Event planners expect the unexpected. You probably already have a plan in place to tackle common event disasters such as venue issues or no-shows. But what if you show up on event day to discover that no one confirmed your alcohol delivery? Or that catering costs weren’t confirmed by your team before you spent the last of your budget?

Often the biggest disasters are the ones you didn’t see coming — because everyone thought that someone else took care of it. When roles and responsibilities within an event team are not 100% nailed down, things are bound to go wrong. That is why you need an Event Management Plan that outlines all responsibilities from the get-go.

Free Download: Event Management Plan Excel Template

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How to use an Event Management Template to clarify roles and responsibilities

The simplest way to ensure all responsibilities are clearly defined is to use a project management practice referred to as ‘RACI’. RACI stands for:

  • Responsible: Assigned to those expected to complete a specified task
  • Accountable: Assigned to those who are accountable for ensuring a task is completed to standard (and on time)
  • Consulted: Assign this role when a manager needs to provide an opinion and/or approval before a decision can be made or task finalised by those responsible
  • Informed: Assign this to anyone who should be kept in the loop about the progress of the event, but doesn’t need to have a say in order for a particular task to be completed

In a spreadsheet (such as the template provided), list all key event planning tasks and assign a staff member or team with a corresponding letter based on their role. R for responsible, A for accountable, C for consulted and I for informed.

In some cases, those responsible for a task may also be accountable for its completion. In those cases you assign them as ‘AR’ or ‘Accountable/Responsible.’

Try to define tasks in as much detail as possible, ensuring that each is a distinct job. For example, ‘send email invites’ would not include ‘defining the target audiences,’ or ‘create the event design and communication templates.’ These are all separate tasks, even if one person takes care of them all.

Every person (or function/department) must agree to the final document for it to be effective. Weekly catch-ups with the whole project team will keep everyone informed of key milestones.

Pro tip: Save the spreadsheet in a shared drive or use a service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive. This will ensure everyone is working from a single document.

Benefits of using this approach to event planning

There are three key benefits to using the Responsible-Accountable-Consulted-Informed approach when planning events:

  1. By clarifying who is (and isn’t) responsible for each task, details are less likely to get missed and there’s no room for doubt.
  2. Everyone has a single view of who needs to be involved at each stage of the event and in what capacity.
  3. Communications are streamlined when everyone is clear on who to direct questions to.

Another advantage to this approach is that you’ll involve all the right people in the planning and management of your event. For example, let’s say members of the marketing team are responsible (and ultimately accountable) for the success of an event. It may be tempting for them to work without consultation with the sales department, even though this team will be responsible for acting on leads generated from the event.

By adding in sales as ‘Consulted’ and senior management, finance etc. as ‘Informed,’ you’ll keep everyone on the same page, and ensure the event meets the goals of everyone in the organisation.

Download the free excel template

You don’t have to be working on a massive event across multiple agencies for this approach to be effective. Even if you’re the designated project manager for an event internally, this strategy (and this free template) will ensure everything runs smoothly. Download the Event Management Plan RACI Excel Template Here.