Know your goals, clarify your vision
Getting Started - Don't skip these steps!
Event Planning doesn't begin with choosing the date or the venue, or even knowing the performer you want - it begins with "why?" and for "whom?". The more clear your org or planning committee can get about your goals and visions for undertaking the task of planning an event, the more smoothly the rest of your plans will flow. Take the time, as a team, to answer some of the basic questions before jumping ahead.
What are your goals?
Determine the kind of event you would like to have, who you would like to attend this event, and what will encourage them to come. What do you most want to accomplish by hosting this event? Does the project relate well to your org. mission? What does the successful realization of your event "look like" in the imagination of your planning group? Do you have a "working title" in mind that communicates these ideas to the audience you hope to attract? (Your event title might change as you move ahead in your planning, but trying one or two out in the brainstorming stages will help to shape your vision.)
See also the information on the "Making your events inclusive" page.
TIP: If you want specific individuals to attend your event, invite them as early as possible with personal invitations that express your interest. Use a "please save this date" strategy. If you make promises of VIP seating, or complimentary tickets, etc. - follow through!
Who is on board to make it all happen?
Is it clear to all who is "in" and who isn't? Be sure planning members express clearly their level of commitment to the project and the nature of their available energies to see it through. Some folks may be able to help at different stages of the project, while others can commit to every step of the way - it is essential to know the realistic scope of your teams energies. Who else, in addition to your core group of dedicated planners, might be interested in helping out some with this event, or with attending this event?
College policies and services require that a primary Sponsor ( a registered student org or MHC dept. accept the ultimate responsibility for hosting an event on campus, even if many collaborators are involved.)
Collaborations are great - large and small events can benefit from the inclusion of multiple sponsors. Co-sponsors can strengthen an event by the sharing of ideas, costs, and audiences, but clear communication about the role of each sponsor, and the pledged commitments of each is essential.The strongest collaborations are forged in the early planning stages and include the input of all parties. Read more about this on the next page.
With these ideas more clearly in mind your planning team moves on to answering the WHEN, WHERE, and HOW parts of Event Planning....