17 Jul The Church Event Planning Checklist That Ensures You Won’t Miss a Thing
The Church Event Planning Checklist That Ensures You Won’t Miss a Thing
Skip the reading and download the checklist PDF here!
If you’ve planned an event before, then you know just how much work it can be.
There are a lot of little details that accompany all the large ones that can’t be overlooked.
However, there is a fairly simple solution to making sure you have all your bases covered — STARTING EARLY.
Where most event planners get into trouble is when they wait too long to start researching where they are going to get there chairs and tables, who will be catering, and which speakers — if you plan on having speakers — are available for that day.
Just like when you were a kid who was tasked with some chores to do around the house while your parents were gone, the sooner you start, the better when it comes to event planning.
So, to help you get the ball rolling here is a church event planning checklist of some of the biggest things to remember to do leading up to your event, along with descriptions.
Define The Goals For Your Church Event
No one holds an event just for the heck of it! You may think that an event like a concert doesn’t have any goals attached to it, but is instead just put on for entertainment. But that isn’t true, as even a concert festival has goals that are in the form of revenue and attendance.
So, make sure you define the purpose of your event. Is it to simply bring as many members of the community together, and therefore you’re measuring success by attendance? If so, what is realistic, but still fairly aggressive goal based on how large your congregation is, as well as the size of the community you’re in?
Perhaps you are putting on an event to fundraise — if so, what is your goal in terms of donations? $500? $5,000? $50,000?
You decided to put on the event for a reason, so make sure that you define that reason and create goals around it.
By ensuring that everyone involved in the event is aware of the purpose behind it and the goals associated with it, everyone will be able to make better decisions during the planning process.
Make sure that your goals are measurable. If you can’t accurately measure the results of your goals, then you won’t be able to see what needs improvement the next time around.
Make a Budget For The Church Event
Creating a budget and actually following through on it is a very tough task — especially when that budget is attached to a larger event.
However, creating a budget is a MUST early on in the church event planning process.
This is especially if you’re trying to fundraise. You don’t want the cost of putting on the event to be almost larger than the amount you raise!
Creating a budget will help you focus on bringing the right attractions and features to your event while cutting out the unnecessary stuff (that’s right, make sure you can afford to feed everyone at your event before hiring that Elvis impersonator).
Unless you’re a seasoned event planner, you’re likely not going to be able to estimate every single cost accurately.
But, for those things that you’re not sure how much they will cost, just put down your best-educated guest. Your budget isn’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to spending money.
A thorough and well-thought-out budget will give you an idea of what you’re working with and what you can and what you shouldn’t spend your money on.
Pick The Event Date
No, not who you’ll bring along to the event, but the actual day of the event.
While you likely have the perfect date in mind — perhaps a Saturday afternoon or Friday event — come up with some secondary days as well because the venues you look at may be booked for your first choice date.
If you come up with at least a couple backup dates, then when you call and ask for availability and find out your date isn’t available, you can rattle off your secondary options quickly. This will make booking your venue much easier down the road.
Choosing to host your choice is also a viable option and a great way to save money.
Research the Venue/See it in Person if Possible
Photos of venues online may be deceiving, so while looking for the perfect spot to host your event, see if it’s possible to see it before you pay for it.
In addition to this, try and find some reviews from other people who have hosted events in that venue. This will give you an idea of how well that specific venue will work for you.
Always be hesitant to book a location if you ever feel like the owners are being dishonest or not sharing everything, or if you notice they don’t have great reviews.
Make sure that the venue is large enough to hold the number of people you think will attend. Don’t book a site with how many people you think will show up. Instead, book an event with how many people you invite/how many tickets you have. That way, you won’t run the risk of overcrowding if more people show up than originally expected.
Look For Church Event Sponsors
Maybe you planned on having your church be the sole sponsor for the event. But, it wouldn’t hurt to think about finding another sponsor or seeing if someone would like to donate catering or equipment for your event, especially if it is for a good cause.
The best way to find a potential sponsor is to research events that were similar to yours and find out if they had any sponsors.
Make sure that you compile a list of your ideal sponsors just in case your first few options don’t work out.
Build a Website/App For Your Event
For events with larger scales, creating a website (and even an app) is something you should consider.
Not only is this a great way to promote your event, but you can also use the app for tickets, allow people to easily get into the event without making sure they have their physical ticket. Instead, you can set-up a barcode scanner through your app.
