The following is a generic Event Checklist that will help you get started in identifying all of the details you’ll need to consider as well as an indication of the timelines involved with your event planning process.
Please note that since association and non-profit events can range from a small workshop through to a gala fundraising event, we were not able to drill down to the level of detail you’ll need to consider when planning your event. But we hope this checklist gets you started with your event planning.
High Level Planning: 4-6 Months Ahead of Event *
- Establish event goals and objectives
- Select date
- Identify venue and negotiate details
- Develop Event Master Plan
- Get cost estimates (e.g., room rental, food & beverages, equipment, speaker fees, travel, etc.) and create a budget
- Recruit event committee, event manager or chair and establish sub-committee chairs
- Create and launch publicity plan & brand your event (ensure staff and/or volunteers are identified to manage specific tasks – e.g., media relations, VIP coordination, printed material design & printing coordination, signage, online /social media, etc.)
- Identify and confirm speakers/presenters/entertainers
- Identify and contact sponsors/partners
*start your planning as early as possible.
Immediately following event
While you need to conduct a thorough evaluation and update your budget, there are post-event publicity, fundraising and member development opportunities that you can take advantage of with just a little pre-event planning. Here are some of the activities you might consider once the event is over:
- Financial status: gather all receipts, documentation, final registration data, etc. and update budget
- Send thank-you’s and acknowledgement letters to:
- the Media
In your thank-you notes, be sure to remind the recipients of the event’s success – and how they contributed (e.g., dollars raised, awareness - number of participants, etc.).
- Post-event publicity – see publicity section that follows
- Conduct a Post-Event Survey – to learn what people enjoyed about your event, and where you have room to improve.
- Follow-up Communication with Event Participants
- Reach out to event participants – thank them for participating and promote your ongoing programs and how they can support you throughout the year by joining, volunteering or making a sustaining donation.
- Conduct a thorough evaluation
We hope you found this checklist helpful in getting started with event planning. Use this as a starting point to identify or assign activities to various volunteers or staff; or print this off so you can literally check-off items as they are assigned or accomplished.