Event Management

Event Planning Checklist for Small, Medium, and Large Events [2019 Update]

January 23rd, 2019

event planning

Making an event planning checklist is hard. Like, really hard.

You don’t know where to start, and you’d think the smallest events would be easier to manage, and for the most part, it’s true, but then again every attendee counts, and engagement will need to be more personalized. The larger the event, the more planning needs to go into place with promotional material and venues.

To help simplify the process for you, we’ve created 3 separate checklists for the small, medium, and large events.

Checkboxes are goals to complete
Circles are options to choose from as the others in the category are exclusive.

Jump to Checklist

Small (10-50 Attendees)
Medium (51-200 Attendees)
Large (200+ Attendees)

Print Versions Available

Small Event Checklist – PDF

Medium Event Checklist – PDF

Large Event Checklist – PDF

Small Events (10-50)

EventBank - Best Practices on Member Engagement, Singapore 2018

Small events are a great way to create personable events that cater to an engaged few. No matter the context of the event, whether it’s a roundtable, a luncheon, a talk, class, etc, the audience there is smaller, and the topic will be directly related to them. This means the event is less of a planning-heavy ordeal and more of a content and engagement ordeal. Due to the small nature of events at this size, the variety of event types is much larger as more context and options can be explored.

If you’re planning 4-6 months in advance of the event, then it’s likely going to be a much larger event. Let’s start modestly at 3-4 months in advance of something like a workshop of sorts in mind.

Small Event Checklist – PDF

Choose Type of Event

◯ Workshop

◯ Roundtable

◯ Talk

◯ Presentation

◯ Demo

◯ Hackathon

◯ Luncheon

◯ Networking/mixer

◯ Panel

◯ Other

Checklist

3 Months in Advance

☐ Gather Your Speaker Bios, Headshots, social media accounts, etc

This will be used on marketing materials to help give credibility to the content providers of your event.

☐ Arrange for transportation and housing

Arrange these for your speakers, these are guests bringing value to your event, so always make sure they are taken care of.

☐ Make sure it’s all legal

Drafting a contract for a short, temporary event is important to cover your bases should anything go wrong and you’re not held liable for a third part (speaker’s) actions or comments at the event.

☐ Analyze venue and supplies costs

Make sure you know your total cost so you can understand how to price your tickets so that you come out with a profit. Unless the event is free, in this case this step can be skipped.

☐ Set up online registration and ticketing

Ensure that attendees have scannable bar codes or tickets. Event for free events, ticketing is important for collecting attendee contact info for later marketing use.

☐ Plan pricing packages

Include VIP and Early Bird Pricing to entice engaged attendees early on.

☐ Identify items to be accounted for and underwritten as an expense before taking on sponsors or vendors.

Choose a Venue

☐ Match floor-space to your event type

No obstructed views to the stage/main table/screen

☐ Plan table/seating/stage arrangements

Classroom style will have rows of chairs facing the speaker, round table will be a literal round table or set of round tables, panels will need a mixture of both, etc

☐ Know your minimum and capacities of the venue
☐ Inquire if the venue has F&B capacities or policies
☐ Make sure parking is available
☐ Choose a Location that makes sense

Promotion

☐ Draft Event Schedule
☐ Purchase spots on radio
☐ Publish Articles on Local news
☐ Publish Blogs online to share on social media
☐ Gather Logos from your sponsors and vendors
☐ Create Press list & prepare Press Release all media kit materials (e.g., speaker info, photos, logos, etc.)
☐ Create an event page/website
☐ Enable/create email reminders
☐ Start a Facebook event page
☐ Film a promo video for social sharing and hosting on your webpage
☐ Register and schedule your event on online calendars
☐ Participate in industry-related subreddits on Reddit, discussions on Yahoo, Quora, and so on.
☐ Work with your speakers and sponsors to have them share your event on their social circles, or even better, their own newsletters.

