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Planning An Event

Posted by Jules Morgan on Thursday, March 3, 2022 Under: Event Security
Develop Your Event Goal and Objectives

The very first step in planning your event is to establish tangible goals and objectives.  

Start by asking yourself: Why are you organizing this event and what do you hope to achieve?

If you know your organization’s key goals before planning, you can ensure that every part of your event is optimized for success.  

Are you trying to raise awareness for a cause, or collect a predetermined amount of donations for your next project? Are you hoping to attract 50 guests, or 500?  

Setting a goal with quantifiable metrics of success will make it easier for your team to ensure that you reach them.

Even better, figure out what happens if you meet, exceed, or miss your goal. At what point do you wrap up shop? At what point do you get to do something more exciting next time? Understanding where you’re going will only help you get there faster.


Event registration callout
A list of tangible and intangible goals for your event can give you a better sense of your event management needs. Your tangible goals may be to attract 500 attendees, sell 100 products at the event, or raise $1 million for charity. Your intangible goals will help drive these tangible goals and may include raising awareness about a product or cause, or recruiting volunteers.” 

Organize Your Team

Any event takes a concerted team effort to handle all the details. Consider identifying one key Event Manager or Event Chair as well as individual Chairpersons for subcommittees, such as: 

  • Venue Management
  • Speakers
  • Entertainment 
  • Publicity
  • Sponsors
  • Volunteer Management 

Assigning individual roles to team members creates a system of accountability and prevents tasks from falling to the wayside.

Plus, it’ll allow you to delegate – but don’t forget to account for committee meetings in your event plan timing! 

High-quality events requires buy-in at all levels of an organization. To create a truly unforgettable experience, you'll need support from your executive team all the way to your on-site event staff."

Recruit & Train Volunteers

Your volunteers make the gears turn for your event. But before you begin working with them, make sure you understand what their roles are and how you can begin recruiting them. 

 Define volunteer roles. Make sure you have an understanding of what types of volunteers you’ll need and who will lead them. You may need volunteers for parts of your event such as:

  • Setting up and tearing down the event
  • Ushers and coat check
  • Parking
  • Refreshments
  • Registration

Make a plan for recruitment. A great place to start is to share the volunteer opportunities with your existing contacts. Then identify the best channels for putting up your volunteer posting, such as volunteer sites and social media. 

Identify volunteer leaders 

Once you have volunteers, who’s responsible for training them? And how will you manage that training? Select volunteer leadership and provide either written guidance or in-person (potentially virtual!) workshops. To knock it out of the park, you could even provide both.

To make sure you have the volunteers you need, organize your volunteer roles and put up your volunteer posting far enough ahead of your event.

Establish Your Budget

Establishing your event’s budget is one of the most important parts of planning an event. 

Creating a solid budget enables you and your team to generate ideas within realistic parameters. This means that the parts of your event that you’re excited about stay top of mind. Instead, they’re just readjusted for what you can afford. 

Some of the critical expenses you need to include in your budget are:  

Venue: This cost should encompass the rental as well as any insurance you need to purchase.  

Food and Drink: This field is pretty self-explanatory. However, remember that the amount you can afford might also dictate the number of tickets you’re can sell.  

Entertainment: This field can be customized however you need it to be — whether it’s allocated for speakers, a DJ, or even a talking pig, make sure you have wiggle room for travel and accommodation costs as well as any compensation. 

Décor: Will you be going with a DIY mason-jar theme, or one that’s a little fancier? Establishing the costs upfront will help you determine which one you can afford.  

Staff: This category might often be forgotten, but it’s key to account for the transportation and lodging costs of your staff, especially if you’re headed out of town. Even budgeting staff time (what would they be spending time on if they weren’t working on this event?) can help you decide whether that extra meeting is worth it.  

Marketing: Whether you decide to promote your event through Facebook or go old-school by putting flyers up all over town,  

Software: If you’re not already paying for any kind of event management software, consider incorporating it into your event planning. Software can help streamline your processes, help save time, and enable your team to do more.  

A/V: From projectors to wi-fi to speakers, this category encompasses a wide variety of costs.  

Miscellaneous: Even the best-planned event will have some additional costs come up. Accounting for them in your budget will ensure you’re not caught unawares.  

Even if some of these items aren’t fixed costs yet – for example, if you haven’t yet picked a venue – it's important to keep the maximum that you can afford to spend in mind before making those decisions. 

