What Every Event Scope Should Include for a Successful Execution

event management Sep 19, 2023

Have you ever worked so hard on your event and yet still it didn't go as you envisioned? Well, that never has to be the case again. 

Channel your inner Maren Morris and remember, “When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter.” Now replace “bones” with “Event Scope” and we’ll be moving in the right direction.

While I don’t literally want to say that nothing else matters if the scope is right, my experience has shown that flawless events come down to having a very strong data-based foundation, incredible project management skills, and a creative flair. .

Today I am going to tackle the first one, otherwise known as your event scope. Here’s what you should have in your event scope to set yourself up for success

What to Include in the Event Scope

The Event Scope is a high-level document that outlines your who, what, where, when, why, and how clearly for all parties involved in the event. The goal, is to be able to hand this document to a new team member or stakeholder and, after reading it, they should be able to explain: 

  1. What you’re planning
  2. Why you’re planning it
  3. For whom you’re planning it
  4. Where and when it will take place
  5. How you’re going to deliver it 

My signature Event Scope has 9 sections. Let’s dive in.. 

1. Event Overview

Your event overview should include all of the logistical details like event name, date, duration, venue, purpose or short description, website URL, expected attendee count and the like as contact information for the project lead. 

2. Event Mission & Goals

Event Mission

Your mission, aka your ‘purpose’ or ‘why’, is a 2-3 sentence statement that describes your big-picture objective and the reason for your event’s existence.

No matter whether you’re planning and delivering a virtual, hybrid or in-person format, an effective event mission statement provides a solid foundation and framework to guide your decision making throughout the entire planning process.

Your mission should include:  

  1. Event name
  2. Overall objective 
  3. Target audience
  4. Event format, features and unique selling points
  5. Purpose

Event Goals

“If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time”.  

When it comes to outlining your goals, make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. 

Examples could include:

  1. Increase paid attendance by 20% over the [insert year prior] show
  2. Retain 80% of attendees from our [insert year prior] show
  3. Inspire 500 social media posts using the event hashtag 

3. Messaging

This section is going to set you up to cut through the noise and promote your event efficiently and effectively. It should include: 

  1. Event theme 
  2. Sales blurb 
  3. 3-5 unique selling points 
  4. Your why 
  5. Your target audience

4. Program

Also known as an “Agenda at a Glance,” your high-level program shouldn’t 

include the details of each session, but rather simply look like time blocks in a daily calendar or a schedule laid out in a table like the below. 

In this section, you’ll list all major milestones and deliverables with their assigned deadlines and the team member who is responsible for them. 

To do this, in my master doc, a 19-tab one-stop-shop for everyone working on the event, I add the below headings to row 1:

Column 1: Target Completion Date

Column 2: Category

Column 3: Description

Column 4: Owner

Column 5: Status

Column 6: Notes

Then I enter my descriptions. 

If you’re planning a conference, examples could include:

  • Event Agency or Contractor hired
  • Venue contracted
  • Event offering/program locked down
  • Sponsor outreach begins
  • Signage sent to print
  • Registration live

Once you’ve got your descriptions or milestones entered, add the deadline, the person who is responsible for its delivery, and any additional notes for easy reference. 

6. Risk Management

SWOT Analysis

While I always recommend keeping your eye on your own prize, conducting a SWOT analysis enables you to identify marketable elements that will drive interest, buzz and registration, and enable you to avoid any surprises or last minute fires down the line.  

Competitive Event Analysis

Turn your competitors weaknesses into your opportunities and ensure you create a strategy to address and overcome each of their threats. 

Conducting a competitive event analysis will enable you to identify the areas or characteristics of your event that are both advantageous and disadvantageous when compared to theirs. Comparing your offering to what’s already in the market may inspire some programming tweaks or the addition of a new feature. Turn your competitors weaknesses into your opportunities and ensure you create a strategy to address and overcome each of their threats. 

7. Event Budget

Remember, this is a high-level doc so, all you have to do is state your anticipated profit or allowable spend (approved loss) so everyone on the team understands the financial goal and what they are liable for driving from the get-go. 

Total Event Cost: 
   > Ticket Sales: 
   > Sponsorship: 
   > Vendor Kickbacks: 
Budget (anticipated profit or allowable spend): 

8. Roles & Responsibilities

To ensure no ball is dropped, it’s important that you identify each of the high-level roles required to deliver your event. 

Examples could include:

  • Development of event strategy and vision
  • Concept creation
  • Program management
  • Budget development and management

Once you’ve listed all of the areas you can think of, group them into related tasks and assign a responsible party. You may identify roles which require experience and skills no one within your organization possesses. These are the roles you’ll need to outsource. 

9. Team Communication

With so many moving parts, how can you be confident everything is tracking to plan and identify areas which may need additional attention? 

Two ways: 

  1. Weekly work in progress (WIP) meetings with each of the key players from your Roles & Responsibilities list in attendance. 
  2. Be clear from the beginning with how you'd like your team to communicate between WIPs, such as in-office chat like Slack Asana, or hangouts for easy conversation and oversight by you. 

Hopefully you can now see the importance of not just having an event scope, but the level of detail it should include to ensure you have a successful on-site delivery.  


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