Even if you don’t plan on using tickets for your event, having an app or website is a great way to keep your event attendees informed on the schedule and any other relevant information.
For Fundraising Events — Make Sure You Have a Set-up That Will Maximize Donations
If you’re holding a fundraiser, then it’s essential that you create a plan for ensuring you acquire as many donations as possible. While you could simply place a donation box by the entrance and hope that people will take the time to write out a check or place money in it, there is a much better way to fundraise at an event.
Here at mobileAxept, we have pioneered the way churches fundraise. Whether it’s just acquiring tithings for your church or coming together to raise money for someone in the community, donations can be a powerful thing. We understand the importance of fundraising, which is why we brought text giving mainstream for churches to help make it easier for those who wish to donate for a good cause.
We offer ReachNow, GiveNow Text, GiveNow ONline, and ConnectNow solutions. For information on how these solutions can help you reach your fundraising goal, contact us today by calling 888-500-1997!
Book Your Event Speakers Early
The most coveted speakers will have busy schedules that may extend months (if not an entire year or more). So, if you have a speaker who you want to have at your event, make sure you contact them far in advance.
There are few feelings worse than scrambling to find entertainment for an event that isn’t too far off in the future because you failed to do so early enough.
Start Event Preparations Early Enough So You Can See Where You Need Improvement
When booking your venue, make sure that you can set-up prior to the day of your event. That way, while you’re arranging everything from your A/V equipment to the tables and chairs, you can find out if there are any quick changes you need to make.
For example, if you realize you don’t have enough chairs, you’ll still have ample time to get some before the next day. Or, if you’re doing a mic check and notice that one of them isn’t functioning properly, you can find a replacement mic in time.
So, make sure you can set-up early enough to test for these issues. This will save you from a potential disaster during the actual event and will help ease your mind because you know that everything is perfect for your upcoming event.
Promote Your Church’s Event
At some point, you’ll have to start promoting your event (once again — the sooner, the better).
Lucky for you, there are tons of great mediums to use to get the word out that you have an upcoming event that is worth attending.
Social media is a great place to drum up some excitement and gain some momentum leading up to your event. In addition to posting on your social accounts, you can also try paid posts as well so you can appeal to a broader audience — specifically those who don’t follow you on your actual accounts.
For more information on promoting your event on social media, check out this helpful resource.
If you have an email list of customers — or if you’re a church, members of your church — then create an email to promote your event to send out.
Banner ads are also a great option, and you can spend as little or as much as you want on them.
Push Your Remarketing Strategy One Week Before Event
To complement your initial marketing strategy for your event, you should also put in place a remarketing strategy.
The goal here is to get some last-minute ticket purchases or sign-ups to ensure that every seat is filled, as well as just a general reminder for those who maybe forgot.
Your remarketing can take many forms, including sending out another email, to more social posts and ads.
Or, if the event is small, just reminding people through your weekly church newsletters and services will suffice.
Enjoy the Church Event!
Once your event day rolls around, you’ll finally get to enjoy all the hard work you’ve put into preparing for it!
While you may still be watching over the operations of the event and making sure everything goes smoothly, make sure you still find time to have fun when the day finally arrives.
You definitely deserve it!
Church Event Planning Checklist to Ensure Success With A Tight Timeline
6 Months Before the Date of the Event
Decide what the event will be. Narrow down the overall theme of the event. Is it going to be an event where worshipping is the primary objective? Is the goal to raise money? Decide what it is early on so that it can be easier to decide what you need to make it a success.
Create and write down the goals that you and your team have for the event. Outlining the goals and coming up with key performance metrics will allow you to cater the event to those specific goals, as well as see which areas of the event were a success and what you should improve on next time around.
___ Choose a date and be sure that there aren’t any conflicting events in the area that may cause attendance to be lower than you want.
___ Look for potential spots for hosting the event. Hosting in your church or outside on the church grounds is a great way to cut overall expenses for the event. However, not every church is big enough to do so. If your church isn’t big enough to handle the expected crowds, start looking at possible venues and checking costs.
___ Start calling around for cost estimates and develop a budget based on this information. Make a list of all the equipment you’ll need, as well as any other details that will require working with third-party vendors (like food, seating, tents, etc.). Then, create a budget based on this. Decide what is too expensive and what can potentially be cut, understanding that your budget is an estimate, and you’ll likely either go over it or under it.
