Creating a Backwards Timeline

Once you have chosen your event components, tasks, event coordinator, and committees, you will want to map out a backwards timeline. The timeline is a guide to make sure you include all the details and tasks to make the event successful.

Begin with the actual day of the event. This is week zero. Write down everything that will take place on the day of the event, including tasks, program, decorations etc.

Then, working backwards from week one, write down what needs to be done in the prior weeks to make your event occur as you have mapped out.

Make sure you map out the most important components first, and then add the less necessary components.

  • Some timeline components to consider Include:
  • Reservation of Space
  • Food
  • Alcohol Service; The alcohol service permit process requires a minimum of three weeks.
  • Decorations (themes, materials)
  • Tickets (design, sales)
  • Budget
  • Entertainment (contracts, equipment, facilities)
  • Committee business (meetings, communication, administrative tasks)
  • Program (sequence, materials)

Also, having your committees map out their own backwards timeline for their specific component can be a very effective way to make sure they are aware of everything they are responsible for.

Backwards Timeline Example:

  • Backwards Timeline
  • Day of the Event: March 24, 2006
  • Program Food Ticketing Marketing
  • Week 0 (day of the Event)-March 24
  • Week 1-March 17
  • Week 2-March 10
  • Week 3-March 3
  • Week 4-February 24
  • Week 5-February 17
  • Week 6-February 10
  • Week 7-February 3
  • Week 8-(beginning of planning)-January 27