Blog by School of Oncology

5 step guide to help you get started in planning your educational event

Katie Ashworth - Education and Events Support Manager, The Christie School of Oncology

14th December 2017


Have you been putting off organising that event as you don’t know where to start?

At The School of Oncology we understand the pressures healthcare professionals are currently facing especially, when it comes to funding. As a result, education has been sacrificed within many departments.

We would like to provide you with a 5 step guide to get things moving in organising your next study day or conference.

1. What's new?

Where do I start?

What is the hot topic within your specialty at the moment? Has there been some new research published? Or be the first off the mark and showcase something which is in the pipeline.

Have a think about equipment which has made an impact on processes or enhanced patient care. This would also be a great opportunity to invite the supplier to sponsor the event.

Delegates love a good debate. If there is something controversial happening within your specialist area make sure you bring it to the programme. See the debate from the Radiotherapy summer school 2017.

Take the first step and create your title and draft the learning outcomes – what do you want delegates to know by the end of your study day or conference?


 2. Budget

An idea is all well and good but how am I going to pay for it?

It may be worth asking your budget holder within your department if there is money put aside for Education. If you don't ask you don't get!

There maybe grants available from external organisations, it is worth doing your research.  The School of Oncology funds their portfolio of events through sponsorship, registration fees or applying for educational grants.

Once you have your budget secured, you can then book a venue and logistically plan your event thinking about the costing of speakers, venue, catering, travel and accommodation and marketing.

Although this seems like a simple solution, it can take up quite a lot of time; therefore, you may require the support of an event management service.


3. Target Audience

How will I attract an audience to my event?

This is your opportunity to carry out your market research into current articles, publications, online forums or areas within social media where you can engage with your target audience. By carrying out your market research you will have a starting point for your marketing campaign. The School of Oncology has various routes for marketing events to healthcare professionals including the use of design, email marketing, social media and increasing SEO (Search engine optimisation).

Think about the benefits delegates will receive from attending your event? Who is likely to learn from it in order to take information back to the workplace and make improvements within their role? How would attending the course assist with continuing their professional development (CPD)? Also, think about reasons which may prevent potential delegates attending your study day, may that be funding, location, staff cover etc. Once you know the fear factors of your delegates you can begin to address them before marketing your event.

4. Call on your contacts

How can I populate my programme?

Throughout your career I’m sure you have made lots of valuable contacts. Why not reconnect with them? Send them a message via LinkedIn or pick up the phone and see what they are up to. You could then invite them to present at your event or they may attend as a delegate, attracted at the opportunity to network with professionals alike. Don't be shy...ask them to share it around their organisation.

You could also offer your higher paying sponsors a satellite symposium session. This will add variation to your programme as well as assisting with funding your event.

Study days and conferences with national and international speakers from different backgrounds are evaluated higher than those with speakers from the same trust.


5. Getting the word out

Now you have the main fundamentals of your education event you can tell everyone about it. Create an eventbrite page and share with your colleagues and contacts, referring back to your market research. Eventbrite has an invite function which enables you to send the link directly through the website. It always helps to place an advert for your event on various websites to increase SEO.

Create a buzz around your event using hash tags on twitter. The more you and your contacts talk about the event, the more people will hear about it. Make sure you’re tagging in the various trusts and individuals who you will be involved in the event, this will also give them extra online exposure.


Tip: Making your event stress free

This is all well and good, but how am I going to find the time to plan and organise all of this?

Once you have your topic and learning outcomes The School of Oncology events services can do the rest for you, from venue finding, marketing, managing your budget, arranging sponsorship to registration and on the day support. They have extensive knowledge in planning a wide range of events from large conferences to social events.


Click here to make your event planning journey stress free.