Planning an outreach event can be overwhelming no matter how large or small the event may be. Over the next year, the Adult Advocate’s Avenue blog will take a deep dive into best practices for each milestone that goes into planning a successful outreach event. This month, we’re sharing our Outreach Roadmap so that you can join us for the ride in the coming months and be on your way for a smoothly executed event.
1. Form an organizing committee and define your vision (2-4 months prior to event)
Defining a clear vision and goals for the event early on will allow for streamlined planning to support bringing the vision to life. Setting clear responsibilities for each committee member will allow for accountability throughout the process.
2. Plan specific activities and agenda (2-4 months prior to event)
Plan activities that will support your event vision and the learning goals and needs of your intended audience. Identify and secure a location (or virtual platform) conducive to your planned activities.
3. Budget and fundraise (2-4 months prior to event)
Create a budget and identify funding sources. From grants to fundraisers to sponsorship to registration fees, many options exist to fit your organization’s needs.
4. Secure volunteers and partnerships (2 months prior to event)
Recruit volunteers and/or speakers from your organization and community. You may seek demonstrators with specific skills to suit your activity needs. Consider partnering with another organization or SWE section to fill your volunteer needs.
5. Start marketing and launch registration (1 month prior to event)
Create an advertising plan and publicize your event via social media or through flyers sent to schools or other community organizations. Launch a registration form complete with photo/video and safety release forms.
6. Prepare materials (2-4 weeks prior to event)
Once materials are secured following your defined budget, organization of materials is key. Create material kits for volunteers and/or participants as needed for your particular activities.
7. Train volunteers and do a practice run (1-2 weeks prior to event)
It’s always best to err on the side of more training. Well-prepared volunteers will be able to deliver your event activities in a more effective and engaging fashion. Complete a practice run to identify any potential missteps and tweak plans accordingly.
Day of Event
8. Have a clear plan of action
Now is the time to share your hard work and planning. Have a clear check-in plan for volunteers and participants to start the event smoothly. Organizing committee members or an assigned day-of coordinator can ensure the event is on schedule and someone is there to respond to any volunteer uncertainties.
9. Gather participant & volunteer feedback (1-3 days following event)
Ask both participants and volunteers what they enjoyed most and what could be improved. Be sure to thank everyone and send any pictures taken to commemorate the event.
10. Debrief with organizing committee (1-2 weeks following event)
Use participant and volunteer feedback to reflect on positives, negatives and areas of improvement for future outreach events.
For additional information on planning your event, be sure to check out the Outreach Toolkit. Following your event, don’t forget to enter it into the Outreach Metric Tool! This survey is used by the Outreach Committee to set goals, secure grant funding and show sponsors the impact of SWE members’ outreach. Learn more about the Outreach Metric Tool (OMT) here.
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