Planning an event can range from a meeting at work to a convention and everything in between. It’s another project where you have to manage time, cost and scope (and don’t forget quality) to deliver on a deadline. Using planning templates can help you stay organized and keep to your budget and they allow you to schedule and create the kind of event that serves its purpose, whether that’s networking at a trade show or launching a team-building workshop.
ProjectManager is award-winning software that can help you plan, manage and track your events. We’re also the online hub for everything project management-related. You can read weekly blogs, guides and download free event planning templates for Excel and Word. We have free templates for every phase of a project. Below, we collected 10 free event planning templates that you can use to propose, plan and manage your next event.
1. Event Proposal Template
Every event starts as an idea. Someone or some organization wants to have an event and puts out requests for proposals (RFPs). Just as you’d bid for any project, you have to propose why you’re the best contractor to do the job. Convincing that potential client is where our free event proposal template for Word comes in. It gives you the space to prove to stakeholders that you can do what they need to deliver a successful event.
This free event template is broken up into customizable sections. You can add or remove sections that aren’t pertinent to your proposal, but we boiled down the event proposal to the essentials. You’ll find a field to fill in on the purpose of the event, similar to the mission statement. There’s also a place to define the event’s goals and objectives to show you understand what the client wants to achieve with the event. Further cementing your expertise is a field for the target audience you’ll attract to the event, marketing and promotions, value proposition and costs. This free event proposal template should seal the deal for you.
2. Event Plan Template
Once you get the job you’ll need an event plan template to show how the event will run from start to finish. Our free event plan template for Excel helps make sure that you’ll meet deadlines and do so within the budget approved by your client. No different than any other type of project plan, the free event planning template identifies resources and includes phases to make it easier to manage.
Best of all, there’s an option to skip the Excel spreadsheet and get a free trial of ProjectManager, award-winning project management software that can do much more than a static template. Open the software in the Gantt chart to organize your event tasks and add resources and associated costs. You can even make assignments, attach files and add descriptions, tags, priority and more. Everything you add to the spreadsheet populates on a visual timeline so you can see the event in one place, adding milestones and linking dependent tasks to avoid delays. Then set a baseline to track your planned effort against your actual effort in real time, something you can’t do on a spreadsheet. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
3. Event Budget Template
You got the job and you’re making a plan, but you need to have an event budget to know what to bill your client. If your financial forecast is off, then you could possibly be out a large sum of money. It could be enough to make the whole event a loss for you. To avoid that disaster, you need to use our free event budget template for Excel. This allows you to more accurately estimate the costs of the event before you commit to it so you can make a profit and not lose money.
It’s hard to know how much an event will cost. There are a lot of variables and you have to consider risk, which might impact the event’s costs. Our free budget template lets you collect costs, such as those associated with labor, any consultant fees you might have, raw materials and more. Of course, no two events are exactly alike. That’s why our free template is customizable. You can add things like marketing and promotions or anything else that might be missing from the template to ensure you come up with an accurate figure. There are even columns to track your actual budget against your planned budget to keep on track.
4. Event Marketing Calendar Template
Speaking of marketing, no event is successful without a marketing campaign to attract the event’s target audience. That’s easier said than done. Just like the event plan, there are deadlines, resources and costs involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on an email blitz, direct mail or even billboards; there’s a lot to coordinate. Our free event marketing calendar template for Excel helps you put all those ducks in a row. This versatile tool shows you the marketing campaign on a monthly, quarterly or yearly calendar. You can see who’s responsible for what and when that work is due.
The deceptively simple design is very powerful for marketing management. It’s a grid, the same as what you’d see in any calendar, but it allows you to look at the big picture and see the marketing campaign laid out over the month, quarter or year. The template is broken up into tabs, each with the date on the left and the name of the campaign. Following that are the tasks associated with that campaign, including a description, due date and who’s responsible for completing that work. Then you can add the cost for that task, which is a line item of the total budget. There’s even space to add the goals of the campaign and the duration of the entire marketing campaign.
5. Event Task Tracker Template
We’ve talked about landing the job, planning for the event, estimating the budget and even the marketing and promotion campaign that’ll ensure that it’s well attended. What we’ve not talked about yet is how to ensure you’re staying on track. To do that, you need to compare the planned versus actual effort. That way you can see if you’re adhering to your event schedule or lagging behind. You don’t want to find out that you’re behind schedule when it’s too late to take action. You don’t have to worry if you use our free event task tracker template for Excel.
You’ll find everything you need to track your tasks. There’s a place to list the name of your tasks and add a description of the work. If there’s a dependency, you can also list that to avoid costly delays. Then add who on your team is assigned to that task. There’s a place to add the priority of the tasks to know which needs to be done first and the due dates, including start, planned end and actual end dates. Then add the task status to know if it’s delayed, paused open or completed.
