“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” Miles Davis was on to something when he said this. If only there was a way to manage your time effectively, especially in the world of event planning.
Oh but there is, friends: the ubiquitous timeline. At Powered by Professionals, we make efficient, effective use of the event timeline for both the long-range planning and in the short term on event day.
An event timeline is the single most important tool in the event planner’s arsenal. If you’re organized and like the feeling of ticking off items on a checklist, you’ll grow to love the timeline. Make sure the event timeline includes the following columns:
- The task itself
- Who is responsible for making sure that task happens
- What date (or time) should that item be completed by
- The vendor name and on-site contacts (if appropriate)
- The all-important notes column (where all the quirks of that particular task/vendor can be spelled out)
- The “completed” column (to get that visceral pleasure of physically checking off an item when it is done)
Powered by Professionals is all about Focused Fundraising. The best way to manage the fundraising process is to use a long-range timeline, which will lay out the roadmap (weekly and monthly) for how to fundraise for an event.
Scheduling calls with Board members, having Event Committee meetings, sending out mailings… all of these tasks should be laid out as thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible, with the responsible party noted to keep everyone in check.
It’s perfectly fine and typical that not all tasks will be completed on time, but the beauty of a timeline is that it is a dynamic document where adjustments can be made. Your Board President may go out of town, and his tasks can easily be adjusted to suit his schedule.
Here at PBP, we are also all about Engaging Events: managing the logistics of the event prep and the event itself. The event-day timeline may drill down on an hourly basis, or even a minute-by-minute basis. When you are on-site at an event with 30+ vendors, 20+ staff, and 3,000+ attendees, you’d better know exactly what needs to be done on a micro level to maintain control over the proceedings.
So when the unexpected happens, like when you have gale-force wind gusts projected to last until 15 minutes before an event begins, you won’t panic. You’ll crack a few “there’s no place like home” jokes, and then move around the timeline so that you don’t blow up the 30-foot inflatable dome until the wind gales have passed and it’s safe to do so.
Having a minute-to-minute event day timeline allows you the flexibility to move tasks into different time slots as the unexpected events occur, while still ensuring that ALL tasks are completed.
It’s February, and you know what that means: the 91st Academy Awards will happen on February 24th. You can bet they have a timeline! With over 1,000 staff required to coordinate such an event, there are too many moving parts and people that have to work in separate areas but also have to work in concert. Walkies help, but a timeline is going to ensure that everyone knows what is supposed to happen from minute to minute.
Your event might not have a snafu on the scale of READING THE WRONG BEST PICTURE WINNER LIVE ON AIR, but snafus can and will happen. With a proper event timeline, everything can be handled efficiently and expertly, ensuring a perfect event.