Holding a successful event is very much
dependent on the quality of planning that goes into it. A very
large event can seem overwhelming at the outset, but all successful
events follow the same basic pattern of planning. When taken in
steps, anything is manageable.
Following are ten general recommended steps to consider to host a
successful event anywhere.
Before You Start
Determine the needs and desires of the planning committee
and those you want to attend the program.
What types of things do you want to happen at the program
or event? What is its purpose? Is it to educate or entertain or
perhaps just to bring people together?
People take interest in the programs they help to plan.
Get as many people involved as is reasonable. What other campus
organizations/departments can help? Seek out co-sponsorships. Don't
try to do all this yourself. Delegate the tasks that need to be
done throughout your organization to make this event
Set the Details
Find an appropriate date, time and location for the event.
Consider the availability of your audience and space. Consult the
College 24-month planning calendar on-line at www.snc.edu/calendar/planningcal.htm
so you do not compete with other events. Then check for space
availability (see Site/Facility
Reservations and Usage
for more information).
How will you fund this event? If you don’t already have
organizational funds to support it, you will need to find other
sources of funding. Student Government Association
are an excellent resource, and you need to apply
for one of these at this early stage in your program
Use a programming checklist to plan the program. Be sure
to determine who, what, when, where and why for all aspects of your
plan. There are helpful checklists on this site if you don't
already have one (See Forms and Helpful
Backwards planning is essential and relatively easy. By
working backward before you ever start to go forward, you run less
chance of overlooking important components, realizing that you have
five major tasks to complete by tomorrow, or not starting
preliminary work in time to meet deadlines. Careful pre-planning
gives you a better chance for a smooth process and a successful
event: They are as follows:
- State what your finished result will be (i.e., over 200
students leaving the theater on November 15, glad they came).
- Make a list of the major steps to the finished result (i.e.,
arrange for facilitator/announcer, provide ushers, arrange for
lodging and hospitality for speaker, publicize to organizations,
contract speaker, reserve Walter Theatre, seek grant funding,
- Using a calendar, create your timeline for accomplishing each
step. Give yourself time limits and set deadlines which will give
you appropriate time to complete the task without rushing.
- Be aware of possible obstacles and distractions. Do you
anticipate anything sidetracking this event or your helpers? Write
down all possible obstacles and distractions.
- State the substeps. Work out the fine details of each major
- Work the plan. Put your strategy into action.
- Revise and flex according to needs. Adapt and adjust your
original plan to accommodate any emergencies or
- Complete your plan and accomplish your task.
To make your event successful, people have to know about
it. Use multiple means of publicity for the most impact. Consider
your potential audience and best ways to get the word to them. Word
of mouth is one of the most effective means of publicizing an
event. See the Publicity/Marketing/Media section
for detailed information.
Lights, Camera, Action
Make the event happen! Follow your checklist. Don’t get
panicked by the big picture. If you’ve done a good job in your
pre-planning, the steps will help make things more manageable.
Follow-up on the tasks delegated and be sure to have all necessary
items for your program.
The following are a few basic ideas to follow for the day it
- First, you should be there AT LEAST a half-hour before the
event is scheduled to begin.
- Confirm all the "last-minute" details of the event.
- Check the space that you are using and be sure that it is clean
and in order.
- If your event is a trip off-campus, on the day of the trip we
recommend that all who attend fill out waiver forms to offset
potential liability. Waivers should be collected and held for
- Greet your presenter in a warm, polite, and businesslike
manner. (After all, you are both there for one reason only --
- After the event is finished, do a thorough clean-up of the area
and return everything to their proper places.
- Make sure to thank everyone involved...the headliner, your
staff, and especially your audience! Without them, you would not
have an event!
- Send out thank-you notes or cards the following day or the
Take some time to evaluate your program, especially if
you plan to do it again or received student activity fee money in
the form of a grant or allocation. What was your attendance? What
would you change? What can you learn for your next event? There is
a helpful evaluation form in the Forms