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How to Organise an Event

Four Parts:Planning Months AheadOrganising 2 Weeks BeforehandWorking 24 Hours Before the EventManaging the Day of the Event

Organising an event can seem like an incredibly overwhelming task. And without organisation and thinking ahead, it can be. Well, let's work on avoiding just that -- from the months of preparing beforehand to maintaining your cool the day off.

Part 1
Planning Months Ahead

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    Define the event's purpose. Having a sentence or two in your head will help you lead the event in the right direction. Are you planning it to educate your community? Persuade potential donors for funds? To celebrate a specific individual or group of individuals? Get as narrow as possible. Whatever you're doing (be it educating, persuading, celebrating, etc.), why are you doing it?
    • Think of it as your mission statement. Your framework for success. When you know exactly what you want to do, it's a lot easier to do it!
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    Set goals. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Not how many people do you want to show up, not the actual fact that the event is even happening -- what do you want to come out of this? 5 people to walk away a new part of your organization? $1,000 raised? Minds changed? People excited?
    • Think of the top three things you wish would happen as a result of this event and concentrate on them becoming a reality. Maybe one goal is financial, one is social, and one is personal. It's up to you!
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    Gather volunteers. Good team members with different skills are a necessity. They can help with everything from preparing schedules and budgets, to making invites and posters, to welcoming in guests and doing the dirty work of cleaning up afterward. In other words, they can help you get things done. And if you can, get volunteers who you trust!
    • Make sure to keep team members and supervisors "up to speed" with your plans. Collaboration can make your job easier. When you ask them to help, be as complete as possible from the get-go about the expectations for them and their level of involvement.
    • If you aren't in a situation where finding volunteers is feasible, hire a crew! It all depends on the type of event you're organising. The venue may be able to provide you with one or you can go through a third-party staffing agency.
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    Prepare a budget. All possible expenses, incomes, sponsors, and contingent expenses should be included. If you don't budget, you'll end up with a wad of receipts, an empty pocketbook, and no idea what the heck just happened. Be realistic from day one so no surprises are seen the day of!
    • Find ways to keep costs low. Can you get volunteers to work for free? Consider cheaper venues (like someone's home)? Remember: a small, simple gathering that goes well is always more impressive than a party thrown to the nines that's a flop.
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    Decide on a time and place. This is the most important thing when it comes to your event. What time and what place will make people say, "Yeah, I'll go to that!"? You want a time when everyone will be free and a place that's a convenient location. And something you can afford to book!
    • Check your community's calendar and consider your audience. If you're working with a bunch of stay-at-home moms, during the day and in the neighborhood is your best bet (maybe with some babysitting offered, too?) If you're channeling students, do a weeknight downtown. If you can, go where they already are.
    • Of course, certain venues need booking. Contact the place you're thinking about using as soon as possible. They may be busier than you are!
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    Think about logistics. Logistics for everything. What will parking be like? What about handicap accessibility? What can you do with the size of your space? What equipment will you need? What extra items (drinking water for speakers, badges, brochures) will you need that will be extra expenses? How many people are needed to truly make it run smoothly?
    • It's important to sit down for a minute with yourself (and with your team) and consider all sides of the story. Is there any obstacle that can be foreseen and prevented? Any special guests that need to be accommodated? Any exceptions that need to be made?
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    Think about marketing and advertising. While you're on the roll that you are, prepare a draft poster. It should include the tentative date, time, venue, chief guest, name of the event, and a theme or tag-line for the event. Since it's so early, you can take your time on this -- but it's best to whip up a preliminary version now to see how it's all coming together!
    • Think about other ways to get the word out, too. E-mail blasts? Snail mail? Facebook, Twitter, the other two dozen event websites out there (more on that in a bit)? What do you need before the event to get people there and what do you need at the event to keep them?
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    Organize yourself. It's very possible you feel like a ferret with its head cut off right about now. Take a breath and open up Excel. Prepare a draft schedule of the activities in the event. Make a few spreadsheets to organize your thoughts. It may seem like needless paperwork now, but in two months you'll be profusely thanking your past self for looking out for you.
    • Prepare a time line (with deadlines) for each activity. Write down everyone's names and where they're needed when. That way you can organize yourself and field any future questions from others.

