Statistics show that the event management industry will grow by 44% and add over 30,000 jobs in the next five years. This is great news for all planners as it shows that the demand for your talent and service is on the rise.
As an event planner, it is more important than ever to know how to write an event planning proposal in order to get the attention of all clients looking for qualified and professional event planners.
A good proposal will help put you ahead of 95% of your competition. Mastering this skill can really help your business take off.
Planning an event requires a lot of attention to detail, scheduling, organization and follow up.
By presenting a well formatted event proposal or RFP (request for proposal), it subliminally shows your potential client that you have the skills they are looking for.
Writing a good proposal requires the ability to understand all the fine requirements of the client.
Part of the responsibility of a good planner is to create order and produce amazing results even on short deadlines. Clients are often unorganized and nervous about their events. With your experience and professionalism you can make a huge impact on helping clients.
Starting Your Event Proposal
Keep in mind that most clients do not know what they want. They are looking for the right event planning company with a vision to assist them in planning a beautiful event.
Whether it is corporate getaway, retirement party, reunion, million dollar wedding or a small budget event at the kids birthday or family gathering, it all starts with a well written proposal that describes the event.
As a professional planner or a volunteer, you should be able to sell your skills to the client through a well-researched and well written event proposal. This articles outlines guidelines when writing an event planning proposal.
Start by thinking about your biggest strengths as an event planner and write those down – now make sure those make their way into the proposal either visually (through photos) or through text.
Even if you have an idea of what the client wants or you have planned hundreds of similar events before, the first step is having a one-on-one conversation with the client to find out what she wants or what she would like to accomplish during the event. During this meeting, take notes of all the logistics such as the time, desired location, date and any other key points.
In addition, listen to her/his ideas for the catering, color scheme, theme and other visual elements they would like for the event.
Do not write an event planning proposal that reads like a formal letter. The proposal should speak directly to the client needs that you observed during your meeting.
Keep in mind that you are writing the proposal specifically for your client so talk less about yourself and more about their desires for the event.
Keep in mind that your client is probably looking at a couple of other proposals from different planners and they will pick the one that best understands their needs.
Also, ensure that you include your company logo and contact information on the cover page. The proposal title is also very important especially if you are proposing for a specific company. You want to customize the title to your specific client so they do not think you have a template you use for all clients.
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Summarize the Client’s Needs
You can summarize your client’s needs in the title of the event description. It serves as a summary of all the client needs as well as the client’s goals for the event. When a client sees this information right away it brings them reassurance that you understand their desires.
If you have any photos of similar events you’ve done that accomplish things that this client wants, you can include those photos in the portfolio section of the proposal.
The description is generally where you repeat what the client told you about the event but in a more professional and organized way. This shows that you fully understand what they are looking for.
Any information that you may have obtained about the event during the first meeting comes in handy. Things like –
- the entertainment options available,
- the facilities available at the proposed venue,
- any catering that is needed,
- open bar information,
- seating information if the client was specific about their needs,
- and many more.
You should also strive to give more helpful suggestions than what the client asked for. You do not want to overwhelm them but you can look for other options that you think the client may like and are within her budget.
You can also include images of the venue locations which enables the client to see exactly what they are getting and also gives you a better chance of being hired as most of your competitors are likely to send boring non-custom word documents.
Summarize Your Experience as an Event Planner
A brief summary of yourself or company is important when writing an event planning proposal. It gives the client an idea of who you are as well as how long you have been in business.
If your client has to get approval from their boss about hiring you it is good information for the decision maker to see.
Include your capabilities, brief information about your experience as an event planner and past client work that you did a good job on.
In case you do not have much experience planning events yet, you can mention any internships, volunteer work, coordination or project management experience in any other field. We have seen many event planners with less experience land big clients by having an amazing client proposal so do not let a lack of professional experience scare you.
Ensure that you also mention any other relevant experience or training that you have if you do not have too many hands-on events under your belt.
To recap, you should include:
- Your bio
- Any certifications you have (if any)
- Legal business name
- Contact details (address, phone number, email)
- Years in business
- Federal employment ID (if you have one)
- Business associations
- Professional references from past successful events
Following the above information, the client will want to know the services you can offer during the event. If the event is extremely large with multiple functions such as a wedding, formal presentation, dinner party, it is appropriate to have headings for each function then indicate what you can offer in each function. For example “luncheon” or “cocktail party” then describe the duties you will perform in that function to make it amazing such as hiring staff, ordering and serving food, setting up the tables.
In case it is a smaller event such as groom’s dinner, baby shower, you might consider creating a bullet point list of your duties as well as the vendor and location you will use. You can attach photos of a similar event you have done in the past to help the client get a clear picture of what you can offer.
In this section you should summarize the event in 1 – 3 sentences and then have sub-headings for each part you will take care of.
For example, you should have sub-headings for your consulting and planning portion. Something like “Sandra Wilson will be your event coordinator taking care of all your planning needs. She will be available from 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week for meetings until the event. Consulting services are provided at no additional cost to you if you choose to place a deposit on your party.”
Then you can have sections for Catering, Decorations and Set Up, Event Theme, Open Bar, Music, Entertainment, Registration, Event Break-Down and Clean-Up.
In each of these sub-headings you should have a couple sentences about what can take place and an approximate cost for each item. The cost for each item should be the total amount you will charge the client. If you mark up the vendors then be sure to take into account your markup; or if you pass the cost through as is then you can include that amount.
You can read this article for help figuring out how to price your event planning service.
Naturally, all clients will look at any event planning proposal in hopes of seeing how much it will cost them to hold an event of their choice. After describing the event in a way that a client can taste, smell and see how amazing it will be, create a section to summarize in detail all the costs or each item as well as their purpose in the event.
For example, a client might not know the use of a sterno (it helps to keep food warm throughout the day) so if you list that in the proposal make sure you define it. At the bottom of the sheet, make a detailed computation of all the costs.
It can also help to provide any perceived discounts such as discounts for early booking or discounts for multiple bookings at the same time. You want to give yourself an advantage over the competition.
Include a Timeline
Clients care about timelines so help alleviate this concern ahead of time by including an approximate timeline of your work. How far in advance you will begin working and all milestones leading up to the event.
As you discuss this with the client, the main point to communicate is to let them feel like you have everything taken care of and they will not have to stress. A big part clients hire event planners is to know a professional is in control and will make sure everything goes smoothly. A timeline can help ease any concerns so it is essential to include.
You can end the proposal by having a page about your policies.
This helps to manage your client’s expectations properly.
The sections of your policy that you can include are a Minimum Guaranteed Headcount; Limited Time Offer on this particular proposal (typically 60 days); Cancellation Policy (no cancellation within 15 days of event or client only receives 50% refund); Rental or Damage Policy; Payment Due Dates; etc.
Finally thank the client for the opportunity and remember to provide your contact information; phone number or email address so that the client can contact you.