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What Should Be on Your Event Planning Checklist?

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Many events planners create a planning checklist to ensure the success of their events. Whether you are planning an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, an event planning checklist is your ally. Below is an event planning checklist many event planners swear by:

When creating your event planning checklist, you need to cover the basics, including:

  • Date
  • Location
  • Goals
  • Budget
  • Type of Event

Understandably, there will be a few parts of your event that won’t fall in the categories listed but the items above are considered important jump off points.  The further in advance you start planning, the better.

Most organizations that hold massive events like galas and fundraisers plan at least 6 months in advance. When planning an event, start with the following basics:

Four to Six Months Before the Event

  • Establish your event objectives and goals. What is your primary goal? For instance, do you want to raise awareness or money? How many attendees are you expecting? Knowing the answer to those basic questions can help you plan your event better.
  • Select the date. Ensure the date chosen won’t conflict with any holidays and any other events in the area.
  • Determine the venue and negotiate the details. Can you serve alcohol? What type of insurance will the venue require? Figure out the requirements before you commit.
  • Create an event master plan. Ironing out all the details can help ensure you won’t miss a thing.
  • Get cost estimates. Some of the costs you need to consider include room rental, insurance, speaker fees, food and beverages, equipment, and travel for the staff.
  • Brand your event. Start creating an event website that describes the event. Start developing an event tagline and logo.
  • Create and launch a publicity plan. This can help ensure staff and volunteers are assigned to manage specific tasks including VIP coordination, signage, media relations, etc.

Three to Four Months Before the Event

  • Prepare the required documents for your team. This should include the budget documents, design requirements, event objectives, goals, and KPIs, and the general to-do list.
  • Liaise with the speakers, presenters, and entertainers. Finalize the presentation or speech topic, prepare the photo and bio information, figure out the travel and accommodation arrangements, have the contracts signed by the speakers, and ask speakers to start promoting the event on their websites and social media pages.
  • Finalize the financial and administration parts of the event. Set up the online registration, finalize the sponsors, and determine the items to be underwritten.

One to Two Months Before the Event

  • Send reminders regarding the registration and participation. It is recommended that you schedule email reminders at least a week and a day prior to the event. You need to also schedule social media posts that promote the event registration and participation.
  • Reach out to presenters and speakers. Confirm with the speakers and presenters their travel and accommodation details. By this time, you need to also make sure that the key promotion dates are in place.
  • Finalize the sponsorship. Follow up with the sponsors to confirm underwriting and sponsorships and ask sponsors to share the event on their social media channels.

One Week Before the Event

  • Schedule a meeting between the committee chairs and confirm all the master plan details. You need to also make sure you have back-up plans ready for just about any situation.
  • Brief all the hosts, greeters, volunteers, and everyone involved in the project about their event timelines and duties.
  • Finalize the seating plan. Make sure it also includes wheelchair-accessible areas.
  • Conduct a final registration check including the name badges. Depending on when your registration closes, this might not be possible until a few days in advance. The bottom line is to ensure that you finish this as early as possible.

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