The following information is by no means exhaustive but will help you through the initial stages of preparing for your event.
Starting to think about your event – What is the strategic reason for running your event?
- Showcase expertise?
- Raise money/recognise support?
- Celebrate achievements/anniversaries?
- Engage with an existing or new audience/stakeholder?
How will you achieve this through an event? What type of event would be most suitable?
Work out how much you have to spend on your event and the breakdown of costs, considering the impact on the University’s strategic aims and the value the University will get by running/supporting your event.
Please consider the cost of resources such as room hire (all internal spaces are chargeable) and AV Support which are essential in addition to catering and consumable items.
Consider setting up a project code for your event, if needed as this can help with budget management if the event or conference is large.
Do not underestimate the time and cost involved in organising an event, services. Ensure you have adequate staffing to both plan the event in the run up and to run the event on the day both from your own department but also consider the impact on other teams such as Catering, Porterage/ Cleaning and Security.
Ensure that you have a designated contact available to look after the delegate management and to be available for delegate enquiries in the lead up to the event.
Please consider the environment when planning your event and consult with Rebecca Forster, University Environmental Manager, based in the Estates department who is responsible for the impact that the University’s operations have upon the environment if you have any queries or concerns during planning your event.
Once you have decided who your event is aimed at, start pulling together your targeted and general public invitee list (contact the Events Office for advice). You might want to think about the following contacts (if relevant):
- University Key Contacts including local MPs and councillors (Events Office)
- Alumni and Development Office
- Local schools (Schools and Colleges Team)
- Local Business Contacts (College Office/ Alumni and Development/ Research & Enterprise)
- Media (PR Team)
- Internal staff and students (PR Team/ Blackboard/ Digital Student Life)
- Heads of School
- Senior Management
Many events, from experience have a low acceptance (c. 40%) so ensure you have an adequate invitation list (A-list for most valuable guests and a B-list to use if needed) and allow time for a personal approach to chase RSVPs.
Be prepared for “no shows” at the event and record these as well as attendees. This can be useful for post event evaluation.
- When promoting your event to your audience, it is important to set expectations, so that your visitors know what to expect of your event. Small things, that are often forgotten:
- Inform your guests of where to park (The University provides a pay and display car park at evenings and weekends for events)
- Provide a campus map so they know where they are going
- Let them know about what the event will involve including timings/ refreshments / dress code if any.
- Allow your guests to tell you what they need – accessibility / special dietary requirements.
- Final reminder email, which should be sent a minimum of 3-7 days before the event to allow for final queries and cancellations.
- Signage on the day
- Event equipment – Do you need tablecloths/ banners e.t.c.
Once expectations have been set, ensure adequate planning so that these expectations can be met and even exceeded on the day.