Event invitations are an important part of event promotion and planning. In many cases, they are the primary way to get the word out about an event and can help drive event attendance and ticket sales.
Invitations should be sent four to six weeks before the event. Any less than two weeks is not desirable as the event organizer/university appears disorganized, or invitees may perceive that the invitation is not sincere or that they are on a ‘B’ list.
NOTE: Invitations for government announcements are often sent out only one to two weeks or days before an event, but in these cases, it is out of the event planners’ control.
Preparing your guest list
Start with creating a Master Guest List (MGL) to identify the various guests you want to invite to your event. Noting the broad groups will remind you of the range of individuals that should be invited. Circulate your master guest list for input, feedback and approval from each stakeholder.
SFU internal guests to consider inviting to high profile events:
SFU external guests to consider inviting:
If C&E has the capacity to assist with your event, they can help you draft an MGL and submit your data request. Please contact Gloria Chu, Director at email@example.com to enquire.
Include the following key information in your event invitation:
Print invitations are used when you want to be able to save a physical copy of your invitation for archival purposes and can indicate that the event is of significant importance. Your invited guests can also keep it as a memorabilia piece.
Invitations can be printed by SFU’s Document Solutions or an external vendor. SFU Document Solutions request a minimum of one week turnaround time for print projects.
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Electronic invitations are more commonly used as they are cost effective, environmentally sustainable and allow for your guests to easily register online once they receive their invitation. Campaigner is the tool we use to send out electronic invitations.
Download sample evites below.
Invitation approval process
Ensure you plan time to circulate your invitation for input, feedback and approval from each stakeholder. If your invitation lists the president as the host of the event, in addition to internal departmental approval, you will also need approval of the invitation by your Vice-President (VP). After your VP has approved the invitation, please forward the invitation to the President’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain final approval.
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Registration and tracking
To track registrations, it is recommend that you create an online reply form to collect guest information.
SFU offers three survey tools to collect event guest registrations: Eventbrite, SurveyMonkey and WebSurvey.
It is important to utilize a systematic and organized method to track registrations. You will need accurate registration information to provide final numbers to your caterer and venue and to ensure you have a nametag for everyone. Keep your registration system simple, consistent and up to date.