Start by planning your event process in detail
Why? Goal of the event
- Why is the event being organised?
- What is the core message of the event?
- Does the objective align with Aalto University’s strategy?
- Is the event the most effective means of achieving the goal?
- How should the goals of the event be measured and monitored?
What? Format of the event
- What is the format of the event (e.g. conference, seminar, reception)?
- Is the event a virtual, hybrid or in-person event? What kind of facilities are needed?
- What is the topic and theme of the event?
- What language(s) are used?
- Accessibility of the event ?
For whom? Target group of the event
- Is the event internal, external, open to the public, or by invitation only?
- What is the estimated number of invitees and/or attendees?
- Who is responsible for customer relationship management (CRM), invitations and registration?
When? Time and duration of the event
- When will the event take place?
- How long is the event? Note, the structure of online events is more compact.
- Is the time suitable for the key people and host(s)?
- Are there overlapping events that need to be taken into consideration?
- Is there enough time to produce a good quality event?
Who? Responsibilities for the event
- Who is the academic owner of the event?
- Who has the decision making responsibility?
- Who is responsible for the budget?
- Who is part of the working group?
How much? Cost estimate and resources
- What is the cost estimate?
- Who owns the budget?
- What services are found within the university?
- What services need to be purchased from external vendors?
As the world changes, event formats evolve. Here are short descriptions of the commonly used formats:
Audience and guests arrive to a given place at a given time. High interaction and possibility to network on the spot. Requires a host and several people to assist.
Streaming and online
Interaction is limited to e.g. chat. Usually one way communication. The full programme is enjoyed from any location on a screen. Requires moderator(s) and hosts.
Event format combining the online experience with the in-person participation. Both formats run parallel and are equally valued. The differences of content should be clear to audience whether you are taking part online or in-person. Requires staff for both online and in-person productions e.g. hosts, assistants, moderators, and AV production.
Aalto Studios offer services on the campus at Hybrid Stage at Harald Herlin Learning Centre.
Aalto Studios Hybrid Stage
How long does it take to plan an event?
- One-day event – planning takes minimum 3 months
- Three-day event – planning takes minimum 6 months
- Five-day event – planning takes minimum 12 months
Small event: Half day or one day, internal event, no need for marketing, invitations sent via email or Webropol, and publishing in the Aalto Events calendar and news.
Medium size event: One day, both internal and external target groups, some need for marketing, need for both CRM and Webropol.
Large event: Multi day, both external and internal target groups, various prices groups, need for marketing, need for CRM and Webropol, usually requires a steering group.
Extra large: Multiple organisers, multi day, various price groups and ticket options, need for CRM and Webropol, requires a steering group and possibly an outside PCO (professional congress organiser).
Available tools to use:
Max 300 participants
Two way interaction
Breakout rooms – yes
Max 1000 participants – contact IT services
Interaction only via chat / Q&A
Breakout rooms – no
Zoom quick guideTeams
Two way interaction
Up to 10 000 participants – contact IT services
Delay about 30 sec
Resembles a broadcast like form
Teams quick guidePanopto
No max limitation but if more than 5000 participants expected requies a wider server lane
Live stream delay about 30 sec
Audience can participate only via chat
Tips for effective online meeting
Web browser based virtual stage manager that allows stage program, parallel sessions, pitches, networking and presentations.
No max limitation, but requires streaming to the platform from another source, preferably Vimeo.
Chat and private messaging possible.
Budget template. Use a budget template to create a cost estimate.
Project reference. The owner of the event should provide the correct references. Make sure that the event has a budget and has a cost centre and project number at hand early on. All orders and invoices must have the reference number clearly stated on them.
Preliminary budget. What is the cost estimate? Who oversees the budget? List your estimated income and all your expenses, both fixed and variable costs. There are always variable costs which depend on the number of participants, e.g. catering. If the event is recurring,familiarise yourself with the budgets from previous events. Always aim to keep the costs reasonable through good and solid planning. For unexpected costs a 5–10% increase in the budget is recommended.
Internal resources. Plan and find out what resources exist and what can be utilised from within the university. Things like technical solutions, venue, and cleaning should be clearly stated in the budget. Some products and services might need to be ordered from external vendors. Consider the need for extra personnel.
Income options. To help map the income, sketch a list of different registration categories e.g. early bird, member, non-member, students. Non-paying participants, e.g. speakers, organisers, VIP’s, are not added to the income.
External funding. When organising large events, especially conferences, external funding and partners might be involved in the form of co-organizers (e.g. City of Espoo, GTK, VTT), sponsors or as umbrella organisations (e.g. IEEE, ISPM, SRA, EU). All partners should agree to the Code of Conduct. External funding can also be in the form of grants.
Code of ConductEntertainment Policy
Guidance. For support in financial management, external funding and guidelines for contracts contact your department's controller or legal services.
An event is never solely a one-person effort, but always requires partners and people involved. Duties and responsibilities should be clearly assigned. Decide early on what channels of communication are used within the working group, as this helps keeping the process clear for everyone included. Depending on the scope of the event, the operational resources and roles may vary.
Event owner: The accountable person from within the university who, e.g. signs the invitation, indicates the event budget, and signs the contracts.
Project manager: The main organiser and person responsible for the event production as a whole include e.g. scheduling, budgeting, meetings. Oversees the details and ensures that all people involved in the organising of the event are aware of their duties and responsibilities and also oversees these. Main point of contact to the event owner.
Steering group: Members who are not necessarily organising the content of the event but have valuable information and contacts. Selected members steer the event project and accept larger decisions and procurement. Generated normally only in connection with larger events or conferences.
Scientific committee: Responsible for the scientific content, when included in the programme.
Working group: Includes main organisers, main collaboration partners and e.g. representatives from other schools and institutions.
Supporting services: May include supporting services of the university e.g. finance, legal, procurement, IT, communication, lobby and travel services, and ACRIS. Contact well in advance if specific consulting is needed or if special information has to be provided.
External partners: Co-organisers, umbrella organizations, or partners can be part of the event in the form you agree upon in a contract well in advance before the event. A professional congress organizer (PCO) can be – and should be for bigger conferences – hired to take care of tasks agreed upon through a contract.
Event assistants: Students, summer workers, or other part-time staff who help with various assisting tasks during the event e.g. cloak service, guides, furnishing and decorating, putting up stands. HR representatives in each school can be of assistance, also AYY can help in finding volunteers. For organising large conferences or multiple events annually, contact HR services for event assistant possibilities.
Checklist for event management
List all the things you should consider and put them in the timeline. Separate checklists are needed for the month running towards the event and an other for the timeline on the day(s) of the actual event. The working group should have access to the timeline and checklists e.g. through Teams. You can use the checklist template, found in the Templates section of this Events Library.
Draft the programme
What is the actual timeline and schedule for the event, include introductions, speakers, panels, entertainment, and transitions, in order to compile the entire event schedule. Include time for breaks and transitions, and add time for engagement and interaction.
Specific documents are also needed for planning, monitoring and reporting. A check list of possible documentations:
- Budget plan
- Communications plan
- Contact information list
- Documentation plan
- Feedback survey
- List of invitees
- Participant list
- Production plan
- Programme and script
- Reporting plan
- Roles and responsibilities
- Security plan
- Archived marketing or event materials
- CRM (Customer Relations Management) data
- Event feedback results
- Final event report
- Finalized budget
- Partner and/or sponsor report(s)
- Signed and verified attendee list (especially required in EU-related events)
- Sustainability report