Whether you’re planning a birthday party, anniversary party, neighbourhood barbecue or a community event, organization is absolutely key.
I’ve planned a few events over the years, and it would have been so easy to become overwhelmed by all of the little details or forget some essential part if I hadn’t taken the time to plan it out carefully before doing anything.
Below you’ll find my own event planning worksheet, free for you to download and use for your own events. While you’re doing that, there are 5 major areas that you’ll need to address.
What is the point of this event? If it’s fundraising for your kids’ school, include a dollar amount or number of attendees as a goal in your purpose. Your purpose for the event will give you a better sense of direction when it comes to the activities, decorations, and even the people you’ll be inviting.
Supplies & Equipment
Write each item down, along with the person responsible for buying, renting or borrowing the item. This would be a good time to figure out your costs too.
Schedule of Events
When you’re planning a birthday party, your schedule might be quite simple and linear. When you’re planning an event that includes a team of volunteers, sound and video equipment, registration and more, you’ll need to be very specific about each event on your schedule, the people involved, and the preparation required.
Letting people know about your event is often one thing that is left to the last minute. We send out a flyer at the beginning and then realize that there aren’t enough RSVPs, registrations or sign-ups just a few weeks before the event. Making a plan for getting the word out is one of the most important things to do right at the beginning.
Once you’ve planned your purpose, supplies, schedule and advertising, now is the time to write down your next steps and assign each step a deadline, and a person responsible. Set a date for your next meeting (or brainstorming session, if you’re working solo), and stick to it. Plan to have your action steps completed by that date.
After the Event: Debriefing Meeting
A friend once taught me the importance of doing a follow-up event debriefing. Plan this session to happen within a week of the event. At this meeting, go through each aspect of your event (registration, advertising, set up, rentals, activities, schedule, etc) and list the things that worked well for each aspect, and the things that you’d like to change. If you do this step while the event is still fresh in your mind, you’ll be much more specific, which will then make planning the next similar event go so much more smoothly.
Here’s a printable version of my personal Event Planning Worksheet, free for you to use for your own event planning. I’ve used it for events planned for 20 people, up to events planned for 500 people.
Until next time!