8 Tips for Organizing an Academic (Educational) Event
For people in academia, attending or putting on a professional event is quite a common activity. Therefore, a typical professor or student attends tens of events within any given year. In general, there are several academic events one can organize - conferences, seminars, meetings, colloquiums, graduations, ceremonies and many more.
Each event is organized for a particular purpose. However, attendees are usually oblivious of the work needed to put together such events.
Yet, event planners spend a lot of time, effort, and resources on putting together academic events, orchestrating it all behind the scenes. Below are 8 tips for organizing an academic event to help with your next event.
1. Setting a date
Fixing a date is the first step of organizing any event.
Initially, you want to identify possible dates available in the academic calendar. As you consider your options, check the calendar for upcoming events in your industry to prevent overlapping, and therefore, smaller attendance.
Before you set your date, also consider the availability of your venue, vendor, speakers, entertainers, and other participants. ** Consider state holidays and common vacation times in your area, too.
2. Select event type and theme (purpose)
The event type determines your event planning checklist.
It also depends on what you intend to achieve. Similarly, you must narrow down your theme. It helps you identify the people to invite and the content to share. However, your theme must be unambiguous.
A well-defined event usually makes for a successful one.
A well through-out event theme (purpose) can attract an audience of a wide range to your academic event - even students will gladly come if a theme is cool.
Academic events could include:
- Educational workshops or seminars
- Exams or testing
- Student ceremonies or award nights
- Art productions
- School registration
3. Involve your institution
The institution you are affiliated with can help you deliver a successful event. So, ensure you involve academics and the administration of your institution. In most cases, you will get a lot of support and advice on making your event successful.
Equally, you may get both financial and logistical support from a local college. In some cases, the institution can host the event, provide a venue for free or help market the event.
4. Secure funding
Your ability to secure sufficient funding can make or break your event. You can source money through sponsorship, registration fees, or both. Therefore, you must decide which path you want to follow. You will want to do the following when deciding on funding.
Contact local academic institutions and authorities to see if your event qualifies for internal sponsorship. A grant may exist that covers what you intend to host.
Reach out to professional bodies within your area of expertise. In most cases, these organizations are keen to provide help through funding or advertisement.
You can equally contact companies interested in the academic event you are proposing. One or two businesses can provide partial or complete funding for your event. You can invite a few specialists outside academia. Doing this improves the possibility of gaining funding.
It is also a good idea to reach out to colleges and institutions in your field. Even if you do not get funding, your event will have a wider reach.
5. Develop a budget
There are several ways of hosting a budget-friendly academic event. However, for many in academia, creating a budget may be challenging. Therefore, you will want to consider the following when creating a budget for your event.
Identify your source of funding. If it is from an organization you work with, you will want to contact relevant units to ensure you can access the money. Also, you will need to establish communication with contributors if your funding is external. In either case, you will require financial backing before preparing for an event.
Next, you will need to create an actual budget. Make sure you include all the expenses, no matter how little. Also, make sure you include the cost of buying or rending any event technology you may need for the gig. Never assume the cost of anything. Always use the latest quotes when calculating your budget.
Remember that your budget is a projection. Therefore, do not be overly optimistic about profit and expenditure. You will want to project high cost and low profit.
If there is a registration fee, make sure it covers all expenses. You should leverage online registration if you intend to reduce the cost of your event. However, make sure you have a user-friendly registration platform.
6. Contact key guests
The next tip for organizing an academic event involves contacting key guest speakers and/or hosts.
However, you must send invitations as early as possible. Doing this helps you complete the list of individuals that will attend your event. It also gives you the chance to find replacements for those that cannot make it. This is especially important if there is limited sitting.
7. Organize all the logistics
You must organize all logistics ahead of time.
Make sure you book the hall, audio, and video equipment months before the big day, and organize any deliveries. Similarly, you will want to make necessary arrangements with catering services. Make advance payments in some cases to secure the services.
A quick event planning checklist and logistics to cover:
- Online registration and ticketing
- Equipment and tech (depends on event)
- Special guest speakers
- Volunteers/staff (your team)
- Marketing strategy
- Contacting sponsors/partnerships
8. Promoting your event
Let the world know about your event!
Make promotional materials like posters and flyers. Use social media outlets for more awareness. You can also send emails to your email list telling them about the event. Do this in advance and send further reminders for optimal attendance.
For more on promoting events, check out this complete guide on marketing an event.
There are several steps to organizing an academic event. Follow our guide and make sure to cover all the basics if you want your event to go on without a hiccup.
Plan, organize, and confirm everything in advance to ensure that your event is on the right track, and don’t leave anything to chance. But, however, well you plan, be ready for something unexpected to happen. We have full confidence that your next academic event will be a blast!
Author: Donald Fomby
Donald Fomby is a writer with several years of experience. He has written many popular articles on several platforms. Additionally, Donald is a regular contributor to paper writing service review, which makes him a well-rounded writer able to handle any topic.