MSUM Foundation Event Planning Checklist

Advance planning and communication are vital to a successful MSUM Foundation event. Below is a general Event Planning Checklist that covers important factors such as venue, audience and communication. All events are unique, but the Event Planning Checklist walks through things to consider before, during and after your events.

Three Months in Advance:

  • Identify an event chair and/or a person to manage registration
  • Establish one contact person for questions and RSVPs; should be on all invitations
  • Develop a project plan: audience, attendance goal, calendar, timeline, etc.
  • Select a day of the week and time of day that best suits the event (keep in mind potential conflicts, such as holidays)
  • Research venue options and visit prospective sites
  • Research catering and get bids: Check if venue has a preferred catering list or in-house caterer
  • Research A/V needs: Check if venue has a preferred vendor list or in-house A/V
  • Research area logistics, i.e., parking fees and local transportation
  • Select a venue and secure contract
  • Contact the MSUM Marketing & Communications Department if you need any materials (invitations/images) made
  • Contact MSUM Public Safety if the event is on campus and you need special accommodations or event parking signs
  • Select a caterer
  • Plan out event budget to determine if admission cost is necessary
  • Research potential speakers/guests of honor

One to Two Months in Advance:

  • Set up online event registration using the web events module
  • Give the MSUM Foundation event details for the MSUM Foundation event calendar
  • Share event information with local community calendars, if appropriate
  • Acquire blank name tags and other materials needed for your event. Don’t forget to get the Dragon décor bag and giveaway bag from the MSUM Foundation
  • Begin to recruit volunteers to help at the event
  • Monitor and update event details as needed

Two to Four Weeks in Advance:

  • Finalize catering menus
  • Order and confirm all A/V equipment and finalize room set-up with facility
  • Confirm speaker’s travel/accommodations
  • Create a speaker briefing, if needed
  • Send out reminder emails to boost attendance and send event details and body copy for Dragon Digest post(s)
  • If attendance is low, make phone calls to personally invite alumni
  • Check registrations and adjust estimate with caterer, if needed
  • Prepare for registration
    • List of attendees, nametags, pens, highlighters
    • Money bag with change if registration fee is involved (can request from Business Services)
    • Reserve MSUM tablecloths for registration or front tables from Jennifer Donahue, MSUM Marketing and Communications

Day of Event:

  • Arrive early
  • Set up registration area and nametags, place signage and MSUM materials
  • Learn location of restrooms and handicapped entrance
  • Check in with event speaker/host
  • Take photos throughout the event and make sure to record name and stories for possible follow up


  • Wrap up your budget: Deposit all checks, make final payments to vendors, file for reimbursement (if applicable) and clean up registration list with no-shows, cancellations, and final attendee number
  • Be sure to send the MSUM Foundation the final attendance list or, if online registration was taken, the names of any persons who registered on-site
  • Complete a feedback/wrap-up meeting with your staff to get feedback
  • We encourage departments to send a thank-you note or email after the event to the guest speaker/host. It is also a nice gesture, although not necessary, to give the speaker a small thank-you gift.
  • Please be sure to inform the MSUM Foundation of any speakers/hosts that aid your department for our records