___ Create an event committee made up of passionate people who are willing to put in the work to make the event a success. Each member should be in charge of a certain area (like marketing, financials, etc.). However, there should be an understanding that everyone will chip in with any task that is needed.
___ Identify and contact speakers to ensure they are available, as well as to see how much they charge for a speaking engagement.
___ Create a plan for marketing and publicity around the event. Figure out what the best way is to reach the most people, such as announcing the event at services, through email, or your church management software. Target your messaging to your ideal attendee and use communication channels that make the most sense to your target group. For example, you may want to send text messages to millennials rather than mail a postcard.
4 Months Before the Event
___ Start planning the event itinerary, being as detailed as you can so that when people ask about what the event will entail, you can give them solid answers.
___ Gather information on the speakers that will be attending (if there are any) and start developing promotional materials to highlight why they are experts in the subject they are speaking on and why it’s worth coming to hear what they have to say.
___ Start rolling out your marketing and publicity plan based on your itinerary and the information provided by any speakers that are attending. This can include but is certainly not limited to the following:
- A Facebook page with a detailed description of the event and information on how to acquire tickets if necessary.
- A YouTube video that can be shared on other social platforms and through email that talks about the event.
- Posters to hang-up around the community.
- Registering the event on online event calendars to ensure as many people see it as possible.
___ Start planning the logistics of getting equipment to your venue and figuring out what needs to be prepared beforehand, such as restrooms capacity, wheelchair accessibility, permits and licenses, insurance, A/V equipment, parking, and signage.
1-2 Months Before the Event
___ Reach out to speakers to confirm travel and accommodation details, as well as any materials or presentations they’ll be using.
___ Send out a reminder to those who have already signed up to make sure they have the date and time marked down in their calendar
___ Continue to follow through on promotional and marketing plans. While, for the most part, you’ll likely have a good amount of attendees at this point, the last month is a great chance to keep promoting your event to get anyone to buy a ticket or commit to coming who still hasn’t decided.
___ Finalize and proofread any printed materials that will be used at the event. Yes, typos happen all the time, but that doesn’t stop people from always pointing them out when they see them. Make sure that all the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed. And, don’t forget the basics, like the date, time, and location of the event.
1 Week Before the Event
___ Meet-up with the rest of the committee and confirm all the details, making sure that everything is where it should be (such as the arrival of seats, wheelchair ramps, A/V equipment, tents, catering, etc.).
___ Brief any volunteers as to what their roles are so that they can show up ready to help when the day arrives.
___ Finalize the event script. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time put to paper what the schedule of the event will be. Sharing that information with the attendees and any other event participants—like the speakers—is a good idea so that they know what they can expect when they arrive.
___ Do a final registration check. If you’re including name tags for event attendees, this is an important one. Finalize the list of attendees and create the nametags, double and triple-check.
The Day Before the Event
___ Get all-hands on deck to help with setting everything up. Setting everything up is perhaps a bigger part of a successful event than the event itself. If everything is set-up right and working correctly, then the event should go off without a hitch.
___ Make sure all A/V equipment is working properly. Audio and video mishaps happen all the time during events. We’ve all been at an event that is momentarily delayed from an A/V issue. That being said, you’ll mitigate the likelihood of it occurring at your event by checking beforehand that everything is working as it should be.
The Day of the Event
___ Arrive early and do one last check to ensure that everything is where it needs to be.
___ Check in with the committee members to ensure that all of their tasks are handled and that everything is on track.
___ Offer warm welcomes to speakers and guests alike.
Enjoy the event!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are some common mistakes made while planning a church event?
One of the most common mistakes made when planning a church event is failing to thoroughly promote it. You can have the event set up perfectly, but if people don’t know when it is or where to go for it, the event won’t be as effective as you hoped.
How early should I start planning a bigger church event?
How early you start planning for a church event really depends on the type of event it is, and how many people are coming to it. A good rule of thumb is to work backward from when the event will be and specifically plan out the amount of time needed for each phase of planning.
What is the best way to promote our church’s event?
While event promotion methods are subjective to the primary demographic of your church, there’s no doubt that promoting events online is a very effective way to get the word out. Consider your church body, and use multiple avenues of promotion to make sure you reach as many people as possible.