Scheduling a Special Event

You can never underestimate the role of scheduling and planning in the success of a special event. Leave things to chance and your event is likely to flop.

Organising a special event involves bringing together your plans, your workers, and your public and then adding in the demands of the venue, your celebrities, and the weather.

All of them have to be worked through different schedules with different incentives and different urgencies, but all have to be co-ordinated and brought to the same point in time for your event to work.

Some of the different aspects of timing you should check are outlined below.

Seasonal scheduling

Check the weather for the period when you are looking to schedule your event.

If, for example, your event is outdoors in the middle of winter, you will either want to ensure there are provisions for the event to go undercover or indoors in case of rain and/or cold, or consider rescheduling to a warmer period.

Scheduling around other events

Make sure your event doesn’t clash with other important dates that might create competition for attendees. Check local calendars for:

  • Major local or regional festivals
  • Popular sporting events – football grand finals or Australian Open tennis finals, for example
  • State-wide school holidays and public holidays
  • A national event/date – for example, federal elections
  • Important religious/community events such as Easter and Christmas
  • Events just like yours – having two working bees on the same day halves your potential participant numbers.

Time to plan

Allow enough preparation time. This can be divided into “voluntary” preparation – done by researching other events and checking out new approaches – and “compulsory” planning time – the time you need to actually organise your event.

Don't underestimate the time required. List every task you need to complete and how long each will take – and then increase the time estimates by a minimum of 20%. Better to over-estimate the amount of time needed and finish ahead of schedule.

Book ahead

Unless your organisation owns the venue you'll need to check well in advance whether it's available when you want.

Also note any other venue-scheduling issues – what's the last cancellation-without-penalty date? When do you have to pass over the cheque? When can you have access to set up?

Volunteer time

Make sure your volunteers are available, their schedules are flexible and they are happy to help out with whatever event organisation they need to do.

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