Skip to main content

Planning Toolkit

The following event-planning ideas and tools can help make your next event a success, whether you're planning a conference, workshop, lecture, special event, or meeting.

Don't know where to start?  Our experienced conference planners are here to give you as much or as little support as you need.

NOTE: For larger and more comprehensive conferences, we recommend beginning to plan for your event one to two years in advance, if possible.

For any type of program or event, considerations include:

Preliminary Planning

  • Set dates and times, avoiding holidays and major events in the community; use the following links to help avoid conflicts:
  • Outline conference program, including time for social networking events
  • Select and reserve venues for meetings, receptions, dining, and other events
  • Reserve and contract for on- and off-campus housing, considering cost, amenities, and location
  • Develop a promotion plan
  • Select an appropriate theme and integrate it creatively throughout the event


  • Determine income sources, including registration fees and sponsorships
  • Establish fee structure and attendee benefits
  • Prepare for paying some expenses up-front, including venue deposits
  • Review catering proposals for inclusiveness of tax, gratuity, linen, centerpieces, staffing, alcohol, and rented equipment
  • Use our Events Budget Worksheet to help organize and keep track of your budget


  • Prepare a printed program
  • Develop informational website
  • Select promotional giveaways


  • Determine pre-registration process (in-person or online) and information to collect, including dietary restrictions and adaptive needs
  • Establish deadlines and late fees
  • Develop suggestions for local pre- and post-conference on-your-own activities


  • Choose dining options - cafeteria-style, buffet, or table service
  • Consider breakfast, brunches/lunches, morning and afternoon breaks, cocktails, dinners, and late-night socials
  • Arrange for tables, tents, chairs, lighting, audio-visual needs, podium and staging, or portable toilets

Meeting and Event Space

  • Inspect site to make sure it meets your needs
  • Ensure flexibility of physical space and sufficient staffing during your events
  • Determine audio-visual, technology, and space needs of speakers, and assign meeting spaces to program
  • Arrange transportation, including charter services, bus, and parking


  • Consider every detail carefully
  • Confirm all reservations and other arrangements
  • Pay bills and reconcile financial statements



> Learn more about our services

> Submit an inquiry

> Contact a conference planner