Set the Date

The date might already be pre-set for a recurring event, but if this is a new event, there are some things to keep in mind. Be sure to consider the following before firming up your date: 

Give yourself enough time! Ideally, you should have 4-6 months to plan, if not more (depending on the event) 

Be aware of statutory and religious holidays 

Avoid school holiday time periods (winter, spring and summer holidays) 

Check dates with key participants – speakers, presenters, VIP guests, etc. 

Once you’ve set the date (and have already outlined your budget), you can start booking any external staff (such as caterers) you need right away.  

Planning an event right now? Download our Event Planning Checklist here.
Create an Event Master Plan

Once you know all the costs and the timeline associated with your event, it’s time to start the real plan!

Creating an event master plan will allow you to ensure every aspect remains on track, as well as making it easier to coordinate with volunteers and event committee members.  

Your event master plan should encompass all aspects of the event, including: 

Venue, logistics, & catering management (contracts, permits, insurance, etc.) 

Speakers and presenters (identifying, confirming, logistics & management) 

Activities and entertainment 

Publicity and promotion (online & off-line, such as web page & online promotion; events calendars; printed programs; media relations; signage; social media, etc.) 

Registration (online sign-up, payment and tracking; on-site sign-in, etc.) 

Sponsor and partner management 

Volunteer management and responsibilities  

While planning your event, consider also creating a detailed timeline, so that everything moves smoothly. Include when any permits or insurance policies need to be submitted, when registration ends, and a detailed timeline of the day-of. 

Although it might be tempting to say, “It’s all in my head! I”ll be fine!” and not be concerned about writing it all down, beware: this kind of mentality will make it much more difficult for you to assign accountability. It’ll also make it more difficult to remember what you did for the next event – so do your future self a favour and keep everything written down.    
Finally, if you or your organization has run previous events of a similar type, reviewing any documentation that exists at this stage can help you ensure you’re not missing anything. 

Ensure that all your activities and services are built for the size of your audience. In the past, we've run some open bars for our events and would have a single bartender make each individual's drink from scratch. The line would get so long and our attendees would get frustrated. We knew we had to find a better solution but couldn't afford to hire another bartender so we decided to make some large batched cocktails beforehand. This cut down the line tremendously and our attendees loved the drinks we made! When creating your master plan try to see if you can cut costs anywhere by DIY'ing. Also remember that with new apps like TaskRabbit and Craigslist you can often find a talented individual who could provide a service for a lot less, which will make your life a whole lot easier when planning and executing an event.

Choose Your Event Software 

The right event software can make all the difference in streamlining your processes when planning your event.

 Types of event software that can be worthwhile having include:

  •  Registration 
  • Ticketing
  • Event website
  • Attendee engagement solutions
  • Lead tracking tools
  • Virtual event solutions
  • Hybrid event solutions
  • Attendee management

If you run a membership organization and are sick of processing event registrations and payments by hand, membership management software could be right for you. It’ll totally automate the process online!

Here’s here's what it can do: 

Allow easy creation of online event registration forms

Put a calendar of events on your website 

Automatically update your website with upcoming events 

Deposit event payments directly into your account 

Send automatic invoices and event reminders 

Dump event attendee data directly into your contact database 

and more 

Not only does Membership Management Software take care of all event logistics, it also makes running membership organizations easier. You can automate away administrative tasks like managing your contacts, website, finances, and email communication. 

Book Your Venue

Once you have the date nailed down, it’s key to book your venue as soon as possible. Your event has to have a date and location nailed down before you can begin advertising, so this task needs to be completed as early in the planning period as possible.   

(Note that some flexibility around the date might also help you out at this stage and open up a wider variety of venues.)  

When picking a venue for your event, make sure to consider:  

Accessibility. Does the venue have accessible entrances and elevators? Are there all-gender washrooms? Will you have space for interpreters or a live-captioning screen? This and many other factors go into choosing a space that all participants will feel comfortable in.  

Size. An event for 50 people will need a very different space than one for 500. Additionally, consider whether or not you’ll need separate rooms for breakout sessions or other small group activities (or, hey, even a green room for your speakers and/or VIPs!).  

Parking. Is there a parking lot, or is it easy to access via public transit?  

Insurance. Will you need to purchase separate insurance? What are their liability rules?  

Costs. How much of a deposit is the venue asking for? Will there be additional costs? How much will you get back if you (heaven forbid) need to cancel?     