2 Months Prior to Event

☐ Remind early registrants of event updates via email
☐ Double Check Speaker content, decks, and scripts
☐ Follow up with your sponsors, make sure they are aware of the event updates or else they could drop this sponsorship.
☐ Always reach out to media and press
☐ Be active on social media, blog posts, etc.

Engage with your attendees and excite them enough to share the event with their friends.

1 Week Ahead

☐ Sit down with your event organizers, sponsors, speakers, etc and come up with back up contingencies
☐ Finalize your event script
☐ Finalize seating plan, name cards, etc.
☐ Provide your final registration numbers to your caterer so they can plan ahead
☐ Invite press to attend the event for free so they may photograph, videotape, or record the event for later publication.

1 Day Ahead

☐ Send reminder emails to all participants about the event so you can summarize what they can expect at the event, to avoid confusion
☐ Make sure all your marketing materials are in place at the venue

Event Day

☐ Have ticketing staff be ready to scan codes or sign walk-ins if you allow for this.
☐ Allow press to enter first so they can set up their equipment before attendees get seated
☐ Test Equipment like microphones, projectors, etc.
☐ Take plenty of photos/video

Post-Event

After the event ends, the first thing you want to do is check over your finances and make sure tickets were accounted for, paid in full (usually this can be done online, but who knows).

However, this is not the end of the road. This is a perfect time to reach back out to attendees to get feedback, engage attendees to share the event, and follow up with vendors and sponsors for the same reasons.

☐ Financial status: gather all receipts, documentation, final registration data, etc. and update budget
☐ Send Post-Event Surveys (email is ☐ Follow-up Communication with Event Participants, call them to action so they can share the event with their social circles.
☐  If this event has further events coming up, mention it when sharing your event’s success.

Medium Events (51-200)

Medium Event Planning Checklist

Medium size events host attendees and guests in the low hundreds range, so the personalization of the event is less stringent, but in lieu of this, it becomes more important to provide well-oiled plans with a much more encompassing schedule of activities. The type of events may be similar but everything at this point is scaled up. More speakers, more time, larger spaces, more engagement, and better organization is key to scaling small events, into medium sized events.

Event costs and considerations come much earlier in the process than a small event, as mistakes, later on, could spell disaster for medium to large size events, where losing one aspect of your event in terms of negotiation and pricing, could end it before it even begins.

Medium Event Checklist – PDF

Choose Type of Event

◯ Talk

◯ Presentation

◯ Demo

◯ Panel Talks

◯ Other

Checklist

High-Level Planning: 4-6 Months Ahead of Event

☐ Set the Topic and Goal of your event
☐ Select a date

Make sure the event is not close to a similar event that eats into your audience’s industry or wants.

Select an ideal venue and negotiate details
☐ Know your minimum and capacities of the venue
☐ Inquire if the venue has F&B capacities or policies
☐ Make sure parking is available
☐ Choose a Location that makes sense

This must come earlier in the event plan, as larger venues may be more competitive, and require more negotiation. There’s a lot of moving parts in larger spaces.

☐ Recruit event staff, including managers, equipment technicians, etc
☐ Identify and confirm speakers/presenters/entertainers
☐ Identify and contact sponsors/partners

Get speakers long before you consider your sponsors and partners. No one will negotiate terms with you for sponsorship deals if you don’t have a good speaker lineup

3 Months in Advance

☐ Gather Your Speaker Bios, Headshots, social media accounts, etc

This will be used on marketing materials to help give credibility to the content providers of your event. *

Arrange for transportation and housing

Arrange these for your speakers, these are guests bringing value to your event, so always make sure they are taken care of. *

☐ Make sure it’s all legal

Drafting a contract for a short, temporary event is important to cover your bases should anything go wrong and you’re not held liable for a third part (speaker’s) actions or comments at the event.

☐ Analyze venue and supplies costs

Make sure you know your total cost so you can understand how to price your tickets so that you come out with a profit. Unless the event is free, in this case this step can be skipped.

☐ Set up online registration and ticketing

Ensure that attendees have scannable bar codes or tickets. Event for free events, ticketing is important for collecting attendee contact info for later marketing use.

