The Definitive Event Planning Checklist

30 January 2014

Written by Jack Meredith

event checklist

This event planning checklist serves as a great starting point for anyone that is in the beginning stages of organizing an event. At Ticketbud, we know that events come in all shapes and sizes so feel free to tweak this checklist to your specific needs. Look at this as an event planning template to help kickstart the process.

Before we dive into it, below are a few motivational thoughts to establish the right mindset for you to jump right into the planning process.

  • Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything. You might have the greatest idea for your event but it means nothing if you don’t take action. No one remembers the person that had 100 unique event ideas. Everyone remembers the organizer who took the risk and put together an amazing event.
  • Don’t let fear stop you from doing. Planning an event can be hard. Especially if it is your first time doing it. Don’t let those initial fears and hesitancies stop you from diving into the planning process. Be confident in your abilities to pull it off and lean on your team for support. Acknowledge your fears and keep executing. There’s nothing stopping you.
  • Stop consuming and start planning. You can only read so many guides and party planning checklists like this one. The experts in the event space provide some great tips but don’t spend the majority of the time reading what we have to say. Start planning now and revert back to consumption only when needed. You’ll do more awesome stuff because of it.

How to plan your event

4-12 Months Before Event Date

  • Determine the identity of your event and what you want to achieve by organizing it
  • Select a date
  • Choose a location/venue that is available on the date you’ve selected
  • Determine expenses and projected revenue
  • Create an event budget based on above projections
  • Organize your team. Find the right people and assign roles and responsibilities.
  • Establish a master agenda and timeline
  • Create and launch marketing plan
  • Contact and determine speakers/entertainment/vendors
  • Research and contact sponsors/partners

3-4 Months Before Event Date

  • Take care of your speakers/entertainment/vendors
    • sign contractual agreements
    • get bio information and professional photo (for speakers/entertainment)
    • arrange for travel/lodging
    • gameplan presentation topics and/or performances (introduce speakers if part of group discussion)
  • Venue/Location Logistics
    • meet with venue management to review permits, licenses, security, limitations etc.
    • gameplan on-site registration setup, parking, equipment, layout etc.
  • Determine your registration pricing and setup online event registration
  • Determine sponsor tiers and create collateral to send to prospective sponsors/partners
  • Marketing Plan
    • Determine channels to allocate your marketing budget towards
    • Create content to supplement your marketing channels (blog posts, ad copy, design assistance, radio/tv commercials,PR copy)
    • Create invitations, programs, posters etc.
    • Curate media list to reach out to and prepare media kit materials
    • Setup social media accounts for event promotion
    • Gather speaker/sponsor image assets to add to your website
    • Integrate event registration into your website
    • Push event to event listing websites
    • Supplement marketing efforts through promotional discounts

1-2 Months Before Event Date

  • Send invitations to contact list
  • Finalize sponsorship and partners
  • Verify status for all speakers and entertainment
  • Confirm participation from all vendors
  • Circulate press releases to all media list and affiliates
  • Continue marketing cycle and make any adjustments when needed

1 Week Before Event Date

  • Conduct final site-walkthrough with venue and team
  • Review master agenda and finalize back-up plan
  • Brief team members/volunteers/contractors on responsiblities and timelines
  • Provide registration numbers to vendors/sponsors/partners
  • Make copies/data backups of all presentations, videos, materials etc.

Day before Event

  • Confirm venue setup is complete
  • Confirm registration tables are prepared and stocked
  • Confirm all signage is setup properly

Day of Event

  • Check in with team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page
  • Check registration area and make sure those involved understand the check-in process
  • Keep tabs on master agenda and make sure your attendees are having a great time

Post Event

  • Break down venue and clean up
  • Review budget with updated revenue and expense #’s after collecting all financial data
  • Send acknowledgements to all of those who helped make your event a success
    • Include post-event data to ensure their participation for next time
  • Reflect with team on your event’s successes and how you can make the planning process smoother
    • Leverage attendees by conducting post-event surveys and reaching out to see what you can improve on
  • Set initial date to kick off planning for your next event
  • Ben

    Great article!

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