What to Include in a Strategic Event Plan
The planning process may begin with a brainstorming session as you consider the purpose of your event, what you hope to accomplish, and what resources are available. Keep in mind that, while it’s important to cover all your bases and not overlook important details, there is something to be said for brevity. Being concise - perhaps even limiting your event plan to one page - can encourage clarity and make you more likely to follow it. Keeping a plan short may be especially useful if you are creating an event template that other members of your organization will use to arrange future events. Having a clear protocol to follow will make it easier to maintain standards and requirements as team members and event details fluctuate.
As you think about how to craft an event that will meet your objectives, here are a few things to keep in mind and include in your plan:
- Purpose of Event: In addition to vital event details like dates, times, location, and other logistics, it’s important to know what you hope to achieve. Do you want to accomplish a specific goal such as fundraising or education? Maybe you want your event to meet several objectives, such as launching a product, increasing brand awareness, and boosting sales. Keeping the purpose of the event in mind can help you develop an effective strategy for meeting those objectives.
- Target Audience: Identifying your target audience and their needs can guide your marketing efforts as well as your event planning. How will you meet their needs? How will your event stand out from the competition?
- Event Benefits and Value: Once you determine what your audience needs, you can identify the speakers, entertainment, activities, and messaging that will be most effective. Does your event offer a unique value proposition that potential attendees won’t want to miss?
- Event Marketing and Metrics: Outline all of the marketing channels you will utilize to promote your event, and create a timeline for each phase of marketing. In addition to metrics for tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns, identify any other key metrics that you’ll use to evaluate the event as a whole.
- Budget: Consider both costs and revenue as you plan your event.
Once an event ends, the purpose of event management is to collect and evaluate key metrics. Whether you measure ticket sales and attendance, solicit feedback from participants, or conduct a performance review of the entire planning and event process, performing an evaluation can help you understand what was successful and what needs improvement. This type of information is critical data that you can use to inform decisions about future events.
Event Planning Templates
Event Planner Template
This event plan template includes areas where you can list strategic elements such as objectives, target audience, and messaging as well as logistical details such as catering, programming, and audio-visual requirements. For each task, identify who is responsible, required actions, and deadlines. This thorough template can guide your planning process and provide a summary of tasks to accomplish during an event.
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Event Schedule Template
Create an event itinerary that includes dates, locations, programming start and end times, and scheduled breaks. This simple spreadsheet is a useful tool for creating an organized event schedule that you can share with staff and attendees. You can also use this template for a single- or multi-day event, or for a conference featuring multiple speakers who will be presenting in various venue rooms.
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Event Marketing Timeline Template - Excel
Marketing efforts for larger events may include national advertising, online content, public relations, and market research. This template provides a place for individual marketing campaigns along with a timeline for weekly planning. By creating a timeline for each task within a campaign, you can gauge how actions overlap, plan for significant dates, and see a visual representation of the time required for each item.
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Event To-Do List Template
Use this to-do list template to plan, prioritize, and carry out all the necessary tasks for your event. You can track the progress of each item toward completion by choosing a predetermined due date. The template includes room for additional notes or comments, which is particularly useful when sharing a to-do list.
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Event Proposal Template - Word
If you’re an events planner, having a top-notch proposal to offer potential clients could give you an edge against the competition. This template provides an outline for you to work from as you craft a personalized event management proposal. You’ll find sections for listing client needs and expenses, detailing the services you will provide, and more.
Event Planner Contract Template
An event planner contract should clearly outline the expectations of the client, the responsibilities of the event planner, the terms of the agreement, and any pertinent project details. You may also want to include a contract with your event proposal - in this case, use this template as a model for creating your own event planner contract where you can list services, terms, and other important business details. Depending on the scope of the event and the management services you’re providing, you can keep the contents of the contract brief or expand the template to include more details.
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Wedding Checklist Template - Excel
Professional wedding planners and individuals getting married can benefit from an event checklist template. Wedding planning involves many moving pieces, from decorations to food and photography, so a simple checklist can make planning easier, and help identify expenses and ensure that nothing important is forgotten. Get more wedding planning tips from the pros and discover additional useful templates by reading Expert Tips on How To Create A Wedding Timeline.
Event Evaluation Form
A post-conference evaluation can provide critical data about which elements of your event were successful and help identify areas for improvement. You can use this event evaluation for any type of event, and can customize it for internal team members or event attendees. Once you determine the information you want to collect, including which aspects of the event or planning process you want to review, simply customize the form to meet your needs.
