Event Planning Guide

Planning can help ensure the success of an event, but we often feel stressed for the time to plan.

This list of relatively small and easy steps will help make planning a part of your Preservation Week activity. Some steps may not apply to some activities—if not, skip them. For example, you won’t need a planning committee or coordinator if you put a banner on your home page with a link to preservation resources at your institution, or to the Preservation Week site.

Here are typical planning steps. You might find it helpful to write out the responses to steps, and to share them with another staff or a typical audience member to make sure there are no unexpected complications.

Find helpful tools for many of the Event Planner steps in the navigation to the left, or download all of the tools at once: Event Planning Guide (.docx  |  .pdf)

1. Develop strategies for success

  • Ask yourself, “How does the event help fulfill our mission?” Learn more about Preservation Week's history, purpose, background.
  • Gather event planning committee and select a coordinator
  • Define scope of event. Brainstorm ideas, or borrow one.
  • 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 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. Our sample 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
  • Write up event
  • Publish write-up of event with photos on 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.

About Preservation Week

Preservation Week inspires action to preserve personal, family, community, and library, museum, and archive collections and raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural organizations can play in providing preservation information. We urge you to do at least one thing, even if it’s small, to celebrate Preservation Week. Note: revised April 2015.