In a successfully executed event, there are many moving pieces that need to come together seamlessly. It’s easy to forget different steps or to stray away from the ultimate goals you wish to achieve with your event.
Here is your complete event planning checklist to ensure everything is successful before, during, and after your event.
• Goals: What are your goals for the event? Why are you planning the event? What outcomes are you hoping for? Use our Define Your Goal worksheet to create specific and attainable goals for your event.
• Target audience: One of the most vital pieces of this event planning checklist is to define your target audience for the event. Which audience will help you achieve your established goals by attending your event?
• Budget: While one of the most important steps in the event planning checklist, determining a budget can also be the most difficult. When creating your budget, try to be as detailed as possible and for each item remember to include: the item, description, amount needed, estimated cost, and actual cost. If you need help, here are some tips for creating an event budget.
• Program: Determining your program combines the first three elements of this checklist. You need to create an event agenda that will provide value to your target audience and also allow you to reach your goals for the event. And of course, the pieces of the program need to fall within your budget.
• Speakers: Now that you have your program, you can begin to recruit for speakers. Event speakers can be one of their biggest draws, so make sure you source speakers who are experts in their industry and can captivate an audience.
• Sponsorship: Are you hosting the event alone or will you need to look for sponsors? Allowing space for sponsorship can give your event more reach and give it another dimension of engagement. If you do want to bring on sponsors, make sure to reach out early on in the planning stage.
• Website: Your website can be a simple one-pager with all the necessary information for potential attendees.
• Social media campaigns: A strong way to market your event is through paid social media campaigns. Try using Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Sponsored InMail to people who match the demographics of your target audience.
• Giveaways: Giveaways can be a great way to promote your brand while also promoting your event. Maybe your brand can hold a giveaway of a free event ticket and a branded product as the prize for a competition for your existing email list.
• Press release: Don’t forget about promotion outside of your network and email list. Reaching out to different publications is a great way to market your event to a wider audience.
• Facilities: Another vital step as you move through your event planning checklist is to secure a venue. Again, referring back to your target audience, you need to ensure that the venue will meet their needs and also the needs of the goals of the event. Here are some pieces to take into consideration when choosing a venue for your event:
• Permits: What permits will you need to use the space? How difficult are they to get?
• Number of guests: Take a look back at your goals for the event, will your venue be too large or too small to accommodate the target number of attendees?
• Room design and furniture: What is the vibe you will be creating for your event? Is is more relaxed and casual or more of a formal environment? Knowing this will help you determine which venue is best.
• Parking: Does the venue have enough parking to accommodate the estimated number of attendees?
• Logistics: Will you and your team be able to move in and out all of the equipment needed for the event quickly and without issues? What about music and sound for the different presentations?
• Location: Is the venue in a location that is easily accessible by your attendees? If not, how will you make it accessible?
• Equipment: Before your event make a list of all of the equipment (and backup equipment) you will need to make sure everything runs smoothly.
• Handouts: What will be in the welcome back for each attendee? Will there be different items of different days of the events?
• Gifts: What promotional merchandise will your brand be giving out to attendees? How is it helping your reach your goals and engage with your target audience? Will you have different branded gifts to give out each day of the event? Will your company be holding any giveaways or competitions to engage attendees even further?
Day of the event
• Organise event staff: The morning of the event should begin with a (brief) group meeting with the entire event staff. The purpose of this meeting should get them excited about the day to come and to ensure they know their responsibilities. An event will only run as smooth as its team.
• Set up attendee registration and entertainment space: This is your attendees first impression of the event so you need to set the right tone from the start. The registration space should be clean, professional, and aesthetically appealing to engage event-goers from the get-go. The entertainment space should be already set up and get attendees excited just by walking by.
• Clean up: Your staff will be exhausted by the end of the event but it’s important to respect the venue you used and clean up every piece of the event.
• Thank you letters or gifts to staff and volunteers: The event wouldn’t have been possible without them and you should thank them for all their hard work. A branded gift accompanied with a genuine thank you note can be a good way to communicate this.
• Thank you presentation for sponsors: If your event had sponsors involved, you should prepare a presentation with the final numbers and KPI’s for the event, and what those results mean for those brands.
• Follow up engagement plan with attendees: How will your brand further engage with attendees even after the event is over? The last day of the event should not equate to the last day of a relationship with the attendees.
• Debrief with key stakeholders to review goals and plan for improvements: Upon the completion of the event, you should plan a meeting to discuss with the organization team the following:
• Overall feelings of the event
• Did the event reach your goals?
• What can be improved upon for the next event?