Event Checklist

6 to 12 months in advance:

  • Choose the purpose of the event. Is it a celebration, a fundraiser, or something else? This will influence the kind of event you will hold.
  • Choose a theme that is relevant, but also interesting. Cliche themes won't attract many guests.
  • Look around for places that can hold the event. Meet with potential space providers.
  • You might need to appoint someone, or yourself, as event manager.
  • Build committees if they are required. With a big enough event, you might need several of them and need to appoint a chair for each.
  • Get estimates for food, drinks, space and rental equipment. This will help with budgeting.
  • If providing artistic entertainment, hire well-known entertainers or hold auditions.
  • Determine if you will require sponsorships. Build a sponsorship sheet, with the different levels, so that potential sponsors know right away at what level they want to participate.
  • Get an initial budget from the financial committee. This step is very important.
  • Check if you need any kind of permit or license to hold an event or serve alcohol.
  • Review proposals for decorations and printing.
  • If charging a cover, decide the price.
  • Build a mailing list with potential guests or businesses to contact.
  • Choose a final date and check for conflicts with your providers.
  • Choose your graphic designer and draft the documentation and invitations.
  • Order the printing for invitations, hold-the-date reminders and other early stationery.
  • Build your marketing timeline with your public relations specialist.

3 to 6 months in advance:

2 months in advance:

1 month in advance:

1 week in advance:

One day before:

Day of the event:

If you are looking to plan an event for your business or a charitable organization, this checklist is for you. We have put together this list to help you prepare your event as efficiently as possible. Hopefully, you are not the sole person responsible for planning it, so feel free to break it down and distribute the tasks among your colleagues. Depending on the size, a major event can take 6 months to a year to prepare; last minute planning will only make things more stressful and more difficult to control. You will have to start from the ground up by asking yourself and your colleagues basic questions about the purpose and the theme of the event; be ready to spend a lot of time brainstorming about the many possibilities. We hope this checklist will form the backbone of your planning strategy, and that you will keep it on hand whenever you work on your event. We have conceived it as a tool to help you create the perfect event for your organization.

Tips

If your organization has held such an event before, check the archives for previous suppliers: if you had a good experience with them in the past, there is a good chance that this good experience will repeat itself. Suppliers enjoy repeat business and will certainly be happy to help you again. If it is the first time your organization has such an event, make sure you get reviews from other customers; the Internet is especially useful to find those. Request quotes before you contract with any supplier. You may also want to retain the services of a public relations specialist when dealing with printed and electronic media, especially if your organization has little experience with them. Again, make sure you go to a reputable agency for these services.