☐ Plan pricing packages

Include VIP and Early Bird Pricing to entice engaged attendees early on.

☐ Identify items to be accounted for and underwritten as an expense before taking on sponsors or vendors.

Promotion

☐ Draft Event Schedule
☐ Purchase spots on radio
☐ Publish Articles on Local news
☐ Publish Blogs online to share on social media
☐ Gather Logos from your sponsors and vendors
☐ Create Press list & prepare Press Release all media kit materials (e.g., speaker info, photos, etc.)
☐ Create event page/website
☐ Enable/create email reminders
☐ Start a Facebook event page
☐ Film a promo video for social sharing and hosting on your webpage
☐ Register and schedule your event on online calendars
☐ Participate in industry-related subreddits on Reddit, discussions on Yahoo, Quora, and so on.
☐ Work with your speakers and sponsors to have them share your event on their social circles, or even better, their own newsletters.

2 Months Prior to Event

☐ Remind early registrants of event updates via email
☐ Double Check Speaker content, decks, and scripts
☐ Follow up with your sponsors, make sure they are aware of the event updates or else they could drop this sponsorship.
☐ Always reach out to media and press
☐ Be active on social media, blog posts, etc.

Engage with your attendees and excite them enough to share the event with their friends.*

1 Week Ahead

☐ Sit down with your event organizers, sponsors, speakers, etc and come up with back up contingencies
☐ Finalize your event script
☐ Finalize seating plan, name cards, etc.
☐ Provide your final registration numbers to your caterer so they can plan ahead
☐ Invite press to attend the event for free so they may photograph, videotape, or record the event for later publication.

1 Day Ahead

☐ Send reminder emails to all participants about the event so you can summarize what they can expect at the event, to avoid confusion
☐ Make sure all your marketing materials are in place at the venue

Event Day

☐ Have ticketing staff be ready to scan codes or sign walk-ins if you allow for this.
☐ Allow press to enter first so they can set up their equipment before attendees get seated
☐ Test Equipment like microphones, projectors, etc.
☐ Take plenty of photos

Post-event

After the event ends, the first thing you want to do is check over your finances and make sure tickets were accounted for, paid in full (usually this can be done online, but who knows).

However, this is not the end of the road. This is a perfect time to reach back out to attendees to get feedback, engage attendees to share the event, and follow up with vendors and sponsors for the same reasons.

☐ Financial status: gather all receipts, documentation, final registration data, etc. and update budget
☐ Send Post-Event Surveys (email is easiest) – to learn what people enjoyed about your event, and where you have room to improve.
☐ Follow-up Communication with Event Participants, call them to action so they can share the event with their social circles.
☐ If this event has further events coming up, mention it when sharing your event’s success.

Large Events (200+)

large event planning

Large events are incredibly hard to handle due to the expectation of more than a few hundred, to even a few thousands coming in attendance. That means you’re going to have to really double down on the setup aspect of the venue, as well as

Event costs and considerations come much earlier in the process than a small event, as mistakes, later on, could spell disaster for medium to large size events, where losing one aspect of your event in terms of negotiation and pricing, could end it before it even begins.

Large Event Checklist – PDF

Choose Type of Event

◯ Talk
◯ Presentation
◯ Demo
◯ Panel Talks
◯ Exhibition
◯ Convention
◯ Other

Checklist

High-Level Planning: 4-6 Months Ahead of Event

☐ Set the Topic and Goal of your event
☐ Select a date

Make sure the event is not close to a similar event that eats into your audience’s industry or wants.

☐ Select an ideal venue and negotiate details
☐ Know your minimum and capacities of the venue
☐ Inquire if the venue has F&B capacities or policies
☐ Make sure parking is available
☐ Choose a Location that makes sense

This must come earlier in the event plan, as larger venues may be more competitive, and require more negotiation. There’s a lot of moving parts in larger spaces.

☐ Recruit event staff, including managers, equipment technicians, etc
☐ Identify and confirm speakers/presenters/entertainers
☐ Identify and contact sponsors/partners.

