Conferences, both corporate and otherwise, are an important component in promoting the cause of an organization. In fact, according to a survey, about 98% of US Federal employees agree that conferences are an effective way to communicate their respective agency's missions.
To organize a successful conference, you must have a knack for planning things to the minutest details. However, it is not always easy to remember every aspect that needs your attention, especially in the case of a conference where the planning phase usually lasts over several months. As a result, having a planning checklist is a handy solution that can help you with making this process easier and more efficient.
In this post, we outline the ultimate checklist with a preferred timeline against each task to help you plan your next conference smoothly. Read on to know more.
1. 16 to 12 Months Prior
Organizations often decide to organize a conference with a lot of time on hand, usually at least a year before. If you are designated as the organizer of such a conference, then you must start planning for the following things immediately-
- Outline the purpose of the conference and the main topics to be covered.
- Decide the target audience, venue requirements and preferred dates.
- Draw a budget.
- Finalize the planning and execution committees and allocate their respective tasks.
- Choose your vendors to suit your needs.
- Initiate the search for sponsors.
Looking to learn more about Conference Planning? Check out - Mastering the Art of Conference Planning in 5 Easy Steps
2. 12 to 6 Months Prior
These are the crucial months in your conference planning process and if you can get the majority of the planning done during this period, then you will feel less stressed in the coming time. Some of the essential things to check off your list at this juncture are-
- Research and finalize your speakers. Send out invitations to them and try to have the acceptances before these 6 months are over. Additionally, if you plan to accept proposals from speakers for your event, then design the process and invite nominations.
- Start promoting your conference through various channels like social media, Google Ad words and don't forget email marketing.
- Finalize the registration mechanism and the ticket prices. Designing a dedicated website is a good call.
- Consolidate the sponsorship.
- Finalize the date and book the venue.
3. 6 to 4 months prior
- Confirm the final schedule of the conference.
- Create a event staff and volunteer management strategy
- Ramp up promotion the event through various channels.
4. 3 to 1 month prior
- Choose the theme and decide the decor of the conference.
- Finalize the catering services and the menu.
- Plan for the rest of the logistics.
- Check-in with the speakers.
- If you need volunteers, this is a good time to recruit them.
Make sure you don't miss any important volunteer roles by reading - 10 Must-Have Volunteer Roles For Your Next Conference
5. Last 2 weeks
- Send out reminders to the speakers and the guests.
- Assign moderators for each session.
- Get the print materials like registration badges, brochures, forms, etc. ordered and delivered.
- Check-in with the vendors.
6. Last 2 days
If you manage to follow the above steps on time, then by now you will only need to tie up some loose ends and not worry about anything major. Some of the last-minute details to be taken care of are as follows-
- Ensure that all the required materials and vendors reach the venue.
- Get the final registered headcount and share it with the vendors.
- Train your volunteers for a smooth process.
- Set up all the necessary work stations like the registration desk.
- Send a final email with the schedule to all the participants.
Following this detailed checklist will surely help you plan your next successful conference in a hassle-free manner and let you enjoy your event.