Co-designing your event with members of the community you hope to reach is the best way to ensure a successful event-- especially when you’re trying bring in new audiences.
With community input, you can ensure your event is
Imagine you’re planning an event to encourage teachers to incorporate data privacy into their curriculum, and you’re a technologist with no classroom experience. You might seek out collaborators who are teachers. They might help tailor your content to actual classroom scenarios, so what your audience does or learns at the event is immediately useful. They might suggest formats and schedules (days, times) that work for teachers. And when you’re doing outreach to recruit participants, your co-designers can make suggestions on who to contact, or help promote the event to their communities.
Your partners might be community members with whom you already have a working relationship. Or you may need to reach out to a organization that represents your target community to make new connections. If you’re not familiar with a community, it’s always best to create a partnership rather than make assumptions about community needs on your own.
If your event is for a community already belong to, sharing leadership and planning of the event is a way of recognizing and leveling-up participation by trusted community members. Do not assign tasks like a boss; facilitate matchmaking between people and work that matters to them. Trust them to do the work, and support them in doing it well.
For more on the co-design process, check out this blog post about how Mozilla works with community to create MozFest, our annual festival of the internet with 2500+ attendees and a program of hundreds of workshops and experiences.