Documentation

Coordinating an event is a complex task, often requiring the contribution of many stakeholders.

Maintaining thorough records will support you to:

  • plan and implement your event
  • meet legal requirements
  • evaluate your event
  • respond to media enquiries or issues
  • respond to legal action against the organisers
  • and more.

Depending on the nature of your event and legal requirements, the documents you retain may include:

  • event plan
  • stakeholder analysis
  • marketing plan
  • communications plan
  • budget
  • other plans/formal documentation
  • records of procedure.

Seek legal advice on how long to retain your records. In addition to meeting legal requirements, retaining records of how an event is managed can be useful for succession planning.

Event plan

The key purpose of an event plan is to provide an overview of the event, as well as to provide authorities and agencies with the necessary information for licence and permit approvals.

Your event plan should contain the following:

  • the name of the event
  • date, event start and finish times
  • the dates and times of building and dismantling event infrastructure (known as bump in and bump out)
  • location and venue/s
  • target audience/s
  • description of the event — its design, objectives and desired outcomes
  • run sheet of key event timings, activities and programming
  • production schedule detailing tasks from bump-in through to bump-out
  • whether the event will be ticketed, and an outline of ticketing procedures
  • contact details for key staff and suppliers/contractors
  • site plan with key facilities, entrances and exits marked
  • outline of command and control structure
  • list of the approvals and licences needed to deliver the event, the names of the approval bodies and the amount of notice required for each
  • security plan
  • emergency procedures
  • cleaning services required
  • waste management.

Financial plan

The following should be compiled as part of your financial plan:

  • an approximate budget with best, likely and worst-case scenarios
  • cash flow statement
  • whether the event is to be fully or partially funded by ticket or other event-driven revenue (such as food or merchandise)
  • how bills and incidental costs will be paid for in the lead-up to the event before revenue starts to come in.

Budget

To ensure your event is sustainable, a budget that captures all incoming and outgoing costs needs to be put together at least six months before your event.

Income can include sponsorship and grants.

Expenditure should include:

  • staffing
  • staging and production
  • infrastructure
  • transport and fuel costs
  • artists and performers
  • catering
  • travel and accommodation
  • security
  • cleaning
  • waste
  • toilets
  • ticketing provider
  • marketing and communications
  • research
  • licence fees
  • first aid
  • health provision
  • insurances
  • government agency services such as police and traffic management planning.

You should track expenditure against your budget to ensure there are no surprises, especially after the event. Obtain quotes prior to your event and then, as invoices come in, you can cross check for anomalies and manage contingencies.

Communications plan

Consider how you will communicate with stakeholders in the lead up to your event. This can be achieved by conducting a stakeholder analysis, which identifies:

  • who you should speak to
  • what you should speak to them about
  • when you should speak to them
  • how you will speak to them.

Depending on the nature of your event, you may need to speak to:

  • your target audience for the event
  • non-event attendees such as local residents and motorists
  • service providers that may be impacted by the event, such as hotels, motels and churches
  • suppliers, such as food vendors and other businesses
  • approval bodies
  • potential sponsors
  • the media.

Marketing plan

Developing a marketing plan and promotions timeline can help ensure that the target audience is aware of, and interested in, your event.

A marketing plan should include the following:

  • the results of any market research
  • who the target audience is, and why
  • the impact of target audience on ticket pricing, event programming and event facilities
  • synopsis of marketing campaign, including a promotions timeline
  • the best media tools for your event (websites, apps, social media, radio, print, posters, flyers, television, emails, noticeboards and direct mail)
  • the key messages for your event campaign
  • a marketing budget, with cost breakdown according to geographical target areas, different media types used, and cash or in-kind marketing
  • whether to engage a media partner and public relations agency
  • how sponsors, supporters and stakeholders will be acknowledged in marketing material
  • how tickets will be distributed
  • opportunities for reciprocal event promotion.

Other plans and documentation

You should develop retain the following plans and documents:

Records of procedure

Retain records of processes followed throughout the planning, implementation and delivery phases of your event project, including the following:

  • decision-making processes such as minutes of meetings and confirmation emails
  • consultation register, showing details of who you consulted about the event, how you communicated with them and notes about outcomes
  • event run sheets and/or production schedule.