Activity Checklists For The Hopelessly Disorganized
by Clark L and Kathryn H. Kidd

In the past few columns, we have talked about the various people involved in planning and executing a successful ward event.  If you paid attention, you should now realize that a successful event is most often the result of many people working together, each with their own area of focus. < In this column we will try to summarize this advice, in the form of useful checklists for each of the major event areas.

If making a list and checking it twice is good enough for Santa Claus, it should be good enough for you.  A checklist will help you determine what needs to be done, and in what order.  Even more important, using a checklist will prevent you from forgetting little details that may escape your notice – minor things, such as sending someone to the meetinghouse to let the decorations committee inside on the night they intend to decorate the building.

  Here are sample checklists for each of the major committee chairmen.  Adapt them so that they fit your needs based on the activity you are planning.

Event Chairman Checklist

_______Determine the purpose of the activity and who will be invited._______Choose a theme._______Select a date and time._______Coordinate that date with others to make sure there are no conflicts._______Select a location, and schedule the facility with the proper authorities._______Determine a budget; break it down to a specific amount for  each committee._______Decide what committees you’ll need.  Select and call
committee chairmen.
_______Have a meeting with all committee chairmen to make plans and discuss budget._______Follow up with committee chairmen, individually, to be aware of problems.  Do this often to make sure nothing is being overlooked!_______If you feel the need, you may want to schedule additional coordination meetings with some or all of the committee chairmen._______Enjoy (or at least endure) the activity.  Be aware of anything that is falling through the cracks, and do it.  If everything is going smoothly, circulate and visit with the participants.  Be aware of people who may not fit in, and make sure they’re included._______Thank each individual who needs thanking._______Write your post-activity report (see next month’s column) and place a copy in the ward binder.

Food Chairman Checklist

_______Determine the general theme and food requirements of the activity, and come up with some proposals for the food that should be served._______When you meet with the entire committee, present your ideas and get feedback_______Reach an agreement with the other members as to what the menu will be._______Determine which foods will be purchased, and which will be made by members._______For purchased foods, comparison shop to make sure the quantities and prices you can get are acceptable and within your budget.  If they aren’t, contact the Event Chairman, who will probably ask you to change the menu._______For member-donated food, determine if recipes will be provided.  If so, select and test those recipes, and type them up to be distributed._______Decide how the food will be served (waiters, self-service tables, box lunches)._______Work with the Decoration Chairman and the Set-Up Chairman to make sure the room will be set up to accommodate your menu and serving needs. _______Contact the Program Chairman to determine when the various food courses should be served.  You may wish to have dessert after the program._______For member-donated food, get volunteers assigned to bring each required food item.  This can be done though direct assignment, delegation to ward auxiliaries or sign-up sheets._______If you are using recipes, distribute them to the volunteers and answer any questions.  Make sure the recipes are foolproof and easy to follow._______You many need to coordinate with the Publicity Chairman if you need publicity for any of the food assignments.  For example, you may want to provide the dessert by having a pie-baking contest open to all of the men._______At the proper time before the event, purchase and store the foods you will use._______Remind each person who had agreed to prepare and bring food._______During the event, be available in the kitchen to provide general help and solve problems._______Make sure dishes and utensils are returned to the person that brought them.  You may wish to ensure each item is
marked with the owner’s name as it arrives.
_______Thank the people who help you.  Written thank-you notes are nice._______Submit receipts promptly for purchased foods, and make sure anyone who has spent money is reimbursed in a
reasonable amount of time.
_______Write your Activity Report for the Event Chairman.

Decoration Chairman Checklist

_______Determine the general theme and location of the activity, and come up with some proposals for the type of decorations that would be appropriate._______When you meet with the entire committee, present your ideas and get feedback._______Reach an agreement with the other members as to what decorations will be used._______Determine which decorations have to be purchased, and which can be donated or loaned by ward members._______  For purchased materials, comparison shop to make sure the prices you can get are acceptable and within your budget.  If not, contact the Event Chairman, who will probably ask you to scale back on your plans._______Make arrangements with ward members for any decoration items that will be borrowed.  Determine how and when the items will be delivered to the activity location, and how and when they will be returned to the members. _______Work with the Food Chairman, the Program Chairman and the Set-Up Chairman to coordinate your decorations with their activities and needs.  _______Work with the facility scheduler to determine the best time for you to arrive and put your decorations in place. _______If others are going to help in the decorating process, get your volunteers and make sure they will be available at the appropriate times.  Contact them shortly before your scheduled decoration time to remind them. _______Determine if your activity provides any opportunities for involving non-member neighbors or less-active members to be involved with the decorating process.  Often, such programs provide wonderful opportunities for reaching out to these people in a way that is not threatening._______Attend and coordinate the decoration of the facility.  Make sure to thank those who attend and participate, not only verbally but with a liberal supply of food and snacks to keep their energy level high. _______On the day of the activity, arrive early to make sure there are no last minute tasks to complete, and to make sure the decorations are still in good shape.  Make any emergency repairs before and even during the activity. _______After the event, coordinate with the Clean-Up crew to make sure the decorations are removed carefully and then either returned to the owners or stored for later collection._______Coordinate with those who loaned you items to make sure everything was returned and in good repair._______Thank those who helped you.  Written thank-you notes are nice._______Submit receipts promptly for purchased items, and make sure anyone who has spent money is reimbursed in a reasonable amount of time._______Write your Activity Report for the Event Chairman.

