How to organise an event: 10 tips for first-time event planners
Are you planning an event for the first time? Whether it’s a conference, office party, lunch meeting or fundraising gala, there is a lot to think about. Event planning can be stressful at first, but if you’re prepared, it can also be a lot of fun. Are you wondering where to begin? Read on to find out our top 10 tips for getting started on planning your first event!
1. Establish a goal for your event
What’s the aim of the event? There are plenty of reasons to hold an event, so it’s important to establish what you’d like to achieve from the start. Is your goal to raise money for charity, or are you celebrating an occasion? Is this a business event to draw in new customers, or promote a new product?
Having these goals in mind will make the planning process a lot easier!
2. Start planning as soon as possible
It’s never too soon to make plans! Get a head start by mapping out the details of your event as soon as you can.
Some questions you should consider are:
- How many people would you like to attend?
- Where will the event be held?
- What are the timings of the event?
- How will guests be invited?
- What is the budget?
3. Schedule communications
While you’re in the middle of planning an event, don’t forget to keep your guests updated. Setting up a clear comms strategy will help to get people excited about the day and boost the overall event attendance rate. Make sure that you send out invitations early enough (at least 8 weeks before the event) so that everyone can keep the date free. In the lead up, plan to send a series of communications that give further details to your guests. Share how to reach the event, key timings and any other important information to make sure that your guests come prepared.
4. Stick to a budget
It’s easy to get carried away when sourcing everything you need for an event. Set your budget from the beginning and plot out a list of all the expected costs. Leaving things to the last minute can cause panic purchases, so start getting quotes as soon as possible. Look for the best deals and give yourself time to make informed decisions.
If you’ve planned out an event and face a long list of tasks, make sure you get your team on board! If you try to do everything yourself, you may end up stressed and it might even impact the quality of the event.
A good event planner shares the workload by delegating tasks to others so that they can focus on the most important details. Make a list of who you have delegated each task to and check in regularly to make sure everyone is comfortable with their role.
6. Work with people that you trust
When choosing suppliers for your event – try to work with trusted companies and individuals that you can rely on to complete the job. Having caterers, technicians and security that are familiar with the venue, or have worked on similar events in the past, will give you peace of mind on the day.
If you have to take a risk by bringing on a new supplier, make sure that they have the required insurance and give them a full brief before the event.
7. Create a timetable
As soon as the schedule for your event is confirmed, plot out a timetable with all the details. Start by listing anything that will happen prior to the event – for example, any deliveries or preparation that needs to take place.
Put together a full timetable for the day and allocate tasks to members of your team. Share the timetable with everyone who is working on the event so that they are prepared.
8. Remain flexible
You’ve established your goal, set your budget and created a timetable – but prepare for everything to change! One of the most important things to know when planning an event is that things don’t always go to plan.
Last-minute changes might come your way and cause you to make new purchases or amend your timetable. When this happens, try to keep cool! Stay flexible and try to think creatively for a solution – that way, you’ll be ready to plan your event without unnecessary stress.
9. Document the event
Make sure you keep a record of the event to remind you of all of your hard work. Consider hiring a photographer to capture the day, or invite bloggers or journalists to create a report. You can also encourage guests to share their photos on social media. Create a #hashtag that everyone can use on the day so that you can easily find all the photos from the event.
10. Don’t forget to debrief
Once the event is over, you’ll probably want to breathe a sigh of relief… and maybe have a long sleep. A few days later, it’s important to sit down and think about how the event went. What went well? What would you change next time? Take notes and record your debrief – it will be a great help when you come to planning your next event.