A successful event requires thoughtful planning. Use the sample timeline below to help determine what to do and when, but also talk with those who have planned past events to see what timelines worked well for them. 4 to 9 months in advance
Decide what the event will be and when it will be held. (Keep in mind that the date and time may depend on the availability of a venue or speaker.)
Set the budget for this event. If you want an event sponsor, approach those people as soon as you can since that will factor into your budget.
Determine who from your chapter will be involved, what is required of the location, what deadlines have to be met, etc., and map out a plan.
Secure the venue as early as possible! This is especially important if you want to use a popular location in your area or will need to work around the schedule at a busy office or farm.
If you need a speaker or people for a panel, get commitments well in advance of the event.
Plan out how you will advertise this event and the timeline for those promotions.
2 months in advance
Determine what you will need for food, beverage and audio-visual help if this is not included with your venue. Select vendors and sign contracts for your event.
Make sure you have delegated responsibilities appropriately to volunteers.
Set up and open registration for the event. Send a receipt/confirmation once a person registers that contains all event details.
Make sure the event is listed in any appropriate places online.
If you don’t already have one, develop a list of potential members to invite. National NAMA can help with this.
Begin promotions via email/social media and start sending email/postcard invitations.
Order any promotional items or giveaways.
Make sure all speakers and others involved have committed to be at your event.
1 month in advance
Continue promotions and start following up on invitations with those who haven’t registered.
If you have a sponsor, be in contact with them about their recognition to ensure that it happens during the event.
Print any needed signage, flyers, etc.
Prepare a plan or script for the event to ensure things flow well and there is no wasted time for attendees.
Check in with your event team to have everyone report on progress, issues, etc., and plan out how you’ll follow up with people after the event.
2 weeks in advance
Continue promotions and follow ups on invitations.
Confirm that everything is set and ready to go with speakers, vendors, etc.
Review script/plan for the day of the event and make any needed adjustments.
Meet with event team to ensure nothing has been forgotten in planning and that everything is on track.
1 week in advance
Send event confirmation reminder emails to everyone who is registered.
Send a final invitation via email to potential members who aren’t registered.
Put together any informational packets, gift bags or giveaways being handed out.
1 to 2 days before the event
Have an attendee list and name tags prepared.
Have all important phone numbers and email addresses on a list in case of a last-minute emergency.
Have a checklist of everything you need to do or verify is done the day of event.
Post a final event reminder on social media.
Make sure anything you’re bringing to the event is packed and ready to go.
Day of event
Arrive early to the venue and make sure everything and everyone is there and ready to warmly welcome potential new members.
Test all AV and technology being used (if any).
Set out any handouts, flyers and promotional items.
Have a fantastic event and don’t forget to take pictures!
After the event
Send thank you notes to event team volunteers and any speakers/tour hosts.
Follow up with attendees who are not members to thank them for coming and invite them to join and come to future meetings and events.
Pay any bills from the event.
Collect feedback on the event (form filled out the day of or emailed surveys) and review to help with planning and improving future events.
Share photos and a recap with Debbie Brummel at the National Office (email@example.com)!