Event Planning Checklist & Timeline

This is a brief checklist of steps to planning a successful event; please read the Event Planning Guide carefully for additional details.

Develop and Gather Ideas:

  • What type of event do you want to host? Is there a theme?
  • What is the purpose of your event?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Who will present the program portion of the event (if applicable)?
  • When and where will the event be held?
  • If funding is required, what are the potential sources for funding?
  • To get the best space for your event, research and secure space well in advance

Six Weeks or More before Event:

  • Determine your co-sponsors and invitees
  • Contact invited speakers and discuss time, date, place, dietary requirements, mode of and payment for travel, and technical needs
  • Determine cost of event and funding sources; submit budget for approval
  • Check the Calendar for available dates (check district and local city or state calendars to avoid any conflicting major events).
  • Confirm reserved space through a written communication and post an Event Notices in community, schools, etc.
  • Establish a publicity plan for the event: create and print materials such as brochures, posters, and flyers; mail/e-mail invitations, programs (check names and titles especially for invited guests)
  • Identify any need for permits, special services, equipment, and/or parking

One to Two Weeks before Event:

  • Advertise: Distribute and/or post flyers/display posters, send email to invitees
  • Meet with all involved event staff to discuss logistics for the day of the event. Assign key roles
  • Meet with custodians to discuss any need for trash cans, tables/chairs, and building access
  • Finalize any plans or rentals, such as catering or dinnerware

Three To Five Days before the Event:

  • Provide information to any services (including a caterer) such as number of attendees
  • Confirm expectations – time of delivery, location, what is included with services.
  • Print directional signs if event is open to the community

One Day before Event:

  • Send a final email or phone blast reminder to invitees
  • Buy food, drinks, ice, plastic glassware, tablecloths, and utensils that are not supplied by caterer. Look to see if any additional decorations, posters or other materials are needed. Purchase or print name tags as needed
  • Do an AV check for sound and video if equipment is being used. If recording event, do a test

Day of Event:

  • Check room: make sure it is clean, has the necessary equipment & furniture and is decorated to your liking
  • Post directional signs to the room, if event is open to the community
  • Meet caterer or set-up refreshments
  • Place water at the podium for each speaker
  • Set-up name tags for easy distribution at the entrance and/or distribute programs
  • Establish procedures and personnel for welcoming parents, community and guests.
  • When the event is finished, make sure the cleaning requirements are met in the required or agreed upon time. This may mean staying behind to make sure that everything is cleaned up and the trash is thrown away.

One to Two Weeks after Event:

  • Send speakers thank-you notes
  • Pay vendors: submit original receipts for payment/reimbursement
  • Compile a list of all expenses incurred for the event
  • Debrief with team: discuss possible improvements in the plans

Participation Tools & Resources