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Calendar of Events Template
This template provides a calendar format with an adjacent column for listing events. The calendar displays all 12 months of the year on a single Excel sheet, making it easy to scan through months, plan ahead, and quickly view the events listed in the corresponding column. Each month is also color-coded with alternating hues for easy viewing.
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Event Budget Templates
Conference Budget Template - Excel
A budget is an important conference management tool that planners use to identify expenses and resource requirements, inform event decisions, and support an overall plan. Use this template to estimate projected costs and track actual expenses. Comparing your projections with actual costs can help to create more accurate estimations for future conferences.
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Event Budget Template - Excel
This event budget template itemizes expenses in a spreadsheet format and also represents data as visual charts. You can use this format to quickly identify which costs are using the largest percentage of the budget. For example, you might discover that certain costs, such as event programming, food service, advertising, and venue rentals are the biggest expenses. The template includes a section for comments where you can jot down brainstorming notes or share messages with your event team.
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Party Budget Template - Excel
Organize your party planning and track your budget with this template. It includes a summary of expenses and total costs, and a pie chart that both divides costs into categories and provides a detailed breakdown of expenses for each. Cells are pre-populated with common costs, such as equipment rentals or security and cleaning services; however, you can easily edit the fields to suit your requirements.
Wedding Budget Template - Excel
This budget planner separates wedding costs into categories including apparel, decorations, reception, and photography. On the template, these categories are broken down into more detailed lists of expenses - this allows you to account for both large and small items, determine which categories are most costly, and ensure that the wedding stays within budget.
Event Venue and Vendor Templates
Food Vendor Application Template
If you’re planning a conference or an event with food vendors, this template can help streamline the application process. Collect information from each vendor, including contact details, goods or services they offer, and permits. You can also add rules and regulations that each vendor must agree to in order to participate in the event.
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Event Venue Checklist
Use this checklist template to inspect venues and determine whether they meet the requirements for your event. Items to check include fees, venue capacity, parking, audiovisual options, and more. Following a checklist can help you identify potential issues and provide a quick comparison between venue options.
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Catering Vendor Checklist
This catering checklist template offers an easy way to interview caterers. Catering fees can add up quickly, so it’s important to request detailed estimates for accurate budgeting. While some venues may include catering with their services, you will still need to provide the vendor with event details and make sure you understand their policies.
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Event Speaker Checklist
Organize all of the details about your speakers or event entertainment, including audiovisual and other equipment requirements for presentations or performances. Speaker selection is an integral part of event management, so it behooves you to ensure that each presentation is successful. Advance planning may include arranging transportation, collecting speaker bios, and locating and securing necessary equipment.
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Wedding Vendor List Template
Wedding planners can use this template to keep track of all the vendors they plan to work with or are supplying bids. There are sections to include contact information, contract status, costs, and services provided. You can also include a rating score based on your experience of working with a vendor, professional reviews, or comparison with their competitors.
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Sign-Up and Attendance Templates
Event Sign-Up Sheet Template
If you’re recruiting volunteers for an event, you may find a printable sign-up sheet, such as this one, instrumental in gathering info. Simply post this template at the event to quickly collect names, contact information, and any other details you might need (such as affiliation with the event), or add a space where volunteers can sign up for specific tasks. Simply adjust the column labels to include the information you are seeking.
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Conference Sign-In Sheet Template
To ensure that all attendees are present at a conference or training event, have them add their signatures to this sign-in sheet. At the top of the template there is room for conference details so that the sheet can tracked and filed easily. You can modify this basic form and use it to collect attendance details at any type of event.
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Party Sign-Up Sheet Template
Whether you’re planning a company party or team building outing, a sign-up sheet can give you an idea of how many people will attend. This template includes columns for setup and cleanup so that volunteers can plan ahead for these duties.
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Increase Event Success with Real-Time Planning in Smartsheet
Templates can help you plan, organize, and collect critical data for planning events. Once you begin the day-to-day work on the event, you’ll quickly discover a need for a central repository to track key documents, share information with your team, and perhaps even to automate data collection. Smartsheet is a work management and automation platform that enables enterprises and teams to work better. Over 74,000 brands and millions of information workers trust Smartsheet to help them align the right people, resources, and processes to get work done.
With its familiar interfaces, Smartsheet is designed for how people actually work, leading to rapid and broad adoption across your organization. Use self-service reports and dashboards in Smartsheet to provide real-time visibility into resources, status, and performance so you can rapidly align operations to strategy.
Discover why millions of professionals around the world use Smartsheet to get from idea to impact, fast.