Appoint an event organizer and planning team. Put together a team of interested key groups, such as members of the faith community, business allies, students and others, to help decide details and share workload. The event organizer will be the key motivator and strategist behind your event. Delegating pieces of the process to the planning team will keep the project manageable for everyone involved.
Build a broad-base coalition. Invite multi-sectored diverse groups to co-sponsor the event. Remember, it is important to reach out to allies with whom you may not have worked with in past efforts.
Decide on target audience. Everything about the forum, including the issues, co-sponsoring organizations, speakers, location, date, and time, should be designed with the audience in mind. Examples of target audiences you might consider: individuals of all ages, students, elected officials, members of the media and coalition partners and/or civil rights groups.
Set a budget. While forums can be held for very little money, 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.
Choose a location. Choose an accessible site that will attract a wide range of attendees, preferably a well-known and wheelchair accessible site such as a school or community center. Consider sites that the media frequents for similar events.
Schedule the event at a convenient time. Avoid business hours, religious or government holidays, or dates when other community events are scheduled.
Decide on a format. Will your event be a briefing? Panel discussion? A moderated debate?