I’m a graphic designer. I’m a content creator—a blogger, a crafter, a photographer. I had no experience in event design or planning until I created The Made In Mind Social a year and a half ago. Now, every other month, I plan a meet-up for creatives of all kinds to gather, meet, mingle, connect and collaborate.
In the beginning, I faced a million questions and more than a few challenges. The good news? I learned a lot about how to plan and host a successful event—and I’m ready to share that knowledge with others who hope to do the same! Like many strategies, you need to start with the 5 W’s (and 1 H) – Who, What, When, Why, Where and How.
WHY: Purpose, Passion, Goals
It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. By creating a vision and setting goals upfront, you will be able to maintain a focus throughout the planning process and more easily define the event itself. A clear vision will set you up for success—and concrete goals will allow you to measure that success.
WHO: Partners, Attendees, Marketing
This process—planning and executing—is not a solitary one. Of course, you’ll want to think about attendees, who you’ll be inviting. But you’ll also want to consider who you want to work with.
WHAT: Event Format, Branding and Design
Now it’s time to get started on designing the event itself. This part of the process involves two aspects: deciding what type of event you want to host and developing the branding.
WHEN: Date and Time, Frequency, Planning Timeline
The type of event may dictate when or how often it happens. Or, if it doesn’t, your next step is to select when the event will take place and how often it will occur.
HOW: Budgeting, Securing Sponsors
Next think about the components that will make your event possible—your budget and your sponsors. Managing money and getting sponsors on board may seem intimidating, but with a little organization and a professional demeanor, you’ll be able to make things happen!
WHERE: Venue, Vendors, and All the Details
Now, you’ll want to nail down the very important question of “where” (the venue!) and make sure you plan for all the elements of the event itself—the décor, entertainment, food, photography, or anything else you want to include.
BONUS: Goal Setting Worksheet!
You might have heard it before: begin with why. Before you dive into the details of a date and venue and marketing, take some time to think about the purpose behind your idea. Why do you want to start a local event? To help you out I have created a FREE goal setting worksheet for you to download and work through your WHY.
This worksheet is a sample from my ebook, The Meetup Guide: How to Create, Plan, and Host Your Own Local Event Series.
If you want to start your own local event, you don’t need to start from scratch. This list is just a taste of the insights and information I’ve collected in my e-book, The Meetup Guide: How to Create, Plan, and Host Your Own Local Event Series. It’s 60 pages of actionable advice and tried-and-true tips, including 10 worksheets to help you get organized and make things happen. Simply put, if you’re looking for a resource to guide you through the process, this is it! You’ll learn your own lessons along the way, but the great part about hosting an event series is that you have a chance to improve the event each time.