12 Steps to Planning a Successful Event - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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12 Steps to Planning a Successful Event

12 Steps to Planning a Successful Event

It is the season of galas, charity balls and fundraisers galore. They are fun to attend but often stressful to plan. Here is a step-by-step guide to designing a successful and stress-free event this season. 

1. Find the ‘Why’

The first step to planning an event is establishing a goal and an objective. So, step one — what is the purpose of this event? What are the goals to achieve?  

2. Gather Your People

Remember to delegate responsibility. Any event takes team effort to handle all of the details.

Identify one key committee member to serve as the event chair and individual chairpersons for subcommittees. Examples of subcommittees are venue, speakers, entertainment, publicity, sponsors, transportation, volunteer management, etc. 

3. Save the Date

Set a date for the event and consider the following before confirming the selected date. 

  • Dedicate enough time. Ideally, designate four to six months to plan, but this depends upon the nature of the event
  • Be aware of holidays
  • Avoid school holidays or major events — i.e., the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a major holiday by Tampa Bay standards
  • Check dates with key participants such as speakers, presenters, VIP guests or stakeholders

4. Brand it, Baby

To stand out from the crowd, choose a theme that is both compelling and timely and sets it apart from other events that might be going on. The event’s name is a crucial attention-getter, especially online.

Consider designing a logo to represent the event. A logo is an effective branding tool and can be used for event swag. Remember to assign an original hashtag for social media presence, too. 

5. Master Plan

Create a master plan that includes all aspects of the event. Be sure to check this plan two or 20 times to make sure everything has been covered. 

The plan should note all aspects of the event, including:

  • Venue selection and logistics
  • Catering 
  • Speakers and presenters 
  • Activities and entertainment
  • Publicity and promotion
  • Sponsorship and partner management
  • Volunteer management

6. Who is the Boss?

Determine the administrative processes. Decide how to keep track of event planning.

7. Sponsorships

Consider searching for organizations that will assist in sponsoring this event. A sponsorship will help buffer the cost and likely increase participation and attendance.

Tampa Florida has a Business Directory that can help in the search for potential sponsors. For information, visit tampafloridabusinessdirectory.com  

8. Publicize, Publicize, Publicize 

Even with the best keynote speaker or entertainment lineup, publicity will almost always be necessary to bring people through the door. Event promotion includes online and offline publicity, media relations and ongoing outreach to encourage registration. Start with a notice on websites or socials and save-the-date emails.

9. Budget

The budget should incorporate estimates for all critical items in the master plan. Remember to include any travel or accommodation costs for speakers or presenters.

See Also

10. Enjoy the Event

It can be hard to do when there is so much to do, but be sure to take a moment and enjoy the event that has taken so much time and effort to plan.

11. Thank-You Notes

Post-event thank-you notes are important for building good relationships for you’re the next event. Let the team know all their hard work is appreciated.

It may be a good idea to share the news with local media outlets and gain some publicity.

12. Evaluate 

Evaluate how everything went and how the event’s success should be measured. Take notes, and remember to incorporate any changes into the next event. 

Happy hosting!

By Meredith Biesinger.

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