Planning a Successful Event

What is the budget (estimated cost) for the event?


  • Fee or honorarium for the speaker(s) or performer(s)
  • Cost of air and ground transportation for the speaker(s) or performer(s)
  • Cost of overnight accommodations for the speaker(s) or performer(s)
  • Cost of custodial services to set up spaces for the event
  • Cost of catering for the event.

What are the funding sources (college budget accounts) for covering the costs of the event?

Who needs to authorize the expenses and approve the event?

Does the speaker or performer require a formal contract?

  • Some written agreement, signed by both parties, should be secured – either a formal contract or a letter of agreement
  • The college representative who signs the contract should be the person who has authority for the funds that will be expended

Is the speaker or performer an international visitor?

  • Consult with Brisa Zubia in the Office of International and Intercultural Life about visa issues

What is the best day and time for the event?

  • Consider the target audience
  • Check the online Campus Calendar and consider what other campus activities might be occurring that would pose conflicts or affect audience attendance (such as Trustees meetings, Admissions weekends, Alumni events, Hall dinners)
  • Consider the academic calendar (class times, exam times, breaks)

What is the best space for the event?

  • Indoor or outdoor (consider back up indoor space in case of inclement weather)
  • Estimated attendance
  • Possible noise or disruption from nearby sources
  • If video or slides will be a part of the presentation, the room needs to be darkened
  • Handicap access
  • Parking
  • If the room is access controlled (e.g. Weitz Cinema), advance submission of a Building Access Authorization Form will be required
  • As early as possible, visit the Online Room Request page to investigate and request space, or email campus scheduler Noel Ponder to discuss options and find an appropriate venue for the event
  • To reserve spaces in Skinner Chapel, contact Jan Truax
  • To reserve spaces in the Music Building, contact Gao Hong
  • To reserve spaces in the Recreation Center or Cowling Gym, contact Aaron Chaput

As soon as the event space has been reserved, post the event to the online Calendar of Events so that other campus event planners are aware of the date and time of your event.

  • Identify which office or department should be the primary "keeper" of the event
  • If the office or department has an events calendar on the site, get the event added to that site’s events calendar. (If you have access to the site in question with the Reason program, you can do this yourself)
  • Or, contact the primary maintainer for the site and ask them to add the event to the site’s calendar (primary maintainers are listed at the bottom of all Carleton web pages)
  • If the office or department does not have an events calendar on their site, contact the Web Services Group with your event information and which office/department calendar on which you think the event should appear

How should the event space be set up?

  • Unless the room will be used "as is" arrangements will need to be made with Custodial Services to set up chairs, tables, lecterns, staging, or other furnishings (This requires extra time both before and after the actual event time)
  • A completed Facilities Set Up Form needs to be submitted at least 10 days prior to the event

Will this event require audiovisual equipment?

  • Contact PEPS (Presentation, Events, and Production Support) as early as possible to discuss the event and to consult about what types of audiovisual support might be required (Be prepared to describe the function of the event and let PEPS help determine the appropriate equipment)
  • Microphones are available in different types – lectern, table, stand, wireless, hand-held, lapel – and require either an in-house or portable sound system with speakers
  • Video projection requires a screen, LCD projector, and computer
  • DVD players for video or CD players for music
  • Send a copy of the Facilities Set Up Form to PEPS at least 10 days prior to the event
  • Contact Telecommunications to arrange for a conference call telephone

Will this event involve food and beverage?

  • Buffet or plated and served meal
  • Reception or refreshment break with beverage and snacks
  • Food and beverage may be brought in by the event planners (e.g. Domino’s pizza, Subway sandwiches)
  • Food and beverage may be catered by local restaurants (e.g. Quarterback Club)
  • Food and beverage may be arranged with Bon Appétit.  Contact the catering office as early as possible to discuss the event and to consult about what typed of food service is preferred
  • If alcohol is to be served at the event, it must be arranged through Bon Appétit Catering
  • Send a copy of the Facilities Set Up Form to Bon Appétit Catering at least 10 days prior to the event

How will you publicize the event?

  • Produce posters for distribution across campus (Consult Publications for assistance with poster design and production if necessary)
  • Attach a digital version of the poster to the online calendar posting to appear in the digital signage monitors across campus
  • Print Services can produce posters, flyers, and invitations
  • Post announcements in the NNB (Noon News Bulletin for students) and the Carleton Weekly electronic newsletter (for faculty and staff)
  • Contact The Carletonian about promoting the event or reporting on it afterward
  • Contact Media Relations about promoting the event with newspaper/radio/television outlets or producing feature stories about the event afterward

At the conclusion of the event:

  • Be sure to replace any furnishings that were moved during the course of the event, and clean up any leftover debris  (If the set-up and catering were arranged through Custodial Services and Bon Appétit Catering, they will take care of these details)
  • Look around for personal items left behind by event participants
  • Contact PEPS to retrieve audiovisual equipment that may have been provided for the event
  • Contact Security Services (x4444) to lock up the space