Conference Planning Checklist

Conference PlanningConference planning can be daunting if it is your first time. This checklist provides a timeline of tasks required to organize a conference.

This checklist is designed as a starting point for conference planning. Copy and paste it into an MS Word document and customize it to your needs by deleting some items, tweaking others and adding to the to do list. The to do list is in chronological order although you may find that some things happen concurrently or that the order shifts due to various circumstances.

To Do for Conference

__set the date(s)

__set the daily start and end time(s)

__determine the location (city, state/province)

__create a budget, accounting and registration system

__book the venue(s), social activities and workshop rooms

__determine a preliminary list of potential participants, staff/volunteers and presenters

__book a block of hotel rooms for participants, staff/volunteers and presenters

__book audio visual equipment and technicians

__decide on a theme and outcome for the event

__start getting sponsors

__send a save the date email to potential participants, presenters and staff/volunteers

__create promotional plan email campaign, web site, print materials

__put a place holder announcement on web site with preliminary details

__develop a conference daily schedule of events with blocks for the various components (workshops, social events, key note speeches, vendor display times etc.)

__recruit internal (staff/member) speakers

__book the key note speaker and other speakers, request workshop descriptions and presenter profiles

__select and order presenters gift(s) and/or prizes

__book flights, rental cars or other transportation

__book the caterer and get menu suggestions

__book entertainment and/or vendors if required.

__gather print and web copy for designer logo, pictures, presenter profiles, workshop descriptions, conference schedule, promotional copy

__plan the registration process deadline for early bird and final registrations, create/enter data into registration system, create/upload information for web registration

__create a supply list, order supplies that need lead time

__start planning brochure printing deadlines, graphic artist booked

__design welcome packages and ice breaking exercise

__order printing: brochures, t shirt printing, trinkets, banners/signage etc.

__web page uploading/design registration, information on the location (map, weather link), hotel room booking, conference schedule, key note speaker and other presenters profiles.

__distribute brochures

__determine workshop room assignments, create audio visual needs list and workshop room layouts (classroom, theatre, pods)

__publish workshop descriptions and finalized workshop schedule on the web site

__start early bird registration

__finalize participant, presenter and staff list

__finalize the menu

__finalize the audio visual equipment booking

__confirm with the cater the final count of meals required

__create signage

__finalize task lists/instructions for staff/volunteers

__finalize instructions for presenters

__create name tags and welcome packages (schedule of events, maps, tickets, paper, pen, trinkets, instructions)

__create organizers supplies kit (stapler, scissors, painters tape, markers, card stock, blank name tags, extension cord(s), pens, paper clips, sticky notes)

__arrange for shipment of supplies

Copyright 2007 (originally published on Suite 101.com) revised 2018, Joni Rose of Career Minded Consulting Services. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use will constitute an infringement of copyright. Please contact Joni Rose for reprint permission.

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