Part 2
Organising 2 Weeks Beforehand

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    Make sure everything is a go. Fix the date, venue, (chief guest), staff, name of the event and tag-line. Is there anything that could go wrong? Any last minute switch-ups that could present themselves? At this juncture, everything should be written in permanent ink.
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    Meet with your team. Get approval for your budget, schedule, etc., from team members as well as supervisors. Right now is a good time to get all the questions sussed out. Does everyone know their obligations? Are they comfortable with any and all issues?
    • Once again, meet with team members and volunteers to brainstorm any problems that might arise. This is also the perfect time to create an action plan.
    • Make sure the team does not have any internal problems. Stay in touch with all team leaders as well as team members and volunteers.
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    Delegate work to different people and let an experienced person coordinate all activities. If the event is a mega-event, let different people coordinate different activities, under the supervision of one person. The team leader should be trusted by the team members.
    • It's a good idea to have one or two people dedicating their time to meeting and greeting and talking up the event as people filter in and the event gets started. Basically they're a reception committee, boosting morale and letting people know they're in good hands.
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    Make sure to update any websites connected to the event. You're probably on Facebook and Twitter, but there's a ton of other websites you can use, too, that can help you get the word out. Eventbrite, Evite and Meetup If you haven't heard of these, do some surfing now! And if you're looking to sell tickets online, Ticketbud[1] is pretty good.
    • And, of course, your website/blog/Facebook page, if you have one. You can send out reminders, set up pictures, and monitor RSVPs. The more active you are, the more your presence will be known. If you're doing an event based around gardening or home decor or anything else creative, you'll can also use Pinterest.
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    Collect sponsors and other sources of money from delegates. There will be a lot of expenses being incurred in the upcoming weeks and you don't want them all to come out of your own pocket! Collect at least some of the money to cover the initial fees -- the venue, equipment, caterers, perhaps? Some of these people/places/things may require payment before the event even starts crawling.
    • Make sure to have a system for receipts, confirmations, invoices, and general paperwork. You'll need to keep everything and refer to it later, so the more organized you are from the beginning the better. Especially if a company you're working with gives you guff.
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    Market the event. Prepare brochures, release advertisements, inform the media, send mailings, make phone calls, send messages to e-groups, and visit potential participants or sponsors. How else will people know to come? Make sure the information you're putting out there is fully complete, leaving them with only a few questions -- they need some to be intrigued, after all!
    • Think about your target audience. If you're trying to reach senior citizens, you're not gonna be spending your time sending out well-timed Snapchats. Go to the places and use the tools your audience uses.
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    Gather items needed for the event. These items might include medals, games, mementos, prizes, or certificates. There are a lot of small bits and doodads that might go unnoticed to the untrained eye, but you know every nook, cranny, and whatever fills it. And don't forget tables, chairs, sound equipment, signs, tablecloths, and all that important, big stuff!
    • This is another thing you should sit down and think about. Don't stop thinking about it until you've found 5 things you've forgotten about -- everything down to pens, a first-aid kit, batteries, ice, and extension cords. You want to know that whatever happens, you've got it covered.
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    Make arrangements for everything. Make arrangements for photos and videos. Make arrangements for guests' transportation. Make arrangements for food for the clean-up crew. The list could go on and on, but then you'll never get to organizing your event!
    • Make arrangements for food and refreshments. This is also a good time to prepare for special accommodation such as for those who have disabilities etc. Check for participants who are vegetarian or have other specific dietary needs. Many event ticketing sites such as the ones listed have options for "custom questions" which will better help you gauge any special needs.
    • Make arrangements for chairs, tables, backdrops, microphones, speakers, computers, LCD projectors, podiums -- anything that needs to be set up at the venue.
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    Prepare a contact list. You'll need all relevant phone numbers, addresses and emails of team members. Also, make a similar contact list for VIPs and suppliers of any goods or services. When someone doesn't show up or is running late, this will be what you refer to.
    • Let's say the caterers aren't there on time. What do you do? You whip out your handy dandy sheet and give them a call. Oh, they thought you were going to pick up 200 pounds of pulled pork? Well, whatever. You hand the sheet to Stu and he grabs his truck and goes to the address listed on the paper. Crisis averted. And now you know to either never book with them again or be more explicit in your directions!
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    Visit the venue with your team members. Look around the place and evaluate parking, toilets, green rooms, arrangements, various entrances and exits. Look for nearby places where you can take photocopies, make phone calls, and buy any things in case of emergency. Basically, get to know your terrain like the back of your hand.
    • Talk to the contact person, too. They should have a knowledge of the venue better than anyone else. Are there any issues you should know about? Any time constraints? Doors being locked at certain times? God forbid, scheduled fire alarm checks?

