Here’s How to Make an Event Proposal Template
If you get into the event planning business, you’ll quickly find that crafting a persuasive and comprehensive event proposal template is a necessary skill. If you’re trying to do business with corporate clients, they’re even more likely to expect an official event proposal. This document communicates who you are and what services you’ll provide for an event, which will help a potential client decide whether to hire you or not. It’ll also help guide the project as you begin planning.
Rule #1: Keep it human
Usually, you’ll meet the potential client for a one-on-one discussion before drafting the event proposal, so listen well and keep your eyes open. They’ll give you valuable hints as to the best way to reassure them, and when you remember their ideas in that conversation and work them into the proposal, it shows that you’re paying attention. Never forget that people read event proposals, and this is your best chance to communicate with them in writing. While it’s going to save you tons of time to work from an event proposal template, you should still personalize it for each and every client. Make them see the story of their event as it’s going to unfold with your help. What’s more, a slick and thoughtful event proposal signals to clients that you’re a serious professional with attention to detail. Remember, they’re probably also looking at proposals from competing event planners, and the event proposal will be a critical component in making their decision.
Kick things off with an attractive cover page. Make sure it’s got your company’s branding, but also make it specific to the client. You’ll catch their eye quickly and create a great first impression if you include some beautiful imagery as well—possibly photos from events you’ve done that are similar to theirs. Here’s an example:
Beyond the cover page, the design is less important than the content—the proposal will be more text than visual. But mark everything clearly with section headers, don’t be afraid of color, and intersperse pictures where there’s room.
Section 1: Project Overview
This section is going to be pretty customized every time, since you’ll be writing up a general description of the client’s event. This is where you’ll be using all those notes you hopefully took during your first chat with the client. Prove to the client that you understand their vision. This page establishes that you’re on the same page. You can also list out some specific details in passing that they’ve mentioned to you, like whether or not it needs to be catered, information about the venue (if it’s already decided), or potential entertainment options.
Section 2: About Your Company
On the next page, sell yourself. You can reuse this section from client to client. Write a few paragraphs about you, your qualifications, and your history as an event planner. Include some information about any events you’ve planned that are particularly awesome, ambitious, or unusual. Have fun with it. It’s important to note that in a corporate situation, often things are decided by multiple stakeholders—so even if you made a great impression on the person you met with, there may be other people who have a say who will only have the proposal to judge you on. Furthermore, in a situation where the company has interviewed multiple planners, this may help jog their memory about some of your finer qualities. It’s okay to let your personality to shine through! Most proposals they read will be lifeless Word documents that feel legalistic and impersonal. They won’t be enjoyable to read. Give your proposal some life, and you’ll win far more contracts.
Section 3: Services Offered
This is another section of your event proposal template that you can probably reuse over and over again. List out all the specific services you’ll perform for the event, along with a few sentences of explanation for each. Don’t get too wordy. That’s good advice for this project in general—be detailed, but find a balance. If it’s too dense, the client will skim.
There’s room to get a bit creative in the design for this section with icons, tables, and other design elements. Here’s an example:
It’s easy enough, but putting just a little bit of effort into making the event proposal template look less like one solid block of text will make an impression. We also recommend putting the prices associated with these individual services on this section, so the client understands how you’re reaching your budget numbers on the next page.
You can list out all the services your company does on the template, then just remove services that aren’t relevant for particular proposals.
Section 4: Budget Breakdown
There’s no two ways about it: you’ve got to get into the money sooner rather than later. Make everything as clear and detailed as you can be so that there’s no question about where each itemized cost comes from. Often clients (or anyone, for that matter) don’t have a clear picture of all the little ways that costs can add up when you’re creating an intricate event, and this helps them see the reality of where costs come from. Managing expectations with clear and detailed information is the best way to avoid “sticker shock.”
Another bonus of itemizing the budget clearly is that if the company ends up needing to negotiate the contract price, you can easily discuss which services to subtract or alter in order to hit their budget needs. This also ties costs to services in a concrete way. When they say, “Can we bring the price down?” you’re not just agreeing to an arbitrary price decrease in order to win the contract—instead, you can suggest cutting costs by changing a service (like removing one of the catering tables or hiring less expensive entertainment), so you’re not delivering more and getting paid less.
Section 5: Terms, Conditions, and Policies
On the last page, you can include any terms, conditions, or policies that you need to get down on paper. This might include things like:
- Cancellation policy, i.e. if the client cancels within X days of the event, they forfeit their deposit or only receive an X% refund, etc.
- Limited Time Offer on the proposal. This is how long the offer is good for. Usually this is 60 days.
- Insurance and Damage Policy. Usually you’ll have some language that covers you in the event that your client’s guests damage the venue or equipment. You might require that they have Event Insurance, or you might require that they be responsible for any damages incurred to the venue property.
- Payment schedule and methods. Information on how the client should pay you, as well as when their payment is due (and what happens if they pay late.)
Any information of this type should go here at the end.
It might take a bit of time to do a really great job on your event proposal template, but if you win even one more job than you otherwise would have, it’s worth its weight in gold. Consider this a living breathing document that you can refine and develop as your company grows. You’ll end up using it all the time, so doing it right will be well worth the investment in time.