6. Event Timeline Template
Of course, all of this must be done within a certain timeframe. Events take place over a specific time, day or days. There’s no wiggle room. Marketing materials have been sent out with the time of the event and nothing is going to change that. Producing that event on time means you have to schedule wisely. Using our free event timeline template for Excel can help you make sure that everything is done when it needs to be done.
With our event timeline, you have two parts. On the left is a spreadsheet, again fully customizable, in which we have four columns. There you can list the tasks, start dates, end dates and duration. On the right is a visual timeline, like a Gantt chart, which automatically populates the timeline for your event. You can make phases different colors to make them easy to discern as you get an overview of the event plan in one place.
7. Cost-Benefit Analysis Template
Before you propose to produce an event, you need to know that the project is going to bring a return on your investment. Otherwise, you’re a charity, not a business (though even charities need to remain solvent to continue their good work). To determine whether the event is worth bidding for, use our free cost-benefit analysis template for Excel and see if the expenses you have to put out are going to be recouped.
Our free event planning template does this by capturing the quantitative costs, such as indirect, intangible and opportunity, and pushes those out to whatever the length of your event plan is. Then you list the quantitative benefits, such as direct, indirect, intangible and competitive, again forecast out over the life cycle of the event. From that, the template calculates the total cost and compares that to the total benefit to help you make the right decision.
8. RACI Matrix Template
If you’ve bid and won the event, then you’ve already done a cost-benefit analysis, plan and schedule. Now you have to get your team to work and keep your client updated. They do, after all, have a vested interest in your success. This requires identifying the stakeholders and defining their roles and responsibilities, including your team, and how they relate to the project and its tasks. This is done with our free RACI matrix template for Excel.
RACI is an acronym for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. Our free event planning template is a spreadsheet in which you can list the project tasks as rows and across the top list all the members of your team, each as an individual column. Then next to the box where their name meets the task, you can note whether they’re an R, A, C or I. This greatly improves your management of the project, team and client.
9. Stakeholder Map Template
Another tool to identify the stakeholders in your event project is our free stakeholder map template for Excel. Remember, stakeholders can be anyone from your team and the target audience for the event, and, of course, the client. Using this visual tool makes it easy for you to see each stakeholder’s impact and how they influence your work.
The free event planning template is easy to use. It’s broken up into a grid of four squares. First, list your stakeholders and color-code them either green to indicate they’re an advocate, yellow if they’re neutral and red if they’re critical and potentially can block work. Then add each to the grip, which is broken up by how to manage them, keep satisfied, manage closely, and the level of their influence, from low to high. This helps you create a stakeholder management and communication plan.
10. Timesheet Template
Finally, you’ll need to keep track of your team as they do their work. Timesheets are valuable tools not only for payroll but to keep track of the cost per hour, vacation and overtime of your team. Using our free timesheet template for Excel can help you manage your team’s time while keeping track of their hours.
The timesheet template helps you track your employees. Start with capturing the personal data, such as name, department, hourly rate, etc. Then define a timeframe for the timesheet and collect their hours. Add the total work hours and you’re able to keep track of where they are in terms of completing their tasks and ensure they’re paid promptly and accurately.
Use ProjectManager to Deliver a Successful Event
Free event planning templates are great, but only to a point. For example, our timesheet template has to be manually inputted and there’s no security. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that has timesheet features that automatically populate and give managers a real-time look into how far they are in completing their tasks. But that’s just one feature of many to help you manage and deliver a quality event for your client.
Plan Your Event on a Gantt Chart
Rather than using an event planning template, timeline template, event budget, tracker, etc., our Gantt chart organizes your tasks, resources and costs and tracks your progress in real time. You can link all four task dependencies and set a schedule baseline, which allows our software to show you real-time data on your progress and performance. That’s how you stay on track and don’t go over budget.
Track Your Progress on Real-Time Dashboards
It’s easy to edit the Gantt; just drag and drop as things change. All details of your event plan adjust accordingly. Then you can toggle over to our real-time dashboard and get a high-level view of everything from your time, cost to workload and the overall health of your project. You don’t have to waste time configuring it as you do with lightweight tools. It’s ready when you are.
Our software has more than Gantt charts, which are more suited for managers. There are kanban boards to visualize the workflow, task lists and calendars for your marketing and promotion push. The multiple project views all work in unison so no matter which tool you’re using, it has the most up-to-date data. Everyone is always on the same page.
Related Event Content
Whether you’re new to managing an event or have worked on dozens in the past, there’s always more to learn. Our site is an online hub for all things project management, which includes event planning. Here is a sampling of our weekly blogs, guides and tutorial videos.
ProjectManager is online software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track events in real time. Use our task management, risk management and resource management features to stay productive and on track. Our collaborative platform makes it easy to comment and share files wherever you are. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our tool to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.