Define Your Event or Conference Goals

Start the planning process by determining the goals and objectives of your event or conference. While some of the basic issues surrounding events are very straightforward (such as location, date and time), a strategic assessment of goals, messaging and planning will further ensure that the event provides tangible value to the department and supports campus efforts.

Identify Your Overall Goals and Objectives

  • Is an event the best or most appropriate way to achieve goals (versus a press release or other targeted communication)?
  • What are the key goals or objectives of this event or conference? Specifically, what is the desired outcome and what do you want your guests to take away from this experience?
  • If you are considering sponsoring a non-University group, is the collaborative event in keeping with your department’s mission and goals? As the sponsor, is your department willing to make all the arrangements and cover the costs through your recharge account? Or is it better to have the UCLA Events Office manage this event as a rental activity with no involvement by your department?
  • What is the long-term value of the activity to the University?

Identify Key Planning and Production Items

  • 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”?
  • If you anticipate a role for the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor or Provost, it is critical that your Assistant Vice Chancellor or Dean be consulted. Be prepared to discuss what their role would be and the implications of including or not including them.
  • 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 to include alumni, donors, community members, legislators, media, students, faculty and staff.
  • Are there opportunities to collaborate with other campus units or off-campus entities?
  • What is the best date, time and location for this event? Why? Has adequate lead time been planned (to invite attendees, reserve the venue, etc.)?

Identify Marketing and Communications Strategies

  • What are the ways this event will be marketed? How can you gain greater effectiveness and leverage from this event - before and after? Have you considered soliciting assistance from the University Communications to explore marketing alternatives? Have you contacted your department’s media relations representatives?
  • Consider how your message will be communicated or reinforced through: invitations, printed programs, publications (UCLA Today, UCLA Magazine, college/school/department newsletters), advertising (Daily Bruin, Los Angeles Times, flyers, banners, radio), websites, list serves, UCLA Gateway, UCTV or LA36, and local and national media.
  • Do the printed materials (design and copy) clearly reflect and identify UCLA?