Planning makes perfect

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When to Start

Before anything is booked, ordered or reserved, you need to have a detailed plan of what your event will entail.

First things first: when do you start the planning process? This depends on the scale of the event you would like to plan.

To begin with, if you want to reserve a room through Event Services, they suggest doing so at least two weeks in advance. You can read more about reserving a room on the paperwork page.

So, before you reserve a room, you should have an idea of your event. Thus at the very, very least, planning should start three weeks ahead of time. However, to give yourself plenty of time to reserve a space, submit a permit, book talent and promote your show, you should start planning at least six weeks ahead of time. For bigger events, you'll need to plan even farther in advance.

Define your organization's mission

Alright, the planning process has begun. Now what? When you know you want to have an event, the next step is identifying your goals as an organization. You and your members should ask yourselves what is your mission as an organization? What is your purpose? Having these concepts clearly defined from the beginning will help you make decisions as you start planning your event.

Identify your audience

Once you know what your organization stands for, you need to know whom you are trying to reach with your event. As with having a strong organizational identity, knowing your audience will help you make important planning decisions later.

Start outlining logistics

OK, you know who you are and whom you're trying to reach. Now you can start outlining your event. What kind of entertainment will reach your audience and advance the mission of your organization? What are some possible dates you want to have your event? You should pick a few in case the venue isn't available the day you want it. Speaking of which, where do you want to have your event? Would it help your event to co-sponsor with another organization? What will the schedule of the event look like?

These are all questions you should ask yourself during the planning process. To help you, try using this planning document (90kb).

Tips

"I learned from my special events and meeting planning class the five P's of event planning: proper planning prevents poor performance. Start preparing early for an event. The more prepared you are in advance, the less room there is to fail."

-Amy Casaletto, RUB Entertainment vice president of internal affairs

About

Currently, I'm president of Reitz Union Board Entertainment, which provides free entertainment to the UF community every night of the week--yeah, it's a lot of planning.

I've found the best place to seek help is from those who have done it before. All of the advice and tips provided here are from people who have planned UF events and know the trials and tribulations of the process.

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Check out my student leadership blog.