Part 3
Working 24 Hours Before the Event

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    Stay calm. You got this. It's incredibly important to keep a level head and not get caught up in a mental sweat. You've been preparing for months! Everything will be fine. The calmer you are, the calmer your team will be, and the more smoothly the event will go. Besides, it'll all be over shortly!
    • Seriously. You got this. You've covered all your bases, you've thought of all the possible problems -- if anything goes wrong, you know how to handle it. And remember: no one's going to blame you. A rowdy guest, bad food -- people know that you don't have control over anything. So relax. You'll be okay.
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    Do one last check-in with your team. Make sure you communicate with everyone on how to reach the venue and the time. The last thing you want is your entire team calling you at once the day of the event wondering where the heck the back door is.
    • Even if no one is coming out and asking you questions, do your best to gauge their behavior. Does everyone seem okay with their job description? Are people getting along? If not, talk to them and see if you can work out the kinks. Maybe someone would be better suited to a different department or working with other people.
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    Check all invitations and responses. Create a list of invitees in a spreadsheet and get a tally for heads. For most events, the number of people who RSVP will not represent the number of people who actually show. You could have 50 people who said they'll be there, but end up with 5 or 500. So while you should know this number, also be ready to handle either end of the spectrum!
    • Remind VIPs about the events while you're at it. You'd be surprised how many people will say, "Oh, that's right. That's tomorrow, isn't it?" With a simple phone call or text, that can be avoided.
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    Go to the venue and check if everything is ready. Is the room clean and available? Is all the electronic equipment set up and does it seem to be working? Can you pre-load any equipment, if need be? Do the staff seem reasonably prepared?
    • Check whether enough people are there to man the event. It's always best to have more than you need, of course. You may need someone to run off to do an emergency errand or take care of a guest or issue you didn't see coming. Or, you know, to fetch you coffee.
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    Make participants' kits. This kit might include a bottle of water, a snack bar, note paper, a pen, a brochure and any information they may need. It is also a good idea to include small mementos. This is a nice touch that really convinces people that this is a well thought-out, organized event. And it makes them feel appreciated!
    • This can be for guests or it can be for your crew, or both! Who doesn't love a free granola bar and pen?
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    Make a running sheet. This is a list of all the necessary information sorted by time and/or room. Prepare a minute-to-minute agenda for important activities. The format for this is up to you. Just try to keep the amount of information on it to a minimum so it's easy to read.
    • If you're really type A and super diligent, you may find it useful to make different types of running sheets. Speakers may want a list of other speakers and where they are and at what time. Your crew may just want a list of equipment, times, and clean-up protocol. If you have the time, this may be useful.
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    Make a checklist of the things to be taken to the venue. How terrible would it be if you got there, everything's there, everyone is there, and you realize the only thing that's not are the 12000 cups you forgot at your house? Bummer. Now you've just ruined everything. So make your checklist, check it twice, and bring everything that needs to be brought!
    • If things are half a dozen places, assign people to each specific duty. That way, the day of, you're not spending 8 hours running around collecting everything and freaking out. Spreading the work makes for lighter hands...or however the saying goes.

