Event Planning Tips

This page lists tips for event organisers.

Use an Event Plan

An event plan that identifies tasks and when they need to be completed should be prepared no matter the scale of the event. This makes it easier to control the numerous tasks involved, reduces the risk of tasks being forgotten, allows monitoring of progress and allocates responsibility accordingly.

The event plan should contain the following information, as applicable:

Name of Event and Event Description

Choose an event name that reflects the event and/or audience, and prepare a statement which summaries the event and gives potential partners an understanding of your (event) vision.

Target Audience and Expected Numbers

The target audience for the event needs to be identified. Forecasting expected numbers will help with budgeting and service provision decisions.

Event Date (s), including Start and Finish Times

Check that no other local events are scheduled to clash with your event on the Nelson Tasman events database www.Itson.co.nz . Consider back up dates for wet weather options.   Ensure there is sufficient time to plan and prepare for the event.

Venue and Location

The right venue can have a big impact on the success of an event. The facilities need to be adequate for the size of the crowd expected.  Consider: hazards, parking/traffic flow, impact on local environment, proximity to/access of emergency services, entry and exit, disabled access, access to services such as water, toilets and power. Environmental conditions need to be considered when staging outdoor events, with shelter provisions provided to account for prevailing wind, rain, sun, and cold conditions.

Affected Parties

Neighbouring residents and businesses should be considered and need to be kept well informed. Work collaboratively through any issues that may arise.  Authorities such as Police and Council should also be informed early and kept updated.

Site Plan

Do a detailed drawing of how your event is going to be laid out.  When drawn to scale it allows you to methodically work through your event to make sure it logistically fits together, and is an essential event briefing document for contractors and event staff.

Program Format and Schedule of Activities

The success of an event has much to do with the event program and the entertainment provided. The entertainment and activities planned for the event will depend on the budget, theme and type of event, target audience, importance of entertainment and availability of entertainers.

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Infrastructure and Equipment

Sound, lighting, staging, fencing, toilets, rubbish bins, recycling bins, signage, tables, and seating consideration will need to be included when planning for an event. 

Resources: Human (Event Staff: entertainers, performers, contractors, volunteers, stall holders)

A reliable, trustworthy team is a valued asset for all events and for every event manager.  A written contract or memorandum of understanding is recommended to ensure all parties are clear on expectations and requirements of their contribution towards the event.  Paramount to this is effective two-way communication throughout the entire planning (and delivery) process, which includes negotiating suitable terms and conditions.


Developing an event budget is crucial for any event, whatever the size or type. The event organiser and committee must be aware of how much money the event will need, what the money will be spent on and what revenue streams are available to assist in funding the event.  Be realistic in setting the budget, and always allow for a contingency fund. Generally, with an event, the pressure comes on in the final week leading up to it.  It is at this time that things can go wrong and there can be pressure to spend additional money to get things right.  You need to know exactly what your expenditure is to date so you can make informed decisions rather than emotional decisions.


There are three elements to funding an event:  Community Funding, Sponsorship and Event Revenue. 

Community Funding

Apply to community contestable funding grants, for example Tasman District Council Community Grants, Tasman Creative Communities, Community Trusts and Rata Foundation.

Crowd Funding

Crowd Funding can be used as alternative funding or it can be complementary to funding grants. It is particularly useful for new events to test community interest and support. Some examples are; Pledge Me, SuchCrowd, Boosted.


Events have proven to be a useful commercial advertising and branding tool for business and corporate enterprise.  The success in any sponsorship arrangement will be determined by the fit between the event organiser’s audience target audience and the sponsor’s commercial target market.  Understanding why sponsors become in involved in funding events allows you to work with them to assist in achieving their objectives. 

Event Revenue

Event ticketing sales can assist with funding an event and if sold prior (pre-sales) can provide an income boost and allows the Event Manager to predict numbers, and control entry points.  Event Revenue income can also be generated via charging stallholder fees for trading. 

Advertising & Promotion

An array of promotional media are available to communicate your event to your intended audience, including social media, events listing websites like www.itson.co.nz, print, radio broadcast, and direct marketing strategies.

