Generic event checklist
The following checklist are points to consider when organising WPUK one or two day events.
Below is a suggested order of play, however iterate throughout the process (eg by revisiting the budget and refining the format).
- Event theme
- Scope - Wide range (like UK WordCamp) or specialist (eg theme developers).
- Numbers - research how many likely to be attracted.
- Speakers - To lead sessions - by invitation and/or volunteering eg 2012 content ideas
- Single or multitrack
- Multitrack is suitable for a wide range (experience/expertise) of attendees eg 2012 running order - probably better for larger events.
- Single track better for specialist themed event.
- Break-out groups
- Good for practical sessions, eg break out groups can report back to all of attendees after being set a problem.
- Happiness Bar
- Probably better for larger events.
- Put the budget in a spreadsheet in a form it can be shared with others involved in the organisation eg Google Docs.
- Start with a rough first version of the budget, and iterate throughout the planning process.
- Income = ticket sales + event sponsorship + (if required) WPUK funding (could be 'loan')
- Expenditure = venue + PayPal fees
- Optional expenditure = Venue catering + printing (Larger events: t-shirts + socials)
- Venue catering - if significant separate out cost from the venue itself
- Budget cautiously - can you break even if three quarters of planned attendees turn up and you have limited sponsorship?
- Include a contingency element in budget for the inevitable unforeseen incident.
- Use the WPUK bank account.
- After formulating a viable format and first version of the budget, put together a timetable - eg 2012 timeline
- Although the timetable may be amended later, it is a valuable exercise to give everyone concerned target dates, and also ensure things that need to be done are done.
Once the format and timetable have been set, the most important element is to secure is a suitable venue as soon as possible. Without a venue all of the following sections are irrelevant.
- A visit to the venue, to discuss prospective booking, to check all of the below, and to get a feeling for the place, is important.
- Wifi internet access of sufficient capacity to accommodate attendees, some using multiple devices?
- Mains socket distribution and extensions for the charging of portable devices and general use?
- Does the venue have easy access to public transport facilities?
- Are the following in walking distance from the venue?
- Bars, food, pubs etc?
- Reasonably priced/free car parking?
- (If required) Reasonably priced accommodation for attendees?
- Deposit - many venues will ask for a part/full deposit to secure the booking.
- If available, book rooms with to allow for more turning up than planned
- Allow for any rigging/derigging when booking room times.
- Will supplementary signs be required so attendees can easily get from room to room during the event?
- Are plans of rooms and areas available for planning purposes?
- Room facilities
- Video projector(s) that can be driven by presenters laptop?
- Sound system (including PA) with presenter and audience microphone(s)?
- Sound system that can be driven by presenters laptop?
- Sound system with line out facility for external recording?
- Flipcharts, pens and paper?
- Blackboard or whiteboard?
- Communal area(s) - for registration etc
- Tables and chairs?
- Display boards for sponsors and community notices?
- An office for the use of the organisers and for general admin?
- A secure area for the storage of luggage, laptops, valuables, etc?
- This is optional if there are nearby external catering facilities.
- Be aware of excessive charges connected with catering provided by venues.
- If included in the ticket price it can significantly increase the price - is this wise?
- If you want to provide such catering as part of ticket price, consider providing it yourself.
- During the planning stage, form a team to spread out the work
- The bigger the event, more people are likely to be required
- For non-WordCamp events you can use the theme of your choice.
- Initially this can be an holding page to publicise the event.
- Facilities can be added one by one in the run up to the event, eg
- Map of location of event
- Information for sponsors
- Event running order
- Ticket purchasing
- Travelling to the venue
- Accommodation for those needed overnights
- List of sponsors
- Blog connected with the event.
- Make use of the WPUK mailing list
- Sponsorship structure
- Multi-level (eg gold, silver and bronze in decreasing levels of sponsorship funds) or single level?
- A way for individuals to sponsor (eg microsposors)?
- Normally minimum of one complementary tickets for sponsors.
- Sponsors transfer funds to WPUK bank account.
- Getting sponsors
- Approach sponsors of relevant previous WPUK events.
- Call for sponsors on the WPUK mailing list the event website.
At the event
- Health and safety
- At the beginning of the event you must ensure all attendees are aware of the the local venue fire evacuation and other safety procedures.
- Does the venue require a list of attendee names beforehand?
- Consider lanyards, or similar, for identification purposes, especially of the venue as secure entrances and exits.
- Allocate a specific slot for the registration process.
- Have more than one person on the registration desk.
- If applicable, distribute event t-shorts during registration.
- For multitrack events, it's important everyone sticks to the running order timetable.
- Organise, or at least think about, this beforehand.
- For many, the social side is equally as important as the event itself.
- If attendees are travelling, and arriving the day beforehand, consider organising a pre-event social.
After the event
- Ensure any outstanding bills from the event of settled.