Program Chairman Checklist

_______Determine the general theme and location of the activity, and come up with some proposals for the type of program that would be appropriate._______When you meet with the entire committee, present your ideas and get feedback._______Reach an agreement with the other members as to the content of the program._______Determine the format of the program, and those tasks that need to be done immediately.    For example, if you are presenting a short play, you may need someone to write the script and someone to make the costumes._______Solicit helpers to pull the program together.  Provide deadlines, and meet with helpers regularly to make sure they are on schedule and are not having any problems.  Resolve any issues that may arise, contacting other chairmen as needed._______If you need to purchase supplies as part of the program, comparison shop to make sure the prices you can get are acceptable and within your budget.  If not, contact the Event Chairman, who will probably ask you to do without._______Once the program starts coming together, you may have the need for more ward members to be involved.  Make arrangements to solicit, train, and encourage these other helpers as needed.  _______Determine if your program provides any opportunities for involving non-member neighbors or less-active members.  Often, such programs provide wonderful opportunities for reaching out to these people in a way that is not threatening._______Work with the Decorations Chairman, and the Set-Up Chairman to coordinate your program with their activities and needs. _______Consider using the Publicity Chairman to help you solicit ward members for their participation in the program.  This will not only generate more ward participation, but will help build general enthusiasm for the event. _______Contact all program participants shortly before the activity to remind them and give them any last-minute instructions. _______On the day of the activity, arrive early to make sure there are no last minute problems to correct.  During the program, step in as necessary to help keep the program moving along.  Don’t let all your hard work be wasted because of equipment or lighting problems, which should be easy to correct.  _______  After the event, coordinate with the Clean-Up crew to make sure any items used in the program are removed carefully and then either returned to their owners or stored for later collection._______Coordinate with those who loaned you items to make sure everything was returned and in good repair._______Thank those who helped you, preferably with a written note._______Submit receipts promptly for purchased items, and make sure anyone who has spent money is reimbursed in a reasonable amount of time._______Write your Activity Report for the Event Chairman

Set-Up/Clean-Up Chairman Checklist

_______Meet with the activity committee, and determine their needs.  Present your ideas related to the set-up of the facility and get feedback._______Reach an agreement with the other members as to the set-up/clean-up tasks that will be required._______Work with the facility scheduler to determine the best time for you to arrive and set up the facility.  Coordinate this with the other chairmen, as their activities may depend upon when your set up is completed. _______If you do not have access to the facility, make arrangements to gain access on the day you plan to set up._______Solicit helpers to assist you in performing your duties._______Call those with assignments to remind them the day before you are scheduled to set up.  If you have a separate clean-up crew, remind them the day before the activity. _______Coordinate the facility set up, and make sure everything is in place.  Communicate any problems to the Event Chairman, or to the other chairmen, so that problems can be corrected before the event._______After the event, supervise the clean-up crew and make sure everything is put away and cleaned thoroughly.  You should probably be the last person out the door.  Coordinate with the other chairmen to make sure any borrowed items are removed carefully and returned to their proper owners or stored for later collection. _______Thank those who helped you._______If asked to do so, write your Activity Report for the Event Chairman.

Publicity Chairman Checklist

_______Determine the general theme and location of the activity, and come up with some proposals for the type of publicity that would be appropriate._______When you meet with the entire committee, present your ideas and get feedback._______Reach an agreement with the other members as to the publicity that will be provided._______If you need to purchase supplies to be used as part of your publicity, make sure the prices you can get are acceptable and within your budget.  If not, contact the Event Chairman, who will probably ask you to do something cheaper._______If others are to be involved in the publicity effort, solicit your volunteers.  Meet with them as needed to make assignments and answer questions.  Contact them on a regular basis to make sure everything is on schedule, and to solve any problems that may arise. _______As needed, contact other ward members who can help with publicity, such as the editor of the Sunday bulletin and the editor of the ward newspaper.  You may also want to consider asking Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers to deliver invitations.  If appropriate, ask auxiliary presidents to announce the event to their members. _______If you are planning an activity for an auxiliary, make sure to provide adequate publicity for those who may not regularly participate in that auxiliary because of other callings.  For example, those planning Relief Society activities should make sure that those who work with the Primary or the Young Women will be notified. _______  If you are planning an event to which the neighborhood and community will be invited, consider contacting the local media to get your event covered.  You may want to do this as soon as possible, as some of these organizations require quite a bit of advanced notice to meet their deadlines._______Thank those who helped you.  Effusively._______Submit receipts promptly for purchased items, and make sure anyone who has spent money is reimbursed in a
reasonable amount of time.
_______If invited to do so, write your Activity Report for the Event Chairman.

The detail level of the checklists will vary according to the type of person assigned to the task.  Some people need only a short checklist to remind them of the major tasks, and then they keep track of everything else in their head.  Other people prefer to have a detailed checklist with every possible step listed, and then take great satisfaction in checking off items one by one.