Jan 28, 2020

Event planning: build confidence and reduce stress


You’ve likely been planning your big event for months and now it’s finally just around the corner. It’s time to lock down the final details and focus on delivering a successful event. We know that stress can run high during this time, so we’ve compiled a 1-month out checklist and a few tips to help you build confidence and keep cool. 

1-month out checklist: 

  • Create your run-of-show  
  • Finalize the program script 
  • Instructions for the AV and tech teams 
  • Table + seating plan 
  • Venue map + important contacts 
  • Fundraising plan: auction start and end times, auctioneer script, coordinate plan with any tech vendors, volunteer roles, checkout and payment collection plan 
  • Finalize all auctions, raffles, games, live appeal moments 
  • Back-up plan  
  • Press list 
  • Follow up with guests by sending a few event reminders 

event planning


As you plan your venue layout, consider areas that will be for checking in and checking out guests. If there is a coat check, be mindful of that location as well. These areas should fit naturally with the guest flow without posing congestion problems or overlapping lines. 

Tech help.
Whether it’s for AV or your auction team, there are tech experts in the room who are there and ready to help you – utilize them! 

If you haven’t designated a volunteer coordinator, now is a great time. This person will serve as the main point of contact for all the volunteers you have on event night, leading up to, and on event night. The volunteer coordinator should also make sure there is a designated area for volunteers and staff to take breaks and keep their belongings. 

A face book. (Not the one you’re thinking of.)
If your event is full of VIPs or celebrities, printing out a quick face book is never a bad idea. Keep copies of these face books at the main check-in points so that they can be properly greeted and escorted, if necessary.  

As you build out your run-of-show you must include when things are happening and when you expect people to be in certain places. A run-of-show should include pre and post-event happenings too. This is a great document to share with teammates and vendors so that everyone is on the same page. 

No one likes to assume the worst, however, when hosting a large event it is imperative that you have a plan in case of an emergency. This should include things like fire, the need of an ambulance, and potential violence. Once your team gets a solid plan in place, you’ll likely be able to use it year after year without too many modifications. Additionally, a back-up plan for things such as inclement weather or your main speaker canceling last minute is necessary. Having back-up plans will keep you at ease, should a situation arise on event day. It’s good to think through these scenarios before they happen so that you can plan with a clear and less frantic mind. 

Stay engaged with guests leading up to your event! Send them a few event reminders or friendly texts that will get them thinking about and excited for your event. If you’ve invited members of the media, be sure to provide them with clear entrance instructions and details of the evening. 

Stay organized.
Keep lists on your phone or in a notepad to keep track of things that may pop into your head at inopportune times (on the train, in the shower, right before bed). Writing thoughts down will help calm your mind so you can… 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Eat well, move your body, and rest. You’ve got this! 


No matter where you are on your event-planning timeline, this masterplan has a section full of tips and checklists for you. 


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

Michelle M.

The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

Using GS has created ease in auction bookkeeping, payments, and generating post-event thank you/tax letters. While we were online during COVID, our interactions with our GiveSmart via phone, email, and zoom were seamless. A representative always got back to us within the day. I would recommend GiveSmart to anyone doing a large online event.

Julie G.

MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

Jamie F.

Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

Dawn L.

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County