Event Planning Timeline and Checklist

Strategic Communications and Public Affairs

After you've determined the purpose, target audience, available resources, venue, budget, etc., it's time to follow your planning timeline. The bigger your event, the more time you will need to promote your event to internal and external audiences.

Four to Six Months Ahead

  • Determine the purpose, format and target audience.
  • Create an estimated budget and get approval, if necessary. Invite speaker, review and get approval on contracts, sign contracts.
  • Select the date. Check for conflicts on the University calendar, academic calendar and athletic schedules.
  • Consult with the director of conferences and events if your event will draw large numbers of people to campus.
  • Reserve a location for your event in the 25Live event scheduling system.
  • Once the reservation is approved, submit your event to the University calendar with a brief description and provide an event photo.
  • Create a plan for marketing and promotion to internal and external audiences. Consult with Strategic Communications if your event has widespread appeal and will draw large numbers of people to campus.

Two to Three Months Ahead

  • Contact the program participants and request details such as lecture title, synopsis, biographical information and high-resolution art and/or an original, unsized headshot for publicity.
  • Submit project requests for print design – brochures, booklets, posters, fliers, postcards, etc.

Four Weeks Ahead

  • Confirm that lecture title, synopsis, biographical information and high-resolution art and/or speaker headshot have been provided for design and marketing purposes.
  • If needed, update calendar listing with any additional details that may have changed.
  • Finalize and implement event marketing and promotional plan.

One to Two Weeks Ahead

  • Continue publicity. Evaluate and maintain current marketing or implement new ideas if interest is low.
  • Confirm others are assisting with promotion of your event and doing their part.
  • Accelerate word of mouth and social media marketing.

The Big Day

  • Arrive early. Set up signage, etc. Set up a registration table or areas to gather contact information and/or survey attendees.
  • If you need to cancel, postpone or reschedule your event, update the calendar noting the event is canceled and place signs on building entrance and room door.

After Event

  • Send thank you notes/emails to program participants/speakers and those who assisted in promoting the event.
  • Schedule a debrief meeting with event organizers to discuss success or ways to improve in the future. Share discussion and findings with all those involve and future event organizers.