New to event planning? Not sure where to start? Worried about overlooking something vital?
We hear you! That’s why we have compiled a comprehensive checklist to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Use our Ultimate Event Planning Checklist at any point of the event planning process to reduce stress and make sure no detail is forgotten.
Start as early as possible
Ideally, you will start the event planning process at least four to six months before your event is scheduled to take place. The sooner you can land on a date, the better! But if you’ve been set a last-minute challenge of organising an event for your company, charity or club, don’t panic – just get to work on the below as fast as you can.
1. Establish your goals and objectives
- What is your event’s purpose?
- What demographic do you hope to attract?
- How many people do you want to attend?
- Do you want to make a profit or raise funds from your event? If so, what’s the target?
- Will tickets be free or charged? How much will tickets cost?
- Where will your event take place?
2. Put together a rough budget
- Download our event budget template
- List all your anticipated revenue streams including sponsorship
- If available to you, borrow figures from past events for a baseline
- Fill in the holes with educated guesses (we’ve collected budget data from organisers that might help)
3. Select a date
- Choose an optimal date and a few back-up options – being flexible will enable you to negotiate a better deal on your venue
4. Choose a location and venue
- What geographic area is best for your event?
- What are your venue requirements?
- Do you want a package deal, minimum spend or dry hire?
- Use a venue finding agency or send out RFPs directly
- Make sure you ask these 8 questions
- Apply for a Temporary Event Notice if you want to use an unlicensed venue
- Make catering arrangements
5. Plan your event content
- Review your goals & audience
- Pick an event format or theme
- Think about topics and sessions
- Plan a rough programme using these event scheduling templates
6. Research speakers, presenters or entertainment
- Start by researching speakers who are experts on your preferred topics
- Compile a list of your ideal speakers using this template
- Reach out directly or via a speaker bureau
- Contact an entertainment agency to research entertainment
7. Start your sponsor search
- Determine what kind of activations you can offer
- Research sponsors who’ve partnered with similar events to yours
- Compile a list of your ideal sponsors
- Research what similar events are charging for sponsorship packages to determine the market rate
- Structure a sponsorship proposal with this template
Three months out: Planning the nitty gritty
Once you get your event sketched out, you need to keep your budgets updated with the latest estimates and quotes. It’s best practice to create 12-week, 6-week, 1-week and Flash (on the day) forecasts. It flags up any dips in revenues, takes into account any unanticipated costs and highlights any unforeseen issues that were not apparent during the initial planning stages.
8. Finalise content
- Confirm your event line-up and timings
- Finalise speaker or performer contracts and check any riders that may appear
- Get speaker or performer bio information and photos
- Arrange speaker or performer travel and accommodation
9. Set up your event registration
- Choose your ticketing or registration technology
- Devise ticket types and prices
- Write some great copy for your event page
- Customise your event page
- Publish your event
10. Begin to promote your event
- Create a communications plan or use this pre-filled event marketing template
- Utilise any of these 75 free event promotion ideas
- Create promotional videos
- Pay for ads on Facebook or LinkedIn
- Run a discount or special offer
11. Finalise venue details
- Work with the caterer on approving a menu
- Secure A/V equipment
- Draw up health and safety plan
- Get event insurance in place
- Determine event signage required
Two months before: Finalising details
Your event is in sight and the days feel like they’re flying by. Here’s what you need to keep top-of-mind two months before your event.
12. Send reminders
- Make sure you have everything you require from speakers, sponsors and vendors
13. Push promotions to meet your sales goals
- Monitor your real-time ticket sales
- Use data reports to understand your most effective marketing tactics
14. Contingency plan
- Think about anything that could go wrong on the day and draw up a plan-B
15. Order printing
- Sign-off on any artwork for event programmes, brochures, banners or signage
One week before: Tying up loose ends
In the week leading up to your event, there’s a lot of last-minute wrangling to be done. Here’s what you need to keep track of to stay on top of your to-do list.
16. Email attendees
- Send joining instructions to attendees
17. Touch base with all vendors
- Confirm final attendee numbers
- Communicate attendee dietary requirements to caterers
- Confirm timings
18. Contact speakers
- Get sign-off on speech scripts
- Obtain final presentations/slides
19. Share important documents
- Create a run sheet for the day
- Share a contact list
- Make sure the team has the latest budget
The day before
20. Visit venue
- Access venue to set up (if possible)
- Hold rehearsals
21. Prepare registration desk
- Print attendee list
- Print attendee badges
- Prepare devices with Eventbrite Organiser app for attendee check-in