Planning events

Before you organise an event, make sure there’s enough interest and support in your group to make it happen. You can run events with other groups, including other Engenerate regions, your local Branch and other local professional groups (eg architects, planners, accountants).

Then take the following steps:

  • Check with your local Branch that they aren’t planning an event for the same week, and make sure the event goes into the Branch’s calendar.
  • Organise a suitable, accessible venue. Consider whether it’s close to public transport or has low-cost parking. Make a booking.

Download our event checklist

What can I get funding for?

When you are applying for funding, remember that your project or event needs to benefit multiple members (specifically engineers rather than the general public), and it must have relevance to engineering.

If you don’t use the funding before the end of the IPENZ financial year (30 September), then it will not be available in the next financial year.

Things likely to be successful in gaining funding include:

  • Catering for functions.
  • Transport to site visits.
  • Speaker fee or travel costs.
  • Venue hire or koha.
  • Admission fees for bowling or golf.

Funding applications are unlikely to be successful if:

  • They benefit only a few people.
  • The activity is too similar to other activities that have already been given funding.
  • The event involves watching a performance rather than being something that that encourages people to talk to each other.
  • They are for activities that are dangerous. You may be asked to provide an event risk plan before your event is approved, and you will need to consider your and IPENZ’s obligations under the Health and Safety Act.

How much should I budget?

You need to budget for both costs and income.

Costs might include things like catering, venue hire, fees or gifts for speakers, transport, prizes, printing, complementary tickets, equipment hire, accommodation, security fees (for some venues after hours), stationery, or petrol fees.

Some guidelines on how much to budget:

  • Refreshments for a function: one drink and some food for a total of $12–15 per person; or food costing $12–15 and people buy their own drinks.
  • Speaker gift: $25–35 per speaker.
  • Prizes for quiz night per person in the winning team: first place $10, second $5, third $2.50.
  • Transportation: $3–10 per person.
  • Venue hire: $50–300 depending on location.
  • If you use a consultancy/contracting firm venue: $30–40 koha (thank you gift).
  • Committee-only event (one per year): $25 per person.
  • Four to eight committee meetings per year: $50 per meeting for catering (small regions should hold meetings every two months).
  • Social dinner with keynote speaker: $20 per head (make sure you pay for the keynote speakers’ dinners and their partners’ dinners).

Send your detailed event budget and completed annual budget plan to Annette.

Can I get sponsorship for our event?

Getting sponsorship is a great way to help pay for some of the event’s costs. Think about what you will offer the sponsor – e.g. a short speaking slot or the chance to introduce the keynote speaker, displaying banners at the event, having sponsor representatives attend the event, distributing sponsor flyers at the event.

When you are looking for sponsors, make sure only one person contacts each potential sponsor. Avoid approaching recruitment companies for sponsorship, as this can create a conflict of interest with your employer.

Make sure you formalise the arrangement:

  • Complete a sponsorship agreement.
  • Get the sponsor to sign the agreement.
  • Send the contract to IPENZ, so that we can sign it on your behalf and generate an invoice.
  • Give the invoice to the sponsor.

Should I charge a fee for the event?

A door fee can help you cover the costs of the event. You can use Eventbrite to take payments and issue tickets. Eventbrite adds a booking fee to each transaction, and it’s important that you are transparent about this when people are paying for the tickets.

The minimum charge for a door fee is $10 (including GST). If someone can’t come, they can transfer their place to someone else but they can’t get a refund.

Discourage people from turning up to the event with cash because this creates more work for you. If someone gives you cash, you need to give the cash to the venue and make sure the cash is taken off the bill (and this needs to be clearly shown on the final bill).

How do I promote my event?

Think about the best way to reach your target audience. We can help you by advertising your event:

  • in an email newsletter (branch, Engenerate, SENZ), and
  • on the IPENZ website

If you want to make posters, check with us before using the IPENZ logo, and if you are using photos make sure you have permission to use them.

What are my health and safety obligations?

It’s important that your event complies with The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. For us to comply with our obligations, we need to make sure that all events run under the IPENZ banner have high health and safety standards.

To help you manage these obligations, we’ve developed a set of checklists that you can use to make sure your event complies.

For each event, a designated person must act as the Event Organiser and take responsibility for completing the relevant checklist below:

Health and safety checklist for an in-house event
Health and safety checklist for a site visit
Health and safety checklist for a recreational activity


As the event organiser, you have some specific responsibilities if your event will have alcohol. Your event needs to comply with the Alcohol Act:

  • Always serve sufficient food, and advertise this in your promotion of the event.
  • Always serve non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Make sure people are not underage.
  • Make sure people do not become intoxicated.
  • Don’t promote the event as having free alcohol.
  • Don’t promote excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Don’t get sponsorship of alcohol.
  • Make sure the venue has the right licence to serve alcohol.

If people are entitled to one drink as part of the event, you can use a voucher to make this easier to manage.

Download drink voucher template
Download non-alcoholic drink voucher template

Food safety

As the event organiser, you are responsible for making sure that:

  • Food is handled with clean hands.
  • Food for special diets is kept separate.
  • Catering is delivered as close to the time of consumption as possible.
  • Cold food is kept cold and hot food is kept hot.

What do I need to do once funding is approved?

Once you have the green light for your event, make sure the logistics are sorted:

  • Confirm your venue (and pay any deposit).
  • Book speakers. You can use our speaker brief template if you need help finding someone.
  • Book any other services like transport, catering or sound.
  • Take registrations online through Eventbrite. Just complete an event listing form and send to Annette.
  • Purchase a speaker gift, if required.
  • Pick someone to MC the event and put together a run sheet.
  • Come up with a contingency plan, in case the speaker is unable to attend at the last minute.
  • Make sure sponsors are receiving the benefits you agreed to in the contracts.
  • If the event is visually interesting, take a photo and send it through to IPENZ. If there are identifiable people in the photo, make sure you get them to sign a photo release form.
  • After the event, write an article for the next issue of the Engenerate newsletter send it to IPENZ

How do I pay for goods or services for my group’s activities?

If you need to purchase something, please ask the supplier to issue an invoice. You can then send this to IPENZ and we will pay it. It needs to be the original invoice, not a copy.

If you end up paying for something using your personal credit card, make sure you get a receipt with a GST number. You can then fill in an expense claim form, attach the receipt, and submit it to us. Expense claims are paid within seven days.

Only complete an expense claim form if you are the person who has incurred an expense. Please do not put an expense claim form under you name on behalf of someone else.

If you need to update your bank account details, please email Annette so we can make sure this is updated in our system.

What do I need to know about spot prizes or draws?

Under the Gambling Act, it’s illegal to give away alcohol as a prize.

Read more about the requirements around spot prizes and other types of competitions

What do I need to know about the Privacy Act?

The Privacy Act applies to any person or group that holds, uses or discloses personal information. Personal information does not need to be private, sensitive or intimate in order to qualify for protection.

Under the Act, personal information needs to be used only for the purpose for which it was originally obtained.

If you collect names at the door for an event, make sure the information is securely disposed of and is not used to ask people to come to other events.

If you need an email sent out to members in your region, IPENZ can send out a reminder on your behalf.

If you want to take photos of people at event, make sure you have their permission first. Ask them to sign a photo release form.

Make sure that you handle your group’s personal details securely and don’t distribute them to others.

What if something goes wrong?

Phone 111 in the event of an emergency.

You will need to report any accident - get in touch with us for advice.