Planning a memorable event can often seem
like a daunting task. Be it a meeting, a birthday party, a large conference or even your wedding, there are so many things to do it’s hard to know where to start.
Fear not as we have brainstormed over the last few days
and have come up with this ‘Ultimate Event Planning Guide’ to help kick start
your next big event in 10 easy steps.
#1 - Goals & Objectives
It might seem obvious but one of the most
important elements of organizing an event is to consider what the end goal is.
Every event will have different objectives that the organizers are hoping to
achieve. Once these are nailed down, it will help you focus your efforts and
will help you communicate with your events team more effectively.
Sit down and ask yourself, “What exactly am I
hoping to achieve with this event?” Your event goals should outline the general purpose of your event and will
provide a clear road map for the planning process while your event objectives
will be measurable attainable targets that contribute to the accomplishment of
the overall goal.
#2 - Assemble a Team
In most cases planning an event can be a lot
of stress and work for one person. Having more people to help out with ideas, plans
and tasks can save both time and money. If you’re on a smaller budget try
reaching out to family or friends who might volunteer to lend a helping hand. You
can thank all volunteers after the event and offer to return the favour in the
Good team members with different skills will
be vital for the events success. Think about what value each member can bring
and where their skills could be most useful. Always be prepared to
delegate responsibility for some of the tasks involved, and try to position
yourself more in a “coordinating” role. A great new site to
try out is ‘EventDawn’ which is essentially an
online Binder for event organizers where you can easily invite team members to collaborate.
#3 - Select a Date
This step is often over-looked and we feel
event organizers really don’t spend enough time carefully considering the
perfect date for their event.
Selecting a date for an event can have a big
impact with regards to the number of people who attend. You will want to be
sure that another similar event does not hinder your turnout and be sure to
check online for conflicting events such as major sports games, music concerts
or religious or national holidays. You can also use sites like Doodle or agreeAdate to decide on what date suits the most people.
#4 - Prepare a Budget
“Budgeting has only one rule: do not go over budget!” - Leslie Tayne.
Creating a budget for an event is an essential
part of the planning process as it will have a huge impact on the rest of the
planning steps. The budget is the starting point for other areas of development
like venue hire, speakers, entertainment, catering services and all other
aspects of event management. Having a set figure in mind will make for easier
and more realistic planning.
It's easy to make elaborate plans when you
sit and daydream about planning an event. Having a budget will keep things in perspective.
When making a budget, try and be as accurate and conservative as possible. Research
and examine all of your budget items and their associated costs.
There might be a huge difference in price
between the estimated cost and the actual cost of an item. You don’t want to have to abandon any aspect
of your event due to poor budget estimates. Shop around for the best available
prices. This will help you from not going over budget and ensure you don’t any
waste time. To help you plan your budget you can use tools like EventBudget or the Super Planning App.
#5 – Think about funding options
Partnerships & sponsorship
Once you have drawn up the initial budget,
you can decide whether you can afford the cost of your event or whether you
need sponsors or donors to make things work. Try to identify and establish
possible partnerships with local businesses or organizations. These partnerships
could help with funding, aid with marketing or they may simply be able to provide
free resources for your event.
Crowd sourcing is becoming more and more
popular in the events industry and will help ease the financial risk. Creating
a crowd sourcing campaign will allow people to sponsor or donate small or large
sums of money towards your event. You can provide different rewards to
incentivize donations such as free social media promotion, free event entry or
even just a thank-you card! Once your event has reached its target monetary
goal, you can then begin planning the event. Some event crowd sourcing websites include: CrowndsUnite, GoFundme and Kickstarter.
#6 - Find a venue
When it come sot finding the perfect venue
for your event there are a lot of things to consider. You will want to make
sure your chosen venue is either close to public transport and in an accessible
location or else is able to provide a lot of parking for event attendees.
Think about the type of event you are organizing
and then think of all the type of venues available to hire such as stadiums,
museums, night clubs, smaller unique venues or hotels and conference centers.
Work out how many attendees you plan on inviting and ensure your chosen venue
can accommodate that number of people in the style you are looking for. If you are looking to save time and energy
while searching for the perfect venue, you can use our online booking system here.
#7 – Brainstorm an event plan!
The event plan should include all the nitty
gritty details. A brainstorming session with team members will help form ideas
and get the creative juices following. Members can separate the good ideas from
the bad ideas, and in doing so take you will find yourself a step closer to
executing the events goals and objectives.
Really identifying and focusing on your
target audience is critical in this step. Try and look at your event from their
perspective. Ask yourself these
questions like, “Why would people want to come to this event?”,
“Why would they be interested?”, and “How will my event provide a valuable
experience?” Be sure that your event plan answers these questions. Some
great brainstorming apps to help with your event plan include SimpleMind, Grapholite and Mindomo.
#8 - Create an event checklist
This will be your road-map to success. Once
you have brainstormed an overall event plan and know what type of experience you
wish to give your attendees, it’s time to create a checklist. Break down all of
your ideas into actionable steps and try to be as thorough and detailed as
possible so not to cause confusion.
Here are some
examples of tasks for your event checklist:
hiring tasks - contracts, deposit, insurance, availability
management - availability, rental fees
tasks - website creation, social media, radio promotion
tasks- rental fees, duration, availability
tasks - cost, location, availability
management - Negotiate terms, arrange funding, collect supplies
#9 - Promote your event
Even if you’re planning the most spectacular
event of the year you’ll still need to make sure the public and specific groups
know about it. There’s a number of ways to go about marketing your event to the
world so it’s important to choose which methods are best for you.
Social media channels are an excellent way to build a buzz and create excitement. They allow event
organizers to keep people informed with announcements and pictures of what’s to
be expected leading up to the event. In addition, you can also use your social
media presence to answer any questions and provide any customer support to
attendees or the media.
Be sure to set up a Facebook event page which
you can then pay to promote to a targeted audience on Facebook. You can also promote
your event across all other social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
Think of a unique hashtag that can be used on Twitter while promoting the event
and on the day. You can also create a promotional video which you can upload to
Vimeo or YouTube to show the highlights from previous events you have
organized. You can also use sites like EventBrite to further promote and sell tickets to the event.
Don’t forget old-school media when looking for promotion for your event. Local
newspapers and radio stations are always looking for content and will often
promote your event for free.
#10 - Following up
Just because your event has finished doesn't
mean that the buzz has to stop. This is where we can highlight the memorable
and special moments of the event. This
step will also allow you to engage with your audience and receive feedback,
thank all attendees and speakers for attending, and most importantly provide a
post event narrative capturing all of the highlights of the event with the aim
to further maximize the impact of the event.
More importantly, if you’re planning on organizing
a similar event in the future, it’s important to gather feedback on what worked
well and what areas of the event could be improved. Encourage attendees to
provide feedback through online surveys or in person.
A simple thank you or follow up email can
effectively express the much deserved gratitude for speakers, sponsors and key
contributors to the event that made it a success. In addition to this, a thank
you email can also strengthen the relationships of key contributors for future
We can also collect any videos, pictures and
comments posted on social media throughout the event and incorporate them into
future posts. Storify is an excellent resource for easily bringing
all of the elements together in a post.