First Steps in Depth

Categories: Field, Forum

As an event convener, you are a key motivator and strategist behind this event. Delegating pieces of the process will help keep the project manageable for everyone involved. The following are some steps to follow:

Delegate work to a planning team

Appoint a planning team to divide and oversee the following responsibilities:

  • Agenda planning and identifying speakers
  • Outreach: coalition and the general public
  • Community promotion and media visibility

In order to keep audience interest, forums should last not more than One hour and thirty minutes! Start on time; end on time.

Share the timeline and checklists

Give each member of your committee a copy of the appropriate timeline and checklist.

Develop a budget

Work with your planning team to develop a budget. You may have expenses such as location or speakers’ fees, handouts, refreshments, advertising and postage for visibility, and postage for follow-up letters. In-kind contributions and donations from co-sponsors and other organizations are good ways to stretch your resources.

Strategies for saving money

  • Trade ads for copies. Create relationships with local copy shops and discuss the possibility of getting free or reduced copies in return for advertising their name on the back of your brochures or flyers.
  • Ask co-sponsors to help. Offer local businesses and coalition partners the opportunity to co-sponsor events in exchange for free meeting locations, phone line use, copy privileges, and advertising expenses.
  • Use the media for public service announcements. Ask a local radio or TV station to facilitate a forum in exchange for free news coverage and some public service announcements regarding the event.

Plan your outreach strategy

Invite moderators or speakers. Choose three or four nonpartisan, credible panelists who will bring media attention to the event. Pick speakers varying in age, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and occupation. A well-known, nonpartisan moderator who is respected in the community will generate interest in the event and give your work added credibility

  • Plan media outreach and spokesperson. Outreach to the media will help and advertise your event and gain visibility.
  • Promote your event in the community.

Choose a location

Work with your planning team to determine a location that will accommodate the size crowd you are expecting and will attract a range of people from the community. Ask the site manager about the following:

  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • Podiums
  • Sound systems
  • Tables
  • Janitorial services
  • Extra chairs
  • Refreshments (can you bring your own)
  • Electrical outlets for television and radio crews

Get Materials from LCCR/LCCREF

Contact LCCR/LCCREF for comprehensive materials on the issues that we address.

After the event, follow up on action strategies

Work with your committee to follow up on any action strategies that result from the event.

Follow up with attendees

Use the registration list as an email or U.S. postal mailing list for future meetings and to contact participants.

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