Planning an event but unsure how to start the process? We’re here to help. One of the most powerful event planning tools is an oldie but a goodie - the humble checklist. Below, we share our how to plan an event checklist, making event planning a little bit less stressful.
What are the benefits of using a checklist?
In a world where we are ever optimising our management techniques, utilising the latest technology and fancy new management buzzwords, sometimes it is easy to forget the simplicity of something like a ‘checklist’.
As a former pilot wrote in an article for CBS, flying a plane is one set of tasks that is highly automated and subject to rigorous systems. However, an estimated 10% of plane crashes since 2000 were the result of not having enough fuel. A mistake that, as he explains, could have easily been avoided with a simple pre-flight checklist!
We aren’t saying that planning an event is as complicated as flying a plane (even though sometimes it might feel that way), but this anecdote goes to show that a checklist can save a lot of pain.
Our checklist, in summary, is:
- Develop a checklist template
- Set goals
- Develop an event plan
- Create a budget and start researching
- Book venues, potential influencer and celebrity guests
- Create a brand identity and an event mood board
- Ensure you have all licenses and permits
- List your event and start selling tickets
- Confirm, confirm, confirm!
1. Use a template
When you sit down to write a template, brainstorm the most typical tasks that you need to undertake. It’s also a good idea to assign a timeline to these tasks. What needs to happen three months ahead of time, one month ahead of time, and one week before the event?
2. Set goals for the event
Knowing the reason you are hosting this event will help inform the rest of the checklist, including what tasks you will need to complete and which won’t be relevant to this particular event. For example, if it is a virtual event [link to blog on event ideas 0014].
We suggest the following tasks as a starting point:
- What is the purpose of this event?
- What are your goals?
- When will the event take place?
- Who is your ideal attendee?
- What are some possible venues?
For more hints like this, check out our blog on planning a successful fundraising event.
3. Develop an event plan
This step will probably need to happen at least three months before the event start date. This step is all about turning those ideas and goals into small, concrete actionable steps. This can include assigning different tasks to different people and getting clarity on responsibilities.
4. Create a budget and start researching cost estimates
A starting point is how much money you have to spend, and what the ideal ticket price will be. Once you have worked that out, it is time to start researching and developing a comprehensive set of cost estimates.
Some of the most common things you’ll need to cost:
- Venue hire
- Food and drinks
- Seating and other equipment
- Hiring staff for the night, including security
- Internal cost (planning takes time and resources!)
- Any guest speakers
- Marketing budget [link to blog on marketing 0001]
- Insurance and and any permits or other license fees
5. Book venues, potential influencers, and speakers
Once you have worked out a budget and got your ideal plan together, get everything booked with plenty of time to spare. It’s also a great idea to have some back-up options in case something goes wrong with the venue, or a star speaker has to pull out at the last minute.
It’s also worth taking into account accessibility of the venue, and how you can ensure your event caters to everyone’s access needs.
6. Create a brand identity and an event mood board
Before you can start marketing, you need to understand your event and how to market it. The kind of voice and content will differ a lot between a fun party and a serious set of talks about the not-for-profit sector. It’s good to capture all of this in a single document and to develop some style guides for communication. Also make sure that you have a good design and logo for the event - Humanitix have partnered with Canva so that you can work out the perfect look when listing your next event.
It’s also a great time to get a mood board together, with ideas for decor, music and the way you will set up the room. Check out our showstopper ebook for tons of inspiration!
7. Ensure you have all licenses and permits
These need to be organised ahead of time to avoid a nasty surprise on the night, getting shut down, and big fines.
8. List your event and start selling tickets
Find a ticketing platform that supports extra features like donations at the door, easy listing, and slick design. We can help with all of that, plus using our platform will change lives through supporting education projects.
9. Confirm, confirm, confirm!
It’s absolutely necessary to double-check everything as the event draws closer. Make sure you do this with enough time to accommodate any big changes or potential disasters. Everyone makes mistakes, but by confirming things you can help clear up miscommunications and other missteps and hopefully avoid disaster on the day!
List your event with us, and impress your guests by showing them that their ticketing fees are funding a better future for disadvantaged kids.
Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.