Planning events is one of my favorite things. But it can also be one of the most stressful. That's why you need to be extra-organized and know how to plan accordingly. Here are my 10 top steps:
1. Understand the event: know what the event objective is, what are is it that you are hoping to achieve, who are the guests, etc. Narrow down the importance: message, theme, vibe, time-line, number of guests.
2. Organize a Team: depending on all of the above, you'll need a larger or smaller team to handle all of the details. - venue management - entertainment - publicity - sponsors - volunteer management
3. Set a specific Date. Give yourself enough time! Be aware of statutory and religious holidays, and avoid school holiday time periods (e.g., winter, spring and summer holidays). Check dates with key participants – speakers, presenters, VIP guests, etc.
4. Brand Your Event. - Come up with a dynamic overall theme and find a unique name (which needs to differentiate from other events in your sector). - Create a Tagline – a short, memorable branding slogan that describes the event. - Design a Logo: An effective branding tool.
5. Create a Master Plan: - Venue, logistics & catering management (contracts, permits, insurance, etc.) - Speakers/presenters (identifying, confirming, logistics & management) - Activities/entertainment - Publicity/promotion (online & off-line: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.) - Sponsor/partner management - Volunteer management
6. Determine Administrative Processes: how are you going to keep track of your planning, registration, budget, guest and speakers lists.
7. Identify and Establish Partnerships & Sponsors. Consider seeking corporate sponsors to fund a portion of the event. To provide goods or services, such as flowers for the tables, gift bag items, etc.
8. Create a Publicity Plan to get people in the door.
9. Establish a Budget. It 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? This will depend on your initial event goals and objectives.
Every event is different, and you will always have to go with the flow, but these steps always help me keep organized and have a good “check list” ready to-go!