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Event Planning Timeline

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Event Planning TImeline

The following are steps designed to help you plan your conference or event at Brandeis University. 

Six to 12 Months Before Event

  1. Clarify answers to “The Big Picture” questions found on the main event planning page.
  2. If you anticipate speakers or participants from outside the United States, notify the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) as far in advance as possible.
  3. See “Basic Procedures for Bringing Foreign National Faculty, Researchers and Scholars to Brandeis University" (pdf)” and “Inviting Guest Speakers: Quick Tip Sheet.”
  4. Book space and make room reservations through Conference and Events Services.

Three to Six Months Before Event

  1. Designate individuals to serve as point of contact with Conference and Events Services to manage financial and event-account tracking and to prepare written and printed materials. Create list with these individuals' names and contact numbers for internal-planning use.
  2. Create a place on your department Web site or create a new Web site to publicize your event. Assign staff person to develop and maintain the site.
  3. Send all printed materials, including publicity and day-of-event collateral, to printer or copy shop for production.
  4. Submit a Non-Employee Payment Request Form (Excel) and W-9 (or W-8BEN for nonresident alien) for speaker honoraria checks.
  5. Pick up and mail parking permits from the Office of Public Safety (if mailing ahead to participants).
  6. Prepare welcome kits, including ordering and preparing all materials for inclusion in the kits (see section on Welcome Kits).
  7. Secure translators and/or signers (if planned) for presentations.
  8. E-mail participants (enthusiastically) confirming event date, time, place and their participation.
  9. Designate a "troubleshooter/runner" for day of the event.

One to Two Months Before Event

  1. Confirm with Conference and Events Services:
    • Menus and number of meal cards you will need
    • Room set-ups, including registration and product tables, if needed
    • Signage
    • Audio-visual requirements and orders

One to Two Weeks Before Event

  1. Final guaranteed number of guests for catering due to Conference and Events Services five working days before event (10 working days for kosher catering)
  2. Prepare name tags (and bring blank ones to the event)
  3. Prepare table tent cards (and bring blank ones to the event)
  4. Prepare place cards for table settings
  5. Prepare place cards for special-order meals (kosher, vegetarian or main-course choices) so wait staff can easily identify to whom specific meals should be served.
  6. Send seating arrangements for meals to Conference and Events Services (if relevant)
  7. E-mail participants confirming event date, time, place and their participation. Include relevant details concerning travel, lodging and other logistics that may be particular to each individual.
  8. Confirm the availability of your "troubleshooter/runner" for event day
  9. Assign a staff person to coordinate incoming computer and presentation materials. If speakers are using presentation technology (data projectors or monitors), ask that they e-mail their presentation to you (as a backup). If speakers are using their own laptop computer, be sure to coordinate with the Brandeis Media Technology Services group.
  10. Pick up meal cards from Conference and Events Services (if applicable)

Day Before Event

  1. Make sure all the "to-dos" from the "Week Before Event" list have been checked off.
  2. Change voicemail on the event phone number to leave clear, brief details about the event, including time and location. Include a contact phone number (i.e., a staff person's cell phone).
  3. Assign individual to check event e-mail every hour on the day of the event.
  4. Prepare a "master folder" with all Conference and Events Services documentation and confirmations. This is especially important if your conference occurs on a weekend.
  5. Review specific responsibilities with your staff and volunteers.

Day of the Event 

  1. Bring extra chalk, markers and dry-erase markers.
  2. Remember to check e-mail every hour (for people with questions or changing their plans).
  3. Relax and enjoy!

After the Event

  1. Write thank-you notes to guest speakers and volunteers.
  2. Evaluate the event. Document your evaluation and include suggestions for how to improve future events. You may also want to respectfully notify relevant departments if there were specific problems. Be sure to also let them know what went well!
  3. Submit all outstanding bills.
  4. Track internal account transfers to ensure that money being drawn from your account is done  appropriately.
  5. Track postconference financial submission forms (i.e., travel reimbursements). Try to submit these forms within 30 days of the event.
  6. Analyze participant evaluations (if applicable).
  7. Organize your event materials to refer to for the next event.
  8. Send out postevent "product," if any.
  9. Post follow-up materials (articles, photos, etc.) on Web site or distribute via e-mail.