World Pulse Toolkit for Organizing Community Events
Want to organize an event or training to bring members of your community together? Here is a toolkit to help you establish your local network and organize events. With each event you organize, the process will become easier and you will learn ways to make it more effective. If you wish to organize an event about PulseWire or World Pulse, please contact the World Pulse team for information and materials, and share with us the challenges and successes of your endeavors. Good luck!
I. Plan an Event
a. Identify Co-Organizers: Though it’s certainly possible for an individual to handle organizing an event on your own, it can be very helpful to establish a team of co-organizers to help you brainstorm ideas, manage the workload and make sure all details are covered. Begin with your own personal network and think about who might be interested in helping. Reach out to PulseWire members in the area to help and to attend. Some Suggestions:
- Be organized and pay attention to details.
- Develop clearly defined roles, with one leader for each project.
b. Determine Format and Topic: When planning an event, think about what topics are important to your community and what format of event would be most appropriate.
- You can use PulseWire to get input from your community about what they are interested in: conduct surveys, evaluations, general inquiries, etc.
- Allocate time before and/or after the event for socializing and networking.
- Introduce the event, and the topic and presentations. Potential topics for first event:
- Be sure to include information about the topic and format in your promotional materials for the event.
- Best practices:
- An issue or topic of interest to the community
- Introduce World Pulse and how to use PulseWire to achieve your goals
- Brainstorm format and topic for future events
- Speaker-led event in an area of their expertise
• Potential event formats:
- Formal Event: a larger attendance and longer event featuring time for social mixing, formal presentation(s) and question and answer period. Optional: entertainment and more socializing time.
- Social Event: An unstructured socializing over refreshments or a meal.
- Presentation and Meal: An informal presentation and Q&A/discussion period around a topic of the speaker’s work, followed by a meal. Alternative: start with refreshments and socializing, and then go to the presentation.
- Workshop or Help Desk: Experts train/consult/advise attendees on a particular topic in an interactive and informative event.
- Interactive format and multiple speakers help hold attendees’ attentions.
- Events sharing expertise, tools, and best practices on a specific topic draw and maintain interested audiences.
- Provide opportunities for attendees to socialize and network.
- If applicable: Announce the next event.
- Establish a forum for attendees to provide feedback the event: successes, suggestions, and ideas.
c. Identify potential speakers: Reach out your networks to identify potential speakers with expertise in areas of interest to your community.
- PulseWire can help you locate and connect with individuals in your area with specific areas of expertise that may be good speakers.
- It’s nice to prepare some sort of token of gratitude for your speakers.
d. Pick a venue: The location and venue of the event will depend on the event format and the expected number of participants/attendees. Small and informal meet-ups can be held at public places like restaurants, cafés, or public parks, though sometimes they take place in private homes or offices. If the event is larger and more formal, be sure the venue has adequate capacity and is well suited for a formal presentation.
- Get suggestions of potential venues from your networks.
- Places to consider: keep in mind the neighborhood and location of the venue – make sure it is accessible to participants, and in a neighborhood they’ll want to meet in.
- Visit the venue before you book it. Once you’ve decided, confirm reservation of the venue in advance. Things to keep in mind when considering a space:
- Community or neighborhood center
- Library or school
- Co-working space
- Bar or restaurant with private room/area
- Hotel function room
- Conference center
- Nonprofit organization’s meeting room or board room
- Museum or performing arts space
- Artist or arts space
- Business meeting space
- Name of site, address, phone and contact person
- Dimensions of space to be used - How many people will it hold?
- Dates available
- Cost - Remember to offer visibility in exchange for fees
- What's included? Any special restrictions noted up front?
- AV Equipment available? Other equipment you will need (e.g. Wifi)?
- Refund/cancellation policy
- On-site custodians and/or security, closing times
- Can you bring in food or drinks?
- References or other groups that meet there
e. Arrange for refreshments: It’s helpful to have some sort of refreshments available at events. Depending on the style and formality of the event, you will want different types of refreshments.
- Donations: A low cost way to provide refreshments at the event is through food donations.
- Potluck: for smaller events, invite attendees to each bring a different kind of refreshment.
f. Develop a promotion strategy: While developing a strategy for disseminating promotional materials, make a list of your target audience and the resources that will help you reach them. Be clear and concise while including key information to attract the attention of your targeted audience.
- Print Materials: design materials and research cost-effective printing venues.
- Email: create an email list of contacts and draft messages.
- Online Tools: take advantage of free online tools and social media, such as PulseWire, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Click here for instructions on how to post an event on PulseWire: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/about/faq#faq31
- Text Message: create a list of cell phone contacts and draft a brief text message to remind attendees about the event.
g. Assess the success of the event: In order to learn from each event and get input from attendees about how things went, create a venue for attendees to share feedback and share ideas with you.
- Share your experience and learnings on PulseWire though your personal journal.
h. Build partnerships and expand your social network: Through developing partnerships, you will be able to secure the resources you need (venue, refreshments, speakers, equipment, materials, etc.) and expand your network of attendees and supporters more easily.
- Invite attendees to fill out a contact sheet, and send a follow up message thanking them for coming.
- Invite attendees to join PulseWire so you can stay connected there.
- Exploit your social media tools to stay connected.
II. Other Resources:
a. Facebook: build your network of contacts and spread awareness about your activities.
b. Twitter: promote your events and connect with others.
c. Google Forms: through Google forms, you can create your own survey, share it with your audience, and compile the results in a Google Document.
d. Evite: Evite is a free, online invitations service where you can create an invitation; email it to contacts, and track how they have responded (attending, maybe, not attending).
Empowering this community with information is a key priority for World Pulse. If you found this information helpful, let us know how by posting a comment or sending us an email. Click here for a list of other World Pulse toolkits currently available.