Time for a Program!
by, 02-10-2008 at 12:27 PM (1706 Views)
Welcome to our planning meeting!
Let's give ourselves at least 6 weeks to do this right. Once you have everyone confirmed for the program, we gotta get a good location. Unless we have unlimited access to our own space, we gotta get something reserved. If we can't get space for free, we gotta make sure we're able to cover costs b4 the day of the event cuz we can't count on folx promising they're gonna chip in at the last minute to do so. Get as much cash and other items donated as possible!
Make sure we got everything in writing that's supposed to be there, i.e. chairs, tables, projection screen/TV w/DVD player, microphones, extension cords, etc. Get everything signed by someone in charge, not a secretary. Same goes for receipts. Try to get an extra room for childcare and get some teens to take care of the young'uns for you during the program. Get a few cell or home phone numbers for use the day of the program in case the custodian doesn't show up to let you in the bldg. or any unforeseen problems arise.
NOW we gotta get our propaganda together. First we gotta get flyers out and not just something hurriedly put together. It's got to have the hippest artwork, the screamingest headlines, the most provocative language legally possible to grab folks' attention. We got so much media to compete with, we must guarantee that we're gonna get a second look. Break it on down to specific, highly-traveled areas for distribution by hand, windshields, doorways, and mailings. Hit all the community businesses, phone poles, wherever info is posted at. Give great directions, offer rides, childcare, free food, and other giveaways, if possible.
Do a press release (very simple 1 page double-spaced: name/phone of contact person; who, what, when, where, why of program) and send it out to local media newspapers and radio. Broadly distribute it online, as well.
Make sure you have a sign-in sheet or booklet right at the entrance so you can continuously develop your contact list. Have your donation bucket and propaganda at this same table. During the program we should also hand out any information that we want to get into the people's hands, don't count on people to pick items up off your table. Also make time for announcements from the audience during the program, if possible.
Try to videotape and/or take lots of photos of your event. Make sure you've got your security firmly in place at all times. Check on any elders or disabled people frequently to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. This ain't the day to get into any long and drawn out political debates with attendees, you're putting out liberation information and tryna win over new people, so act like you know and don't get COINTELPRO'd!
Many times we have folx getting together at programs who haven't seen each other for looong periods of time (many of whom may have even travelled long distances!). The problem with that is, the program is so tightly packed that we don't have any time for folx to really greet each other, so too often they're sneaking out of workshops to "catch up" or trying to do so and eat and go to the bathroom all at the same during lunch break.
We need a specific time period for networking, checking the vendors/info tables out, etc., that can even precede the program itself, perhaps during set-up time. Since we're often up against the clock for how long we can use the room we've rented for the program, we can also offer an "after party" type scenario where folx can gather at someone's home or hotel room for kicking it.
We want the 2nd half of the program to be just as vibrant (if not more so) than the 1st! So, don't serve a heavy meal during the break at your function; do something super light (need i say why, lol). If you have a keynote speaker, you really have to be clear with any other speakers/performers that they have to stick to their time limit. (On your non-public schedule, give them 5-10 mins. longer than they actually know about.) You don't want your audience to become disinterested in everything your keynote is saying cuz the other people went on and on for far too long. Try and make time for at least 20 mins. of Q&A.
What would be really great would be to take advantage of having extra hands available and do some type of community activity. Whether it's a demo, or even coordination with a mass community event happening in your town that we can invade and do one-on-one's with the people, maybe some of your attendees would be willing and able to roll up their sleeves and get on down.
Write a report-back of the event and publish it as widely as you did the original flyer. That way, folx have an idea of what they missed and can feel more informed of what to expect the next time you're promoting an activity!
Here's to a successful event! Feel free to add on with your great ideas!
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