7 steps to crafting a winning event proposal (with template)

Retrato de contribuidores da equipe AsanaTeam Asana8 de junho de 20227 minutos de leitura
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Summary

Like a resume, an event proposal showcases your event management skills and experiences for potential stakeholders to consider when deciding who will run an event. Use our event proposal template and follow these seven steps for writing an impressive proposal.

Whether you're organizing an industry-wide seminar or seeking sponsorships for an upcoming tradeshow, a winning event proposal illustrates why stakeholders should trust that your event will be a success. 

However, putting together an effective proposal takes more than just good event management skills. To really impress a potential client or stakeholder, your event proposal should include a balance of descriptive writing, visual elements, and comprehensive logistics. Stand out from the crowd with these seven steps and best practices for incorporating these elements into your proposal. 

What are the components of an event proposal?

An event proposal is a comprehensive document that outlines every element of organizing a new event. You will typically create these in response to a request for proposal (RFP) that requires an event manager, but you can also use it to pitch a company function to key stakeholders or attract sponsors for an upcoming event.

 An event proposal covers: 

  • The purpose of the event

  • The individuals or suppliers that are involved

  • The logistics of running the event

Like a resume, an event proposal showcases your unique skills and event organizing capabilities for potential clients and stakeholders to consider when deciding who will run an event. You provide them with a chance to review the elements you will incorporate to make their event a success. 

Effective event proposals illustrate a clear, concise, and comprehensive vision for the event—think of it like an elevator pitch. Impress your stakeholders by following these seven steps to crafting an engaging proposal. 

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[inline illustration] 7 steps to crafting a winning event proposal (infographic)

1. Meet with the prospective client or stakeholders

Before you begin crafting your proposal, you should have a clear understanding of your prospective client’s expectations for the event. Schedule an initial meeting to discuss what they have in mind for this event. 

Clarify things like:

  • The event name

  • The type of event

  • The purpose of the event

  • The number of guests

  • Date, time, and desired location

  • Theme, overall aesthetic, color, or ambiance

  • What they hope to accomplish with the event

It’s important to note your prospective client or stakeholders may not have any clear expectations at this point in the project—that’s probably why they’re looking for an event planning expert. Prepare to inspire your client with a portfolio of your past work, color swatches, mood boards, etc. Note any elements that spark their interest and don’t be afraid to pitch your own ideas. 

As with any business meeting, you want to leave your prospective client with a good impression of you. Follow proper business etiquette every time you meet with these event stakeholders.  

2. Sell yourself

The first step in crafting the actual event proposal is to introduce yourself and your event team. 

Your intro should include:

  • A brief description of your background 

  • Your event experience and qualifications 

  • Your scope of work

  • Your company name (if applicable)

  • Any relevant certifications 

  • Licensing (if applicable)

  • Professional references

  • Business associates

  • Federal employment ID (if applicable)

  • Past wins that exemplify why you’re the right person for the job

Keep in mind that your client may be looking at multiple event proposals from different planners. In this section, focus on what skills set you apart from the competition and which ones would best address the client’s needs for this event.

3. Write an appealing event description

Once the introductions are out of the way, you can focus on the meat of your proposal—the event description. This overview provides a summary of how you plan to deliver the event. 

The description should include:

  • The goal for the event

  • Any details or expectations discussed in prior meetings with the client

  • A general time frame of the project

  • Possible venues, caterers, or other suppliers

  • Your overall vision and how you plan to achieve it, including theme, colors, ambiance, etc.

Your event description shouldn’t just lay out the logistics of the event—this is your chance to persuade your client or stakeholders that your event will be a success. If you’re not a skilled writer, consider hiring someone who can help put your vision into words and make this section as appealing as possible. 

It may also be a good idea to include reference photos, mood boards, and color palates to help your client envision what you have in mind for their event. Remember to put their needs first when crafting the event description. 

4. List all services offered

This list will give your prospective client or stakeholders an in-depth view of what services you will be providing for the event. This will also include the suppliers you plan to use. This list should require a good bit of research—from table cloths to party favors, you want to be sure to list everything you’ll need for the event.

If it is a smaller function, such as a dinner party or baby shower, use bullets or a table to list the services you and your team will provide. Break up your list into sections for each aspect of the event if you're planning a large to-do, like a wedding or company-wide holiday party. 

5. Showcase your previous work

If your stakeholders aren’t completely sold on your vision yet, this is your opportunity to convince them your events are second-to-none. If you’ve planned similar events before, include photos and client testimonials to exhibit your work. 

Visual representations of your past work can help your prospective clients see your capabilities, and are a great way to prove your style matches what they had in mind. Having past events for comparison may also help your stakeholders realize what they do or don’t want for their own event.

6. Include proposed costs

Naturally, your client or stakeholder is going to want to know how much the event is going to cost. After describing the event in a way that your stakeholders can easily visualize, create a detailed summary of how much each element of the function will cost and the purpose they serve. 

Again, it’s important to be as detailed as possible in this section—you don’t want to blindside your client with unexpected costs that weren’t included in the proposal. Don’t forget to list even the most insignificant items, like chafing dishes that keep the food warm, or setup and transportation fees for rented equipment. You should also include any possible discounts they could receive, such as an early booking discount.