Do not believe everything you see on Instagram or Pinterest. It's a sad reality we face, but this industry is becoming more creative in terms of their marketing materials. They know the right photos to use, the right angles to photograph, the right photo edits to make venues look larger, cleaner, and nicer. So we advise going to see the venue in person, meeting your vendors in person, and taking the time to do your due diligence. And if you don't have the time, hire the right professional who will work to ensure these components on your behalf.

Brand Your Event

A timely and compelling theme can be just the thing that sets you apart from other events. Choose a dynamic theme and apply it to all elements of your event, including its name. Highlight the elements that make it special, especially in online media, because this can be what attracts people to attend. 

Brainstorm names: When you’re brainstorming the event name, ask yourself:  

How is your event different from other events in your sector? 

What are you hoping to convey through this event? 

What are the main components of your event?  

Create a tagline: Once you’ve come up with a name, craft a tagline – a short, memorable branding slogan that describes the event.  

Design a logo: If you’re planning a major event or recurring event series, make sure you’ve created a logo. A logo can be an effective branding tool – offering immediate recognition of your event in all your publicity and promo items (such as t-shirts, water bottles, bags, and more).  

Create your visual identity: Create a cohesive visual identity for your event to bring everything together. Choose a distinct font, colour(s), voice and tone, story, graphics, and thematic elements. By doing so, you’ll be sure you’re creating a memorable experience for your attendees.

Once you have your name, tagline, and logo, use it in all your marketing collateral so that people who are unfamiliar with your organization will start recognizing your brand – and remember that the event is happening! 

In addition to creating an event name, tagline, and logo, create a hashtag for all your marketing materials and for attendees to use when talking about your event on social media. The shorter the better, but it should also be unique. 

During the event, designate someone to monitor live posts using the hashtag: "like" the Facebook posts, "retweet" the tweets, and so on, to amplify the buzz while the event is happening. 

Following the event, you can search each individual social media platform for posts containing your hashtag for an excellent post-event report.

Confirm Speakers & Special Guests

Industry leaders, subject matter experts, or local influencers are all examples of great speakers or special guests to have at your event. The right speaker can make all the difference in increasing registrations and turnout!

If you’re planning to include notable speakers and special guests, here are our tips for finding the right people and inviting them. 

Identify and Establish Partnerships & Sponsors

Partnership and sponsors can help defray your costs and increase potential participation. When you involve other people or groups in your event, they have a stake in helping spread the word and making the event a success — the more the merrier, right?  

You might want to consider: 

Seek corporate sponsors to fund a portion of the event. This can range from national organizations that might want to sponsor a dinner, offer a door prize or a key silent auction item, to local businesses that might be able to provide goods or services, such as flowers for the tables, gift bag items, etc. 

Partner with community organizations who can offer a venue and/or assistance with organizing or staffing an event. 

If you’re looking for businesses to sponsor your event, keep in mind that they’ll be more likely to do so if they can see the clear benefit to them. If you’ve had sponsors in the past who are willing to speak up on your behalf, so much the better – but if not, be prepared to craft a compelling case for support when you initially reach out.  

Create a Promotional Plan

Even with the most amazing speaker or entertainment line-up, you need a promotional plan to get people in the door.

Make sure you have the three major functions of event promotion covered:

Some components you might want to include in your promotional plan include: 

Marketing: Consider this the analytical side of your promotional plan. The marketing of your event should be driven by key objectives and KPIs to mark success. Anything within your marketing should be informed by the needs and pains of your attendees as well as the objective or goal of your event. This can include the creation of a marketing landing page, social media campaigns, or email drip campaigns. 

Advertising: You want to make sure the right people know about your event. Whether it be through event listing websites, social media, around your community, via partnerships, or in print, use information about your audience to figure out what channels to focus on to advertise your event. Then, distribute and disseminate information to get people excited for and interested in attending the day-of.

Media Relations and Publicity: News stations, radio, and print media are all excellent ways to garner interest in your event. Reach out to media outlets and pitch an idea for a compelling story, such as a feature on a notable speaker or on your event’s cause.

Some components you might want to include in your promotional plan include: 

  • Web page announcement 
  • Social media 
  • Email blasts 
  • Printed materials
  • Press and media connections 

Finally, IF YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL SECURITY STAFF to police your event. Contact Spartan 24 Hour Security on 07874014305. We are always happy to help and give free advice.

In : Event Security 

Tags: warrington event planning   
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