Event Checklist and Tips

Event Ideas?

What does it take to plan a successful event?

The key to a successful event is detailed planning. Whether it be a reception for 100 alumni or a potluck in your home, you want to make sure your event is well organized and a success!

Please view our event checklist and tips below to help you get started:

  • Start by filling out the Hornet Host Event Idea form.
  • Establish your Event Timeline: Please note that the Office of Alumni Engagement needs at least two months notice of your event. If it is a last minute event, please email Audrey Bitzer at abitzer@kzoo.edu to confirm event date availability.
  • Save the Date: Selecting a convenient date and time is crucial to event success. Things to consider: Is it near a holiday? Are there other big events going on in my city at this time? Is it graduation party season?
  • Research, Visit and Select your Venue: Secure any necessary contracts. Make sure that it is an easily accessible location for alumni in your area. You can find out where alumni in your area are located through the Alumni Directory.
  • Budget for your Event: Research and clearly define the costs that would go into the event. This could be a cost that you would incur as the host or a cost that the attendee would incur – for example, the cost of a ticket to a baseball game.
  • Find an Engaging Speaker: Interested in a K Talk? You will need to confirm your speaker, request a speaker bio, audiovisual needs, photo and any marketing materials. Send the speaker information on logistics, alumni, and any hints to make their experience successful.
  • Who is invited? Use the Alumni Directory to define the invitation list. If you need assistance, the Office of Alumni Engagement will be able to help.
  • Get the Word Out: Provide Audrey Bitzer with the event details, wording for the e-invitation, and for the website. The Office of Alumni Engagement will send out reminder emails as well.
  • Create a Buzz: Contact alumni with personal outreaches to create a “buzz”. If applicable, work with the Office of Alumni Engagement to create a flyer for your event to post in areas of interest.
  • Supplies for your Event: Work with the Office of Alumni Engagement to make sure all necessary event supplies are in place.
  • Audiovisual: Confirm with venue if any audiovisual is needed at your event.
  • Food and Beverage: Select and finalize any food and beverage needs. Establish who is providing the food and beverage: as a host, will you be providing them? Or will attendees be purchasing their own food and beverage? This will vary on a case-by-case basis. There are many options to providing quality food and beverage for your event – and it does not need to be expensive! Audrey Bitzer will work with you to help determine the best option for your type of event.
  • Attend and be a Fabulous Host!  Arrive early, check in with the venue if necessary, set up any food and beverage, make sure your speaker has arrived, and be ready to greet alumni, parents and friends. Please also be prepared to address the group.
  • Feedback: Please provide the Office of Alumni Engagement with feedback about your event and provide an updated guest list.

How the Office of Alumni Engagement can help:

  • Event Planning Support: Audrey will provide guidance and support throughout your entire event planning process.
  • Invitations: Creating and sending email invitations to alumni, parents and friends in your area and post the event details on the Alumni Events page.
  • RSVPs: The Office of Alumni Engagement will coordinate and track RSVPs.
  • What’s Happening at K? We will provide talking points on college updates and any exciting news happening at K.
  • Event Materials: Kalamazoo College will be happy to provide some of the branded materials that you will need for your event. For example: name tags, sign – in sheets, marketing materials, signage, promotional materials. Any additional materials needed can be discussed during your event planning process.
  • Email Lists: Produce alumni email lists if needed.
  • Social Media: Assist with social media postings if applicable.

If you have any additional questions about starting your event or what goes into hosting, please email Audrey Bitzer, Advancement Events Manager, at abitzer@kzoo.edu or call 269-337-7283.