your event is a fundraiser, and the goal is to reach $10,000 in funds, then your evaluation process should hinge on the amount of funds received.CC Image by reynermedia
We hope this step-by-step worksheet takes the guess-work out of the initial planning stages! Click below to access your free PDF.