Special Events and Your Partnership – Partnership Event Checklist

Organising a big community business partnership event can be a stressful time. Knowing what to do, what to organise and stressing over “missing something” are all feelings that may cause event organisers some sleepless nights in the lead up to the event.

But it doesn’t have to be like that – with a bit of planning and plenty of lead-in time, your event doesn’t have to cause you heaps of stress.

This Help Sheet is designed to give you a list of things to do to work through when organising that special event – be it a fundraiser or another joint partnership event. It is divided into categories, with a number of questions to answer in each.

It is important to note that not all of these points are relevant to every partnership event – some will not be applicable depending on what type of event you are organising. We would advise you to use this as you would any planning tool, as well as adapting it to your needs.

Fundraising Event Checklist

The Basics

  • Name of event:
  • Type of event (for example – seminar, working bee, celebration, etc):
  • Aim of event:
  • Date scheduled:
  • Time:
  • Location:
  • Number of people expected:
  • Key personnel involved:
  • Estimated cost (if applicable):
  • Projected income (if applicable):
  • Expected profit (if applicable):

The Details

Communications

  • Has a running sheet been developed for the event?
  • Has it been distributed to those it needs to go to? That may include:
    • Senior partnership staff
    • Any partnership volunteers
    • Sponsors
    • The media (with a press release or press kit).
    • People speaking, entertaining or MC-ing at the event
    • Guests (if applicable).
    • Venue management/catering staff (if applicable).
    • Local council/local traders (particularly if it is a big event).
    • Emergency services/Police/SES/St John's Ambulance/ Transport companies (Particularly if it is a big event and in need of crowd control or extra traffic management).
  • Have any necessary pre-event briefings been held with stakeholders and participants?
  • Do you have enough volunteer support for the event (obviously vital if it is a volunteer-focussed event like a working bee)?
  • Do all those taking part know what they are to do – before, during and after the event if applicable. In other words, do they have instructions or task sheets?

Publicity

  • Have flyers and promotional material been prepared and displayed in as many places as possible?
  • Has everyone on your database or mailing list received a flyer or invitation about the event, and have they had a chance to respond if they want to take part.
  • If you are doing so, have paid advertisements been compiled and booked in for newspapers in time for their deadlines.
  • Have free advertising possibilities been explored and booked, like “What’s On columns” in the local and daily newspapers?
  • In relation to the media:
    • Have media releases been written and distributed? 
    • Have your important media contacts, as well as other media representatives, been sent formal invitations? 
    • Have media releases or kits been organised for distribution on the day?
  • Invitations:
    • Is the invitation list/ database up to date?
    • If applicable, has artwork been approved by management and sponsors?
    • Are printers booked?
    • Is the mail out of invitations organised?
  • Has it been decided where people will send RSVPs? If so, is that person or office ready to receive RSVPs in the mail or by phone? This would include booking sheets and information sheets about the event at each person's desk.

Venue

  • If outdoors:
    • Have all appropriate permits been confirmed, including liquor or gaming licences if applicable?
    • Is there enough parking nearby or at the site?
    • Is the space appropriate for your purposes?
    • Has a wet weather contingency been planned? Is there another venue on standby, or enough undercover areas available or marquees organised?
    • If applicable have marquees, trestles, seating and portable toilets been booked?
  • Other questions to ask include:
    • Have deposits been paid?
    • Are all audio-visual requirements, including portable microphones and lighting available?
    • Will there be any other events occurring at or close to the venue that may impact on your event?
    • Are decorations, including floral arrangements confirmed and booked?
    • Do guests know how to get to your venue? Is there directional signage for parking?
    • If necessary, has an area been assigned for a media conference, or have you organised a media table?
    • If necessary, has a seating plan been organised and approved by management, sponsors and other partners? Are table lists printed and displayed at the venue?
    • Has an event registration/welcome table been organised at the venue?
    • Have you figured out how organisers/those running the event going to communicate
    • Is there a safe place for the bags and belongings of any volunteers or partnership members helping out at the event?
    • Are any attendees in need

Catering

  • It may be a good idea to talk to the catering company/or those “doing the cooking” about:
    • The menu – is it costed and confirmed?
    • Are any meals for those with special dietary requirements available?
    • Have you communicated these options to VIPs and guests?
    • Do you have enough staff to serve meals and wait on guests?

Prizes/Auction items/Giveaways/Awards

  • Has the method for giving away prizes been decided? For example raffle, door prizes, seat designation, show bags?
  • Have all items been picked up/organised?
  • Is there scope to give recognition to donors of the items on the night?
  • Are rules for winning prizes clear and communicated to all?
  • Have all equipment and stationary been organised (particularly important for trivia or bingo nights)?
  • Has a presenter/s been organised? Does he or she know what the items are and who to thank?
  • If your event involves exhibitors (like a market or fete):
    • Are space and power requirements confirmed with venue?
    • Have exhibitors confirmed display requirements?
    • Are contracts and fees finalised?
    • Are all exhibitors aware of parking, set up and set-down times?

Talent and VIPs

  • If you're using celebrities or other performers, have all activities and contracts been agreed and signed? Have fees been confirmed and agreed on?
  • If requested or needed, have any security arrangements required by the VIPs or celebrities been arranged?
  • Has standard of transport and accommodation been agreed, costed and booked?
  • Are performing spaces adequate? Is sound and lighting equipment prepared and safe?
  • Do performers and or their staging requirements need special set up and set down times? Has this been negotiated with the venue?
  • Staging and AV equipment agreed and booked?
  • Is power supply adequate? Safe?
  • Have speeches been written?
  • Do you know and can you accommodate the audio-visual requirements of guest speakers?
  • Have gifts been purchased?
  • Have VIP refreshments been booked?
  • Has appropriate security arrangements been made?
  • If you are organising for video or photographic coverage of your event:
    • Has a photographer been booked or has someone from your organisation been designated photographer?
    • Will you be videotaping? If so, who will do it – have they been booked and has a video camera and accessories been organised?
    • Does your photographer/video camera operate know what they are to photograph/film? Has a brief been written for them?

Risk Management

  • Is the event's insurance coverage adequate? Check with your insurance provider.
  • Is there adequate first aid?
  • Have traffic and crowd management plans been developed and communicated to all necessary authorities?
  • Are emergency plans in place?

Acknowledgement of appreciation

  • Think about how and when you will acknowledge your appreciation of sponsors, partners, those who helped out and performers. It can be done through plaques/certificates, flowers, or putting people’s names in event programs, in speeches or in media releases.

Post-event evaluation and reporting

  • Think about gathering information on your event for evaluation purposes.
    • How will you know your event has been a success?,
    • What sort of information will you be collecting? From whom? How will this information tell you if the event has been a success?
    • How will you collect it? When?
    • How will you report? When? To whom?