Get speakers long before you consider your sponsors and partners. No one will negotiate terms with you for sponsorship deals if you don’t have a good speaker lineup

3 Months in Advance

☐ Gather Your Speaker Bios, Headshots, social media accounts, etc

☐ This will be used on marketing materials to help give credibility to the content providers of your event. *

☐ Arrange for transportation and housing

Arrange these for your speakers, these are guests bringing value to your event, so always make sure they are taken care of.

☐ Make sure it’s all legal

Drafting a contract for a short, temporary event is important to cover your bases should anything go wrong and you’re not held liable for a third part (speaker’s) actions or comments at the event.

☐ Analyze venue and supplies costs

Make sure you know your total cost so you can understand how to price your tickets so that you come out with a profit. Unless the event is free, in this case this step can be skipped.

☐ Set up online registration and ticketing

Ensure that attendees have scannable bar codes or tickets. Event for free events, ticketing is important for collecting attendee contact info for later marketing use. Click here to learn about scannable QR codes.

Plan pricing packages

Include VIP and Early Bird Pricing to entice engaged attendees early on.

☐ Identify items to be accounted for and underwritten as an expense before taking on sponsors or vendors.

Promotion

☐ Draft Event Schedule
☐ Purchase spots on radio
☐ Publish Articles on Local news
☐ Publish Blogs online to share on social media
☐ Gather Logos from your sponsors and vendors
☐ Create Press list & prepare Press Release all media kit materials (e.g., speaker info, photos, etc.)
☐ Create event page/website
☐ Enable/create email reminders
☐ Start a Facebook event page
☐ Film a promo video for social sharing and hosting on your webpage
☐ Register and schedule your event on online calendars
☐ Participate in industry-related subreddits on Reddit, discussions on Yahoo, Quora, and so on.
☐ Work with your speakers and sponsors to have them share your event on their social circles, or even better, their own newsletters.
☐ Put up billboards

Billboards and other print advertisement will benefit large events, but it’s important to know what this is only good if you expect your audience to be broad. If you have a specific niche in mind to attend, then it may not be a wise choice to go for print advertising, as you’ll be constrained on locations to put up ads.

2 Months Prior to Event

☐ Remind early registrants of event updates via email
☐ Double Check Speaker content, decks, and scripts
☐ Follow up with your sponsors, make sure they are aware of the event updates or else they could drop this sponsorship.
☐ Always reach out to media and press
☐ Be active on social media, blog posts, etc.

Engage with your attendees and excite them enough to share the event with their friends.

1 Week Ahead

☐ Sit down with your event organizers, sponsors, speakers, etc and come up with back up contingencies
☐ Finalize your event script
☐ Finalize seating plan, name cards, etc.

☐ Invite press to attend the event for free so they may photograph, videotape, or record the event for later publication.

1 Day Ahead

☐ Send reminder emails to all participants about the event so you can summarize what they can expect at the event, to avoid confusion
☐ Make sure all your marketing materials are in place at the venue

Event Day

☐ Have ticketing staff be ready to scan codes or sign walk-ins if you allow for this.
☐ Allow press to enter first so they can set up their equipment before attendees get seated
☐ Test Equipment like microphones, projectors, etc.
☐ Take plenty of photos

Post-event

Of course after an event this large, you’ll need to double check your finances of the event and make sure you can cover your costs. However, the most important thing to do after an event of this scale is to give back more value to your attendees after the fact. This is usually done by sharing full video recordings, live streams, and media coverage.

However, this is not the end of the road. This is a perfect time to reach back out to attendees to get feedback, engage attendees to share the event, and follow up with vendors and sponsors for the same reasons.

☐ Financial status: gather all receipts, documentation, final registration data, etc. and update budget
☐ Send Post-Event Surveys (email is easiest) – to learn what people enjoyed about your event, and where you have room to improve.
☐ Follow-up Communication with Event Participants, call them to action so they can share the event with their social circles.
☐ If this event has further events coming up, mention it when sharing your event’s success.

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