Event Planning Guide

As you begin planning for your event there are many important questions to answer, such as: Where is the event going to take place? Who is the event for? How many participants are you expecting?

There are also critical factors such as equipment, event insurance, and volunteer recruitment that you should evaluate in advance of your event.

Below is a guide to help ensure that you create a comprehensive plan for your event which incorporates all of these important topics. It can be used in conjunction with all of the event guides from Events to Run and would likely be helpful for any youth athletic event.


Event Plan

Event Title
Choose an appropriate title that makes it clear exactly what kind of event you are staging, and if possible, conveys a sense of fun.

Event Type
You can find detailed guides to several different athletic events below, or choose your own:

  • A Field Day
  • Fun Run
  • Track & Field Meet
  • Cross Country Race
  • Food & Fitness Fest

Event Location
Among other things, you need to consider the safety of participants, capacity of the venue, cost, and availability of necessary equipment. The Events to Run events guides give examples of considerations in choosing locations for specific events.

Event Date
When selecting a date, consider national holidays and potentially conflicting events in the venue or nearby.

Event Timing
In addition to choosing a suitable amount of time for the event itself be sure to factor in enough time before and after for setup and tear-down.

Event Coordinator
Every event needs a leader to be the focal point for organization.

Principal/Program Director Approval
Be sure to get approval for your event as far in advance as possible.

Goals and Expectations
It's a good idea to reflect on what your goals are for the event. It's easy to get lost in the details, but regularly revisiting your goals will help you to stay on task.

Target Participants
Carefully estimate how many participants you expect to take part. This will help you prepare activities, acquire ample supplies, and find a suitable venue.

Get Others to Help with Coordination
Identify other staff that can help you organize the event. Give each a specified role and ensure they know what you are expecting them to do before, during, and after the event.

Contingency Plans
What will happen it if rains on the event day? Where could you acquire additional snacks if more kids turn up than expected? Where else could you hold the event if your venue is double-booked? Think through what challenges could arise and make contingency plans in advance.

Other Considerations
The following are all important items for you to consider in advance of your event. For each you should evaluate how you can acquire the resources and who will be responsible for planning and providing them. The Planning Timeline provides more detail on each topic on when to plan for each.

  • Event Equipment / Supplies
  • Event Agenda / Run of Show
  • Staff/Volunteers
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Cleaning of Event Space
  • Event Publicity/Outreach
  • Permission Slips
  • Location / Location Permits
  • Snacks/Water
  • Access to Restrooms
  • Transportation
  • Registration
  • Sound System (optional)
  • Prizes (optional)

Don't forget to also use the Planning Timeline as an ordered checklist to guide you through the tasks of preparing your event.