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The Resource Locker

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You are probably here because you have a Chapter event looming and need some tools and resources to make the organization of the event easier. If you want to read a more about how to organize an FMI learning event, check out the July 2015 fmi*igf e-Journal article on this topic.

Ideas are also available via the FMI-Idea Locker.


Do you have a resource you want to include in the Locker? Please use the Contact Us form (select "Resource Locker" on the drop-down menu) to post a short description in the comments section including your contact information. Be sure to include a descriptive title, a short paragraph summarizing the event, whether the idea is new or was used before, your contact information (in case of questions,) and which of the following broad themes the idea falls into:

Please and we'll be sure to evaluate it for inclusion. Please note where in the FMI-event life cycle it should be included:

  • Idea Generation: establishing the program for the year.
  • Event Idea Refinement: taking a possibility and turning it into a plan of action.
  • Pre-Event Organization: executing the plan of action.
  • Event: running the all-day, lunch hour, breakfast session, etc.
  • Post-Event: continuing the learning after the audience has departed.

Idea Generation

  • FMI - Idea Locker: Never let an idea (good, bad or half-baked) go to waste, keep them in the FMI-Idea Locker.
  • Idea-Rodeo: The Edmonton Chapter ran an idea-rodeo with its members via email and an annual survey. Twelve new ideas were submitted of which two were accepted and developed as events for the following program year.

Event-Idea Refinement

  • Event-Idea Document: This is a one- or two-page document detailing the idea, its value to members, potential speakers and other details.
    Sample: Procure to Pay - Event Idea (Word)
    • Context for the Idea: the big picture of why this topic is interesting;
    • What is the idea: a broad brush overview of how the event will be run;
    • Value to Members: take away of why the audience should come;
    • Event Management: is responsible for developing the idea.
  • Assignment of Event Manager: The most important planning step is assigning a project/event manager for each event. Sample job description for the event manager:
    • Develop, gain approval and manage the project plan, issue and risk logs (the plan);
    • Monitor and communicate to the organizing group status of the plan;
    • Recommend risk-re-mediation activities;
    • Coordinate the design of an overall evaluation processes relating to the plan and the event;
    • Working with the sponsoring organizations, ensure that all costs are covered;
    • Calculate the final profit/loss for the event; distribute/collect monies as required;
    • Complete the final accounting and reports to sponsoring organizations;
    • Develop the program agenda;
    • Recruit panelists, moderators and other performers;
    • Manage all communications with the panelists;
    • Manage the research, preparation and rehearsal of the programs;
    • Manage the execution of the program;
    • Develop an evaluation process for the program to determine if it met the expected results;
    • Contribute to the final report to the sponsoring organizations;
    • Prepare a program summary and distribute to sponsoring organizations;
    • Manage the panelist thank you process.

Pre-Event Organization

  • Excel Planning Tool: Event managers may find it helpful to use the Microsoft Excel-based event planning tool. The template has nine tabs, the most important one being the detail agenda tab.
    Sample: FMI Event Planning Tool (Excel)
    • Flag (blue): this controls the name and date of the event, who are the volunteers and the version for the plan.
    • Detail.Agenda (green): is the most important tab, it allows the chapter to see the flow and timing of the event. It also provides a level of comfort to your speakers knowing that you are organized enough to have such a detailed plan.
    • Volunteer-Roles (green): this content clearly describes what each person is accountable for. Given how busy people are, it is only fair that you clearly spell out their responsibilities for an event.
    • ProjPlan (green): The Project Plan tab should be seen at a minimum as a memory jog checklist for smaller events (e.g. Oh Shoot, we forgot to recruit a photographer!) through to a detailed planning document for more complex events. If your chapter is using Microsoft Project (or the like) to plan your events, you are already way beyond this rudimentary tool.
    • Cost Estimate (green): this is where we estimate our profit, loss and break even for the event.
    • Venue-Needs (yellow): a listing of equipment needing to be arranged with venue or audio-visual organization. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
    • Risk-Log (yellow): a listing of potential risks and mitigation strategies. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
    • Venue-Needs (yellow): a listing of issues requiring resolution. Delete this tab for smaller and simpler events.
  • Event Registration and Communication Tool: FMI is developing a registration/database tool for Chapter use that is scheduled for release in September 2015, but in the interim, consider using the following:
  • Conference Calls for Event Planning Meetings: Hold bi-weekly conference call of 20 - 30 minutes. The advantage of conference calls is that they are very focused and time-limited.
  • Presenter Conference Call: This is one of the most important meetings when organizing a learning event, particularly when there are two or more presenters. It gives FMI a chance to set the tone of the event, and it allows the speakers to synchronize their presentation content. This meeting also helps the speakers to understand what to expect and how to prepare. In addition, it is an opportunity for speakers to share their slide presentation decks to minimize content overlap.     
  • Pre-Event Notes: This is a 2 - 6 page PDF document providing a summary of the program, speaker biographies, other relevant content, upcoming FMI events and any other Chapter news or activities. This document is available 2 - 3 weeks in advance on the event registration page.  
  • Promotion: Most events are promoted via three emails: an early-bird promotion, regular promotion, and a last minute reminder. An event poster (to download) allows members to get the news out to their colleagues and associates, both in and beyond their work area.


  • Single Presentation Deck: The advantage of combining the various speakers' decks into a single deck is that you can insert biographies, transition and break slides. Post the presentation deck to the event registration page the night before so that audience members can follow along on their laptops, tablets, or other smart devices.
  • Time Cards: A Toastmasters technique, time cards keep the program on track. These are preferred over the red "STOP" card, which everyone dreads.
  • Record the Event: If you are planning to produce post-event notes, or you are hosting a webinar, consider recording the event.
  • Enable Text-a-Question: Audience members who are a somewhat shy can text in their questions. Questions are edited as required.


  • Post-Event Notes: After the event, you may wish to produce post-event notes. These notes are a summary of the speaking points of each presentation and any discussions or questions. Due to the editing and layout involved, many authors consider post-event notes to be a writing credit.
  • Event-Debrief: Finally, no event goes un-debriefed.

Planning à la Carte

The above resources should be seen as a menu of tools, not a prescription of activities to follow. Many of the tools can be ignored or simplified for a simpler single-speaker event. A larger or more complex learning event may require an online project plan and possibly a collaboration site to share documents and communications.

Can Ideas and Resources be Shared Outside of FMI?

Absolutely! Please use and re-purpose the ideas and resources, as this demonstrates the value, networking and leadership of FMI in our communities. When using the ideas and resources please include a note of acknowledgement, such as the following:

  Organization of this event was partially- (fully-) based on an event organization methodology developed by the volunteers of the Financial Management Institute of Canada (fmi*igf) and is used with permission under Creative Commons (Non-commercial). We thank the FMI for sharing their methods and will let them know how it worked out for us.