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Event Planning Resources


Events are critical tools for institutional advancement. Some of the basic issues surrounding events are very straightforward: location, date, time, etc. But events should never be ends in themselves, but rather means to our ends.

Work with your client to answer the following questions. Answering these questions will ensure that the event will provide tangible value and support campus and External Affairs goals.

Overall Goals and Objectives

  • Is an event the best/most appropriate way to achieve goals (versus, for example, a press release or other targeted communication)?

  • What are the key goals/objectives of this event? Specifically, what is the desired outcome and what do you want your guests to take away from this experience?

  • What is the long-term value of the activity to the university?

Communications & Marketing

  • What is your event’s primary message and themes? If you will have speakers, who would be appropriate (legislator, administrator, faculty, student, etc.)? If there are multiple speakers, how will their messages be appropriately differentiated and integrated? How will this program be “choreographed”?

  • What are the ways this event will be marketed? How can we gain greater effectiveness/leverage from this event – before and after ? Have you considered soliciting assistance from the Marketing & Communications Services unit to explore marketing alternatives?

  • Consider how your message will be communicated or reinforced through: invitations; publications (UCLA Today, UCLA Magazine, UCLAlumni magazine, college/school/department newsletters); advertising (Daily Bruin ads, LA Times ads, flyers, banners, radio); Websites; listserves; UCLA Gateway (featured story, if appropriate); UCTV or LA36; local/national media.

  • Do the printed materials (design and copy) clearly reflect/identify UCLA?

Planning & Production

  • What groups should comprise the audience? Who else might benefit from this event beyond the primary attendees? If it’s appropriate and feasible within budgetary constraints, consider whether it makes sense to include alumni, donors, community members, legislators, media, students, faculty and staff. Coordinate with the appropriate EA colleagues who have primary responsible for those audiences.

  • If you anticipate a role for the Chancellor or Executive Vice Chancellor, it is critical that your AVC be consulted. Be prepared to discuss what their role would be and the implications of including or not including them.

  • Are there opportunities to partner/collaborate across External Affairs or with other campus units or off-campus entities?

  • What is the best date and location for this event? Why?