5 Things New Event Planners Forget to Include in their Event Proposal
Alyssa Perna has over a decade of event operations experience for leading multinational business-to-business conferences, festivals and trade shows, press conferences, large-scale fundraisers, complex social events, and more. She is the founder of Experience Events, the Managing Director of Ingenuity Cleveland. She is also the lead instructor (and tutor!) of the Corporate Event Planning course at QC’s Event Planning School.
If you own your own business, you probably have to manage much more than just events. You may be responsible for handling your businesses’ marketing, accounting, social media, and business development (just to name a few). If you don’t have a background in sales, it may be challenging to know what to include in your corporate event planning proposals.
Let’s take a deep dive into event proposals. Specifically, what they are, and the 5 things new event planners tend to forget in these proposals. Master this list, and you can win new business and thrive!
Say you’re approached to plan a fundraising gala for a local nonprofit organization. You should learn more about what the prospective client is looking for from you. Importantly: is it just event coordination, or do they want you to handle the event from start to finish? The latter would involve finding a venue, negotiating the contract, handling registration, coordinating the event, and more.
Once you understand what the prospective client expects, you should draft an event proposal – a.k.a. “business proposal” – as the next step. Business proposals are written documents that you send to a potential customer. It’s an important step in the sales process of business event planning.
Event proposals should include some crucial, key elements:
- Introduction – A small but informative blurb about you and your company.
- Overview about the Event – What the project or event is.
- Overview of your Services – The event planning services you’ll be providing to the client.
- Pricing – How much it will cost your prospective customer to engage your services.
- Timeline and Deliverables – What you will (and will not, if applicable) provide, and when it will be provided.
Let’s examine these important elements included in your event proposal.
1. Introduction (a.k.a. the “Executive Summary”)
Event proposals should include a title or cover page, especially if they’re longer proposals. In the introduction, you should provide some insight about your organization, your experience and background, and why you’re well-suited to handle the job. This should also include things like professional certifications, how many years you’ve been in business, and what you specialize in.
- Thank your prospective customer for considering you to handle their project.
- Make it personal, be sincere, and show appreciation in your words!
- If the event is a large project and requires a longer proposal, you may consider adding a Table of Contents.
2. Overview of the Event
Provide a clear description of the event based off of the discussion you had with the potential client. Include a project scope, which describes the work you’ll do for the event. You should talk about tasks, timelines, goals, and deadlines. For example: one of your listed deliverables may be that within 3 weeks of the customer signing your proposal, you’ll personally provide him or her with venue options and suggested event dates.
- Be detailed and concise in your overview of the event.
- Make sure to provide realistic deadlines and deliverables.
- Event proposals take a lot of time and effort, but it’s best practice for a professional business to provide such a service.
3. Overview of your Services
Now is a good time to acknowledge any challenges the event poses, and an outline of how you can help prevent them. You should list the specific event planning services you’ll provide in order for the client to be successful. Consider outlining this area of the proposal in bullet-point format to make it easy to read. But don’t forget to use appropriate headers for each section of the overview!
- Detail any venues, vendors, and/or partners that you plan to work with in this area.
- Write down any optional services that you can provide. Make it clear what’s included within the proposal, versus what will be an additional fee.
- Consider adding work samples or relevant projects that you’ve successfully executed, to give the prospective client more confidence in your ability.
Clearly and meticulously list out all costs associated with this project, as it pertains to what you’ll be charging the potential client for your services. Some planners ask for a lump sum payment. Others may break down each section and what it costs, with respect to the exact list of services they’ll provide. Consider including the different costs alongside the overview of services. This will provide additional context behind how much time and effort it’ll take you to achieve each element of the provided service.
- Be very specific within a cost category.
- For example, if you offer audio-visual support as a service, outline exactly what the audio-visual service(s) will include. Also specify how many people it will cover. That way, if the client increases their guest count, they won’t be as surprised when the price for audio-visual support likewise increases, since you’ll need additional audio-visual equipment to accommodate more guests.
5. Timeline and deliverables
Include important next steps as it pertains to the event timeline. Outline not only what you’ll provide and when, but also hold the customer accountable for both of your success! For example, if the event is on a short timeline (i.e. you only have a few weeks to plan it), ask for acceptance of the proposal on a relatively quick timeline. You’ll need that time in order to plan the customer’s event successfully!
- Outline the payment terms, including any deposits, incremental payments, and when payments are due.
- Your contact information! Include your name, email address, phone number, and mailing address.
Understanding what to include in your event proposals is an essential part of winning new business. Knowledge like this can be what separates those who are successful in the event planning field from those who aren’t. A trusted event planning school can help prepare you for everything you need to expect once you begin your career, by properly teaching you this foundation of information and more!