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Risk Management and Health and Safety

Risk Management

Risk management is a key responsibility of the event organiser. Effective risk management identifies the risks; considers the options to eliminate the risk; if they can’t be eliminated identifies the options to minimise.  Do not overlook this process or shortcut it, effective risk management minimises potential negative outcomes, costs and liabilities and leads to safer, more successful and enjoyable events.

Health and Safety plan

When you plan an event you are responsible for the safety of everyone at the event. You need to develop a clear and actioned plan to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and the public. Provision of first aid/emergency medical services is crucial at any event where there is potential risk to patrons or performers.  First aid services are included in the communication system allowing them to communicate efficiently with the security staff, event manager, health and safety crew, police and other emergency services.


It is critical to have an effective communication system for all those staffing the event, including police, security, health & safety and emergency services and event coordinators. These parties need to be able to communicate with each other and with their own staff. It is essential to bring all parties together just prior to the event and brief them on all relative operational considerations, including Health and Safety, Risk identification and management.  Knowledgeable staff can efficiently mitigate problems. Information services on site for patrons need to be visible and easy to find.  An event MC can engage with patrons via public announcements. Event programs are another way of keeping the public informed.


Clearly visible and informative event signage ensures event goers can navigate easily to and around the venue.  Signs with rules relating to entry conditions should be located so that patrons see them before entering the event.

Gate/door control

Efficient control of all entry and exit points ensures comfortable crowd traffic flows and creates a positive and enjoyable atmosphere. Aim to keep the door and gate management system simple and effective to prevent congestion and reduce patron frustration.   For example, allocate special gates for patrons with pre-sale tickets.  Ensure you have enough security door staff to process event goers without creating frustrating delays. Patrons need to know in advance if there are items that are prohibited at an event.  Rules and regulations need to be clearly outlined on promotional materials and clearly displayed at entry points.


An adequate number of toilets need to be made available given the expected number of patrons. The location of toilets is also an important consideration - ease of access and central location/multiple locations are essential. 

Refuse and Waste

Provisions need to be made to ensure waste and rubbish generated at an event is collected, managed and removed adequately.  Recycling stations can be set up to collect cardboard, paper, bottles, aluminium cans and non-recyclables.   It is often advisable to contract waste collection to take place during as well as after the event.

Food and Beverage Provision

An adequate and safe supply of cold drinking water must be available for event patrons and staff. Water must be delivered in a hygienic way to prevent transmission of bacteria. Having affordable, quality food on site helps patrons to have a good time and can help reduce the negative effects of alcohol.

Insurance and bonds

Depending on the size of your event, you may be required to have insurance to protect people and property. It is recommended that you take out Public Liability Insurance to cover legal liability arising if the activity causes loss or damage to another party.


Allow yourself plenty of time to set up the venue, and use a site map as a blueprint to ensure everyone knows where everything should be. Construct a detailed timeline that describe what time different groups/contractors are to arrive, and when their area/activity is needed to be set up and operational by. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the set up, as things can go wrong, which can create setup delays.

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After the Event

You will need to plan for event pack down duties, which involves cleaning up the venue and returning it to its original condition.  This includes removing all rubbish and waste, taking down signage, dismantling infrastructure and returning hired equipment. 

Once the dust settles, it is good practice to carry out a debrief session with event personnel to identify what worked well and improvements for next time.  It is also recommended to acknowledge the input of all involved.  A thank you letter to key stakeholders, sponsors, contractors and event volunteers is advisable.

Administration duties include paying any outstanding invoices and completing reporting criteria which is often attached to funding grants.

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Further Information

The www.ItsOn.co.nz Event Planning Directory

If you’re planning a conference or event in the Nelson Tasman region have a look at the Event Planning Directory.

This is a comprehensive resource to assist professional event and conference organisers plan anything from fundraising events and festivals to conferences for 40 - 400.

Whether you're looking for marquees or musicians, food or first aid, or even entertainment or EFTPOS, the Event Planning Directory is your A - Z for all the answers.

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