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Event Planning Timeline & Checklist

After you've determined the purpose, likely audience, available resources, venue, budget, etc., it's time to attack the timeline and checklist.

Four to Six Months to a Year Ahead

  • Determine the purpose, format and target audience for event.
  • Create an estimated budget and get approval, if necessary.
  • Invite speaker, review and get approval on contracts, sign contracts.
  • Select the date, but before confirming it, check for conflicts on the university calendar, academic calendar and athletic schedules. Consider reaching out to the director of conferences and events to consult if an event will draw large numbers of people to campus.
  • Select and reserve a location for your event in the EMS room reservation system.
  • Once the room reservation is approved, submit event to the university calendar with a brief 50 to 100 word or less description and provide an event photo.
  • Create a plan for event marketing and promotion to internal and external audiences.

Two to Three Months Ahead

  • Contact the program participants and request the lecture title, synopsis, biographical information and high-resolution art and/or an original, unsized headshot of the speaker(s) for publicity.
  • Submit project requests for graphic design—brochures, booklets, fliers, postcards, etc. Posters for distribution on campus are created by the event organizer. Marketing and Communications will assist with the design of posters for big events that target a larger external audience.

Four Weeks Ahead

  • Confirm that lecture title, synopsis, biographical information and high-resolution art and/or speaker headshot have been provided for design and marketing purposes.
  • If appropriate
  • Update university calendar listing with any additional details that may have changed.
  • Finalize and implement event marketing and promotional plan.

Two Weeks Ahead

  • Continue publicity. Evaluate and maintain current marketing or implement new ideas if interest is low.
  • Confirm others are assisting with promotion of your event and doing their part.

One Week Ahead

  • Continue publicity. Evaluate and maintain current marketing or implement new ideas if interest is low.
  • Pick up email, word of mouth and social media marketing.

The Big Day

  • Arrive early. Set up signage, etc. Set up a registration table or areas to gather contact information and/or survey attendees.
  • If you need to cancel, postpone or reschedule your event, update the university calendar noting the event is canceled and place cancellation signs on building entrance(s) and room door(s).

After Event

  • Send thank you notes/emails to program participants/speakers and those who assisted in promoting the event.
  • Schedule a debrief meeting with event organizers to discuss success or ways to improve in the future. Take and record notes, share discussion and findings with all those involve and future event organizers.