Events come in a wide variety, from large public lectures to small receptions. They may include students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni and members of the community. The college’s marketing and communications team can provide event planning and publicity guidance. Begin by reading the list of help topics below. If you need more information or advice, please contact the college’s special event manager, Anita Tucker, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.368.5025.
NOTE: If you’re planning a student-run event, some different guidelines apply. The CWRU Residence Life Facilities Reservation page is a good place to start for planning these types of events.
As you begin planning your event, first think about what kind of event you want it to be. Is it a seminar, reception, workshop, etc.?
Here are a few questions to ask:
It is important to have a well-defined budget for your event. This university page has a sample budget that can help you plan and execute your event.
Allow plenty of time to reserve space for events. Remember that campus facilities fill up quickly. Spaces have different reservation protocols, resources and rules for what you can and can’t do there. Some charge a fee, others don’t. Think about your expected size of audience, technology needs, catering, seating plan, need for furniture rearrangement, parking, security, etc. Remember that spaces that seem very open and public, including outdoor spaces, often require a reservation, so it’s best to check well ahead of time. Here’s a list of university rooms for rent.
An important first step is to talk to the people who control the space you’ll be using for the event. Some spaces provide on-site catering and have staff who will serve as your liaison with other vendors. Other spaces have strict limitations on what, if any, food and drink can be consumed there.
Caterers may have specific time requirements for placing or changing orders, so be sure to contact caterers a minimum of one month in advance of a small event and even longer for large events. You can find helpful information in the university’s guidelines for choosing outside caterers. The university also provides a list of preferred caterers.
There are also special rules you must follow if you will be serving alcohol at an event, especially if students are attending. Please review the alcohol guidelines and follow them carefully.
When planning an event, the most important part is getting people to attend. You must decide who you would like to attend and find the best ways to reach your desired audience.
Confirm availability of parking and communicate parking locations, hours and costs in your event materials.
This office manages the university’s meeting room setups and can provide furniture (tables, chairs, etc.) and moving services for events on campus. Submit a University Movers work order request form, or for more information you can contact them at 216.368.4475.
Large events and those with special security concerns (e.g. those involving money or alcohol) may require the presence of one or more security officers. Security staffing is provided for a fee by Protective Services. The director of Protective Services will work with you to determine the security needs of your event.
Note that requests for officers are required 72 hours in advance of the event for one officer, and an additional 24 hours’ notice is required for every additional officer requested. If you use a building after hours, be sure to contact security to ensure that the doors are unlocked.
Asking guests to RSVP is a standard event procedure. Whether it is an email or printed invitation, it’s recommended to give guests the option to either email or phone their attendance. It’s important to always give a deadline date early enough to allow time to give a final count to caterers or to make follow-up phone calls to those who have not responded.
To make your event run smoothly, it is helpful to have an event brief. Event briefs are a convenient way to include your event schedule and all important contacts on one page. This helps you, the event organizer, to prevent or fix any unexpected problems that may arise before or during the event. A brief also lets event participants, such as speakers or special guests, know what they have to do and when.
Some standard operating tools you may wish to incorporate include:
Follow-up and evaluations after an event can help you plan for future events for determining budget, food and space preferences, topical interests and so on.
When possible, especially for a lecture or academic program, an evaluation by all guests should be completed. You can do this online 1-2 days after an event on Survey Monkey or another online questionnaire, or more immediately by handing out slips of paper to fill out at the event. These evaluations allow you to gather mail and/or email addresses for future communications.
The budget for each event (which will be created in the planning process) should be reconciled post-event. Please submit receipts and invoices in a timely manner.
Did you have too much/not enough food? Did you need to rent more or less chairs/tables? You can adjust your future budgets based on surpluses/deficits of goods and services. Have post-event notes to review for next time or to pass on to future event planners.
NOTE: If you received address changes or other changes, please contact your development officer liaison with any updated information after the event.