Part 4
Managing the Day of the Event

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    Arrive early to the venue with your team members and volunteers. Check that everyone is there and all electronic equipment is in working order. Any last minute questions? If there's time, pass out the Mountain Dew, give a pep talk, and break! You got this. You're so prepared.
    • Make sure the organizers are wearing a distinct badge or some other noticeable implement so that participants can find help if needed. Sometimes khakis just aren't enough.
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    Set everything up. Inside and outside. Do you need balloons on the mailbox? A posterboard on the corner? What about on the doors and through the hallway? If your guests have to wander through a veritable labyrinth, the more signs, the better.
    • Welcome banners and other info in front of the building will be especially useful. You want people to be able to see from the street that that's the place they should be. No questions about it!
    • Make a reception and registration counter. When guests walk in the door, they should see exactly what they need to do. Otherwise they'll be floating around unsure and ill at ease. And remember that reception committee we talked about? Have someone at the door to welcome them in and answer their questions.
    • Put on some music! It can kill any awkwardness that otherwise might be flitting about.
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    Make sure the people who matter know what's going on. If a speaker is running late, there needs to be stalling. If eating is taking longer than accounted for, they need to be alerted to the schedule changes. Very rarely do events go completely as planned -- so as you deviate from your course, make sure the lines of communication are open.
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    Take photos! You may want something to remember of your own. And seeing someone walking around with a camera can get people excited. Take note of the sponsor banners, your banner, the entrance, receptions, etc. Maybe you can use it for next year!
    • Have a friend or a professional photographer take care of this, if at all possible. You have enough on your plate! You'll need to be schmoozing and boozing your guests, so have someone else take care of the photo stuff.
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    Give a takeaway. You probably planted something in your guests' heads and want them walking away either thinking something, wondering something, or looking to take action. So have a pamphlet or something they can take with them that they can personally do after the event.
    • Part of this could be a forum for feedback. Offer them a way to follow up and say what they thought, how would they might make improvements, and what they'd like to see next time. And, of course, how they can get involved!
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    Clean up the place! Check the electric meter, remove the banners, tables, etc. You want to leave the place as good as when you found it -- especially if you paid for the venue and want to ever come back. They may charge fees that could otherwise be avoided. Divvy up the jobs so it all goes as quick and painlessly as possible.
    • Check to make sure nothing valuable has been left behind, and if so, form a lost and found.
    • If you have damaged something, let the venue's contact person know. It's best to be honest and forthright.
    • Take care of the trash to the best of your ability. Maintenance will take care of everything from there.
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    Take care of all the post-event duties. Depending on your event, this could range from absolutely nothing to a long-list of thank yous and receipts. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Thank the all team members, especially sponsors and volunteers. You couldn't have done it without them!
    • Finalize and settle the accounts. This should be done as quickly as possible. The fewer loose strings, the better.
    • Have a thank you party for those who helped. You want your crew to feel appreciated and donors to feel like they made a difference to a good cause.
    • Distribute any souvenirs or other publications to relevant people.
    • Deliver the receipts to sponsors and others.
    • Post the photos in your event website.
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    Have a post-review meeting to perform better next time. After all is said and done, what would you have done differently? What worked and what didn't? Would you ever choose to organize an event like this again? What have you learned?
    • If you receive feedback, go over it. And if you're not getting it from your guests, ask your crew! What did they think? Did they at least enjoy themselves? It was the free granola bar and pen, wasn't it?


