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Successful Steps to Event Planning

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Step 1—Assess resources
Know what you have to work with before planning. Faculty and staff members, students, and community groups are all resources.

Step 2—Assess needs and interests
Who will attend? What are their interests? What are your goals? What needs are you trying to meet?

Step 3—Brainstorm ideas
Think of every type of event that might fulfill the goals. Don’t evaluate ideas at this point, just list all suggestions. Once this is done, review each idea and assess it for feasibility.

Step 4—Develop a time line
Make a list of everything that needs to be done to plan the event. Sometimes it’s easier to work backward from the date of the event to the present. Make a schedule that shows when each task needs to be completed.

Step 5—Reserve space
Over 600 organizations plus university departments compete for limited campus space for events. Reserve your space as early as possible.

Step 6—Develop a budget
Most likely you have a set amount of money available to spend on the event, or ticket sales may need to cover all the costs. List all associated costs and allocate the available funds. You may have to contact various departments for cost estimates associated with their services, including Cornell Police and EHS.

Step 7—The paper chase
Complete all the necessary paperwork including department services, room reservations, the Event Registration form, and permits.

Step 8—The people chase
Contact all the persons necessary for a successful event; performers, speakers, volunteers, and campus departments. Cornell Police and Environmental Health and Safety may require staff members to be present at your event, and must have advance notice to schedule these individuals to work.

Step 9—Details
Complete and confirm all details pertaining to the event.

Step 10—The Event

Step 11—Evaluate
Write a brief synopsis of the event, including participant and planner comments, attendance, suggestions for future events, and final costs.

Step 12—Start planning the next event!

* Click Here for a complete checklist for event planning.

For more information, contact the Student Activities Office at (607) 255-4169, or email