A Fourth of July parade with a red car and people waving American flags.

The Advanced Guide to the Event Planning Process

April 7, 2022  
Reading time: 5 minutes

Planning an event can be a daunting task, but if you break the event planning process down into steps it can take a lot of the worry away. Is there an event planning process model to be followed? Check our advanced guide to the event planning process below and find out.

Step 1: Determine Goals and Objectives

We all want our events to be successful, no matter what kind of event they are. It could be anything from a concert to a casino night to a product launch to a Fourth of July celebration at the city pool. They need to go off without a hitch.

But the first question we need to ask ourselves is: what defines “success”? What do we want to accomplish?

If you don’t know what you’re reaching for it will be hard to grab hold of it. The first thing you need to do when planning an event is to sit down and decide what exactly you’re trying to do. It may seem obvious: you want to put on a Fourth of July event at the city pool. However, what do you need for that to be a success? Is the point that locals can meet their city leaders? Or maybe you’re trying to bring the city pool back to its former glory after a massive two-year restoration? Perhaps you want to honor veterans?

The goal could be all of that and much more. But determining the “why” before you go about looking for the “what” is essential to planning a good event.

Step 2: Get Organized

event planner looking at colourful post its and thinking about the event planning process steps

Now comes the hard part. You know what you want to do: let’s say that your goal for the Fourth of July celebration is to increase swimming pool memberships by 25%. How do you get to that point? You’re going to need two things to help you: people and money.

The budget for the event may have been given to you by someone else, or you may have to do the profit and loss report to determine exactly how much money can be spent to get a profit in swimming pool memberships. 

But you also need people to help you. They could be coworkers who are assigned to work with you, or people you hand select, or they could be volunteers from the community who want to be involved. 

No matter who it is, you need to build a team of people who will each be useful in their own way. Some of the roles you may need are project manager, venue manager, scheduler, creative designer, marketing, sponsor and vendor coordinator, and more. It’s not until you have a team in place that you can get an event going.

Step 3: Develop Marketing and Communications Campaign

event planner developing marketing campaign on a table as part of her event planning process

The majority of this will fall on the shoulders of your marketing and creative team (if you have them) but with this step you need to figure out how you’re going to spread the word about the Fourth of July event. Will you use flyers? Billboards? Yard signs? All of those things are effective, but who is going to design them, who is going to print them, and who is going to place them? These are all questions that you’ll need to answer. 

Branding comes into this in a big way, especially if we’re talking about business events and not city swimming pools. But the point is that you want a consistent message across all your communication channels. This might mean similar logos and fonts. It might mean slogans. It might mean a theme for the event--your Fourth of July event may have a rodeo theme, or a pioneer theme, or a Revolutionary War theme. Whatever it is, you need to make the determination and then stick with it.

Step 4: Plan the Program

You need to know everything that is going to happen, when it’s happening, and who is in charge of it. This is a great job for your project manager. Your Fourth of July event may start with a sunrise pancake breakfast in the parking lot of the swimming pool--who’s going to set up the tables and chairs? Who’s going to cook the pancakes? Who’s going to manage trash? Then your event may have a ceremonial ribbon cutting to reopen the newly renovated pool--who’s going to cut the ribbon? Will you need a microphone and how will it get power? Who is going to be standing where, and how will the crowd be controlled?

You see, with every single bit of your event you’re going to need to know who is doing what when.

Step 5: Coordinate the Sponsors, Vendors, and Speakers

Maybe later in the day you’ll bring in food trucks to the swimming pool parking lot? Or the mayor is going to have a ceremony in the park out front where they will honor veterans? Perhaps local radio stations will be on-site providing music? Maybe local businesses will have donated to the cause and want to have a booth where they can show off their products?

You’ll need to coordinate all of this for your event to be successful.

Step 6: Find the Right Tech Tools

Timely is a full-service event management software that can take a lot of the headache away. With Timely Event Calendar Software, you publish, promote and distribute events with ease, so more people know about them. Moreover, with Timely Event Booking and Event Ticketing softwares you can collect RSVPs or sell event tickets directly from your website.

And it can do all of it with a custom domain and branded communications that will make your community event look far more professional than your city’s website.

Step 7: Execute on the Plan

female event planner smiling for running a successful event with a good event planning process

The Fourth of July has arrived. It’s time for the pancake breakfast, the marathon, the ribbon cutting, the parade, the patriotic speakers, and all the rest. But because you’ve done all the leg work, and have followed all the steps of your event planning process, it will go off flawlessly.

Step 8: Evaluate and Record

Once it’s over, you’re not done! In the past several months of planning for the Fourth of July you have just learned a lot about how your community runs -about budgets and sponsors and volunteers and communications. You need to evaluate what went right, what went wrong, and you need to record that information so that the next time someone in your shoes needs to put on a community event they won’t have to relearn all the knowledge you’ve gained.

With Timely's integrated reporting and analytic tools, you can evaluate your event ROI and plan better events in the future.

Request a meeting so we can help with your event planning needs today!

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