Approaching Uncertainty with Certainty – How to Develop a Great Event Plan

There’s an old saying, “Hope for the best, expect the worst”. And, if we have learned one thing from 2020, it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Whether you are still adapting in-person events to follow new public health guidelines or taking your events online, having a solid event plan in place can help you navigate any unexpected complications.

Whether you are adapting your existing plans or starting fresh, experts tend to offer some of the same basic advice.  Here are some of the leading practices, compiled from these experts, that will help you create an event plan that help you handle uncertainty with certainty.

  1. Identify your event goals and how much time you have to achieve them
    • Are you hosting an annual event or a one-time promotional event for your organization? Are you focusing on growing your audience/participation? Is it a fundraiser?
  2. Establish your minimum, and maximum, budget for the event
    • What are the costs of a blended (in-person with digital component) event? Does it make sense to do both aspects, or focus on just one? What costs can be eliminated? What costs are essential?
  3. Identify venues, both in-person and for digital platform options
    • What physical spaces are needed for the event? Will they be open to the public? What options do we have for recording, or live-streaming, the event?
  4. Identify partners and supporters and how to include them
    • How do we retain past partners? How do we generate new partners? What do we have to offer as part of this event?
  5. Identify your ‘star attraction’ and main hooks for generating interest
    • Does holding a digital event increase your talent pool for presenters/performers? What is the main feature of our event?
  6. Develop, build, and implement your marketing campaign
    • What new marketing approaches are needed for this event? How can we improve previous strategies? What new platforms exist for promotion? Are there marketing partnerships that can be developed?
  7. What is our back-up plan?
    • If it’s in-person, can it be moved online if needed? If it’s digital, can it be recorded for future sharing? Do we have the expertise, either internally or externally, to deal with technology problems?

While these steps are not exhaustive, they serve as a great starting point to help ensure that your organization is ready to address any challenges you might have in setting up your next event.

References for Further Reading

How to Plan an Event: A Simple 8-Step Guide

5 Phases of Event Management for Success

How to Plan an Event (Checklist Included)

Event Planning Guide 2020