  • Different work for organizing is like various functions. Budget and accounts is like Finance, informing the delegates and making them participate is like Marketing Job, Team Management is Like HR, transportation is like logistics, Event is like Operations, having good relations with media and others is like PR.
  • List of Documents (etc) to be prepared
    • Budget
    • Event Schedule (Timing of each program in the Event)
    • Invitations
    • List of people to be invited
    • Action Plan
    • Time-line (Work completion schedule)
    • Materials for Press Conference
    • Speech
    • Participants List
    • Comparing Notes (along with Resume of Speakers)
    • Agenda
    • Minute to Minute Schedule
    • Networking List (Mobile numbers of organisers)
    • Checklist of Things to be Taken
    • Checklist of Work to be Done
    • Report of the Event (for media and others)
  • Decide which things should be outsourced and which work should be done by team member. Outsourcing depends on Budget, Time, Quality, Importance of job etc.
  • Smile a lot. Have courtesy for everyone, in and out of your team.
  • Before the event have person/committee -in-charge of
    • Sponsors
    • Local Participants
    • Chief Guest, Speakers,
    • Designing, Printing, Collection of Articles and evaluation the same
    • Prizes, Mementos, Gifts, Banners, Certificates, Souvenirs
    • Transportation, Caterers, Venue Arrangement, Decorations, Backdrop, Parking
    • Media, PR, Marketing
  • When someone offers help (including money), respond immediately, and thank them sincerely.
  • Factors to be considered while selecting a venue and negotiating the price
    • Capacity of the Hall (No. of Delegates --excluding floating delegates)
    • Provision for Food (if meals are served)
    • Timing (When does the event can start and end at the venue)
    • Lighting arrangement (in case for night events)
    • Air-conditioned or not
    • Required Equipment are provided (Mikes, Speakers, etc)
    • Furniture for dais (Tables, Chairs, Table Clothes)
    • Whether Music, Entertainment is allowed or not (for informal programs)
    • Power Backup
    • Accessibility -- whether the venue is center of city (Whether Delegates can arrive without any difficulty)
    • Special Rooms for Organizers, Dressing up etc
    • Total Cost
  • Planning is necessary. Planning ‘what to do’ (important things) is done in team meetings. Stick to it.
  • On the day of event have person(s) in charge of
    • Overall Coordination
    • Green Room
    • Food
    • On Stage Activities
    • Master of Ceremony
    • Computer, LCD projector,
    • Photographer
    • Reception
    • Crowd Management and PR with Crowd
    • Parking Area
    • Security
    • Distribution of Various things (Gifts, Certificates to selected people as well as all the Participants)
  • Factors to be considered while deciding the date
    • Whether the Chief Guest and other VIPs are available on the particular date(s)
    • What works best for your audience
  • If you borrow anything, take responsibility to return it at the said time.
  • But planning in smaller groups ‘how to do’, ‘how it should be done’ etc., is also equally important.
  • Do not sub-delegate the work and responsibilities given to you at any time.
  • Note down all important details.
  • Take initiative, walk around and find pending jobs that can be done by you, complete it on seeing it.
  • Do not leave the counter/seat where you are seated/assigned.
  • Proper Implementation is critical for an idea, Plan to be successful till the last...
  • Report back voluntarily to the person, who had given you the task, whether the task is successful or not. But at the said time.
  • Be very cheerful, especially when you are amongst the crowd.
  • Be responsible for your work.
  • Be punctual in all your work. If you are late, give prompt proper info to the person you report to.
  • Do not criticize anyone, unless you have a suggestion or solution.
  • Be slow and steady. Do not make haste while communicating. It would only waste time.
  • Always have a good morale & positive attitude with everyone. Please do not beg to anyone.
  • When there is a problem, do not blame others -- neither put it on your head and create tension but try to solve it.
  • Do not repeat any mistakes.
  • Make sure you have evacuation plans and if it is a big event, try getting police there and medics on standby.


  • Do not panic/get tensed. A cool mind will produce better results at the right time.
  • Be prepared for any situation. Sometimes, things go out of control. If you are a team member don't get angry if someone shouts at you, (the person may be tense). If you are a coordinator, do not get tense or panic. Do things coolly. Try to figure out what situation will happen, and what you can do when it happened.

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Categories: Event and Party Planning