Read: A 6-step guide to requirements gathering for project success

7. Note any event policies

If applicable, list your event policies at the end of your event proposal to help manage your client expectations properly. 

You might include requirements such as:

  • Minimum guaranteed headcount

  • Limited time offers on your proposal

  • Your cancellation policy

  • Rental or damage policies

  • Payment due dates

Finally, wrap up your proposal by thanking your prospective clients or stakeholders for the opportunity to work with them. Don’t forget to include your contact information so your prospective clients can get a hold of you if they have any questions (or, better yet, want to hire you).

Event proposal template

Use this template as a general guide to writing your proposal. However, every event is unique and may require different information. Tailor this event proposal template to best suit your client’s needs.

Personalizing your proposal will also help it stand out from the competition. If applicable, incorporate your client’s logo and brand colors throughout the document.

Free event proposal template

Best practices for writing your event proposal

An event proposal should be more than just information on paper. Aspire to entertain, inspire, and inform your audience with these event proposal best practices. 

Tell a story

Storytelling elicits emotion and excitement—two things that can help tip the scales in your favor. When writing your event description, your client should be the hero of the story. Describe what they can accomplish with your help—and what’s at stake if they go with another event planner. 

To help piece your story together, try to answer these questions:

  • How can the hero (your client or stakeholders) benefit emotionally, socially, and practically from letting you plan their event?

  • What obstacles might you encounter? As their guide, how will you help them anticipate and overcome these challenges?

  • What will the reward look like for your hero’s success?

[inline illustration] Tell a story with your event proposal (infographic)

Adding drama to the story is just a small example of how you can bring their event to life. By giving yourself a place in their story, you’re building an emotional connection with the client that will make it difficult for them to establish with another party planner. 

Be attractive and informative

A perfect event proposal should be comprehensive and detail-oriented—a cluttered, text-heavy proposal might give your client the wrong impression about your organizing skills. 

Instead, focus on creating an aesthetically pleasing event proposal to impress your stakeholders and save them processing time. People retain 80% of what they see, so incorporating creative visual elements is an easy way to set yourself apart from the competition. These could be:

  • Graphic design elements: Try your hand at adding a bit of spice to your proposals by adding fun graphic elements with Adobe Illustrator or free tools like Canva. You can also hire a freelance graphic designer if you want to leave it to the professionals. 

  • Visual layouts: No one likes skimming through a big wall of text. Using strong visual elements like logos, past event photos, color palettes, graphs, and charts will make your proposal more comprehendible. Witty headers and images will also help set the tone of your proposal.

  • Motion graphics: Videos, animated slideshows, and image carousels are a unique way to grab and sustain attention while reinforcing key points. 

Keep in mind the purpose of your event proposal is to showcase how well you can align your event vision with your client’s expectations and goals. Consider what elements they’d be most interested in seeing—and be careful not to overwhelm them with too many visuals. 

Write for your audience

Your event proposal should be about what your clients or stakeholders will get from your event—the more you elaborate on this, the more effective your proposal will be. 

Take the time to thoroughly research your client’s event, vision, business needs, and expectations. Showing that you have an understanding of these things will be crucial for the foundation of your event proposal. If you’re having trouble putting yourself in your client’s shoes, think of how you want the reader to perceive you and your company.

Tip: When writing your event proposal, default to the client’s terminology. For example, if they refer to an office get-together as a “happy hour,” use “happy hour” in your proposal. 

Emphasize your unique values

You may be writing for your client, but focusing on the unique values you and your event bring to the table should also be a priority for your event proposal. 

Highlight these values throughout your proposal to give your readers concrete reasons why they should invest in your event. 

Layout the logistics

You may impress your stakeholders with your qualifications and elaborate event description, but you need to prove that you’ll effectively and efficiently pull off the event. 

In your event proposal, highlight your ability to handle logistics by providing a detailed overview of the event. Illustrate how you’re planning to pull all the elements together to create a cohesive and successful event. 

Be transparent about the budget

Most people dread talking about money, but not talking about budget up front could cause major miscommunication further down the line. Luckily, there are ways to present this section of your event proposal with tact. 

By staying on theme with the rest of the event proposal best practices, you can position your proposed budget by tying it back to your client values. The costs should align with your client’s needs, event vision, and desired impact. For example, a five course dinner might be appropriate for a royal wedding, but it’ll likely be a bit over the top for more casual events. 

Remember that transparency is key when proposing your event budget. Being honest and realistic about their options can help establish trust between you and your prospective client. A good practice is to break your list up into three sections:

  • Flexible costs with high and low-end options

  • Hard costs

  • Service fees

If you’re nervous your cost will be the determining factor for your client or stakeholders, include a high- and low-end budget so they can decide what works best for their needs. 

Get the gig with a top-notch event proposal

The best event proposals balance thorough research and detailed lists with descriptive writing and rich visuals. As you compose your proposal, remember to not only highlight your suggestions and vision for the event but also how it all ties back to your client’s values and expectations.

Once they hire you for the job, use your proposal to streamline your event management process. An event planning template will help you stay on top of supplier communications, budget tracking, team schedules, and more.

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