Picture of an open laptop screen with many people in an online session

Quick Start Guide

Event Planning Guide

This list of relatively small and easy steps will help you plan, publicize, evaluate, and document your Preservation Week activities.

You might find it helpful to write out the details for the steps you take. Share them with another staff person or a typical audience member to capture multiple perspectives and to make sure there are no unexpected complications.

Download all event planning tools at once: Event Planning Guide

1. Develop strategies for success

  • Ask yourself, “How does the event help fulfill our mission?” Learn more about Preservation Week’s history, purpose, and background.
  • Gather event planning committee and select a coordinator
  • Define scope of event and brainstorm ideas.
  • Identify event objectives
  • Identify target audience
  • Target collaborative or partnership opportunities. Get tips for working in a partnership.
  • Garner support from staff
  • Talk to others who have had similar events for tips, success and strategies
  • Determine how long you need to plan the event
  • Determine what success would be and how you will evaluate it using these evaluation tools.

2. Make a checklist, including a timetable

  • A checklist with a timetable helps track of all the activities involved with planning an event. Our sample checklist.

3. Create a budget

  • Identify revenue opportunities, if any (donations, concessions, tickets sales, sponsorships)
  • Determine expenses (Printing, permits, speakers, food, supplies, security, room rental)
  • Seek funding opportunities, including current budget, donors, grants

4. Plan logistics

  • Many event planning activities will be going on at the same time, but it’s good to think through whole the process in advance. Some major areas to consider:
    • Set date(s)
    • Identify size requirements
    • Choose location of event
    • Identify set-up needs
    • Decide on catering
    • Decide on and assign clean-up responsibility
    • Make emergency plans in the event of a major unexpected event (power outage, weather, illness)
    • Locate parking

5. Plan Publicity

  • The first purpose of promotion is to publicize event—Brainstorm ways to get the word out (press release, PSA’s, newspaper, banners, newsletters, Website, emails to Friend’s group). Choose your secondary purposes of promotion. Are you trying to:
    • Inform, educate or entertain?
    • Increase awareness or attendance? Public relations and marketing tools.
    • Build a base of support?
    • Facilitate community relations?
    • Build cooperation between organizations with joint program planning?

6. Evaluate

  • Choose an evaluation form or other method from these evaluation tools.
  • Tabulate evaluation forms or other sources of information
  • What worked and what did not?
  • What items were missing on your checklist?
  • Was the program worth doing?
  • Who attended and did you attract a new audience?
  • Did the program meet your goals?

7. Wrap-up

  • Write thank you notes
  • Organize your event documentation
  • Publish a write-up of the event and/or share photos on social media, website, newspaper, newsletter, annual report

About This Text

Adapted from ”Planning Special Events: Blueprints for Success” by Debora Meskauskas, which was adapted from an excerpt of Rashelle Karp, Part-Time Public Relations with Full-Time Results: A PR Primer for Libraries (Chicago: ALA Editions, 1995). This book covers topics ranging from how to write a news release to desktop publishing.