Meeting Planner Checklist – How to Start

By Mandy Bass

• Establish Outcomes, Objectives and Goals

Establish purpose of meetings, set measurable goals, and clear thresholds of achievement by which you can determine success? Make the objective specific, measurable, attainable and realistic, relevant, and time-based.
Clarify the attendees you want to attract. Identify all stakeholders in the meeting (attendees, organization leaders, facilities professionals, etc.), and set priorities. Which group’s needs come first?
Survey target audience. Find out about the current issues they are facing and what is important to them
Decide on what you want attendees to remember most about the event. Summarize the experiences the attendees should have
• Do Your Research

Research other organizations more successful than yours. What can you learn from them? How about those less successful what are they doing differently? (Learning what is not working is just as valuable as knowing what is.)
What can you learn from your past experiences? Is there information that would be useful to determining the potential for success – or failure – of this meeting?
Get input from staff, previous attendees, previous board members and volunteers
• Monitoring

How will you monitor and determine the success of your effort? Develop measurement tools that address the pre-meeting process, all on-site meeting elements, and the various post-meeting outcomes.
• Resources

What resources do you have /need to achieve the goals? Do you need to outsource, get volunteers?
How will you reach your intended audience? What type of marketing and promotion will you do?
What budgetary considerations do you need to take into account
Do you want/need sponsors? What type and how will you get them?
• Book Speakers and Entertainment

How many speakers do you need? Professional speakers? Free speakers
Go-to experts that will present without a fee? What a would a free speaker get in exchange (i.e. What is in it for them?)
What is your budget?
What equipment is needed
• Venue/Meeting Services

Select venue
• Review, sign, and return contract

Estimate attendance
Calendar date to cancel event without penalty and create timeline for marketing campaign.
Take into account deposit amount and date due (if required)
Note date to provide final attendance figure:
• Arrange set up and spaces for:

Registration area table
Seating style (theater, classroom, rounds, etc.)
Organization’s information material and upcoming events
Accessibility for disabled persons
• Catering

Menu selection
Special dietary needs
Bar/beverages (complimentary or cash bar)
Rentals (if applicable)
• Equipment and AV

Make a list of what you need and contact vendors for pricing
Contact speaker to determine AV and other equipment needs place order (example, podium, microphones, internet access, and so on)
Arrange photography (professional or volunteer)
• Other special requests:


• Draft program agenda

Event schedule timing, room locations, etc.
Breakout sessions
Emcee and podium transitions
Speaker/room hosts
Speaker/s confirmation letter
Time date location
Where available download bio and summary from
Request bio summary, bullet points for promotional material
Photo, title of presentation or download from
Will there be handouts?
Confirm AV requirements
Special requests (e.g., transportation, parking, food preferences)
• Invitations and promotional brochure

Compile invitation lists, target audience
Create web page on website that you can direct potential attendees to get more information
Create web-based registration page and test
Identify VIP guests and mail invitations
Create and schedule Save-the-Date notice
Design first draft/s of brochure/postcard/invitation
Distribute to planning members for approvals include RSVP instructions (date, name and phone/email of event contact, web access if registration is online, etc.) and club mailings, permission to include on networking list to be distributed at event)
• Calendars of Events (SAVE THE DATE)

Your Organization’s/ Club’s web page
Local media (web-based community calendars, broadcast, newspapers, business journals, civic, chambers, etc.)


Identify Potential sponsors
Determine sponsorship levels and benefits of sponsorship
Assign members to solicit sponsors
Advertising alternatives
In kind donations
Auction donations
• Set Event registration fee, if any

• How will speaker handouts be distributed?

If you are compiling a notebook or folder, establish deadlines for receiving materials, printing etc.


Venue/Meeting Services

Finalize menu and other catering decisions
Request event set up sheet from facility sales office

Status of event agenda
Schedule for electronic Save the Date add any new details
Finalize brochure/postcard/invitation material and set mail date, details
Arrange for printing of invitations

Finalize event sponsors; include with promotional materials
Payment information (to whom checks are payable, credit cards accepted)