Whether you’re running a hackathon, a learning circle, a study group, a work sprint, a meet-up or a festival, there are a few broad categories of tasks you’ll and your co-designers need to do for a successful event.
- Logistics. Identify and reserve a suitable space for your event, and any resources or materials needed or on-hand. This could include coming up with a budget.
- Outreach. Help publicize the event in your local community, and find ways for people to opt in
- Host/Facilitate. Welcome participants and help them find ways to engage positively. Monitor how the event unfolds; encourage safe, respectful, productive interactions for all
- Troubleshoot. Serve as point of contact to solve any issues (safety, technical, etc) that arise
- Document & Gather Feedback. Document and report learnings, successes, and next steps to your communities and beyond; solicit feedback from participants to improve future events
- Follow up. Continue the engagement by inviting participants to engage further with your work
Now that you have a sense of what you might need to do to run your event, we suggest using something called a “roadmap” to plan and track tasks and deadlines. A roadmap lays out all the steps you’ll take in your project, from start to completion.
For events, this includes pre-event stages like planning, outreach and more. It’s a way of organizing the work, and also sharing your process with others, so they can see what’s current and where they might fit in. Your times and tasks may vary depending on the goals, size, and scale of your event. You may be able to put together a small, casual event, in a couple of weeks. Or you may need several months or longer to put together a really large event. You'll notice there's a lot to do, especially on the day of the event-- all the more reason to work with a co-designer and share leadership.
Sample Event Roadmap
Week 8 (8 weeks before the event)
- Draft your POP
- Identify your co-designers
- Begin looking for a venue
- Meet with your co-designers to kick off planning process: refine POP, create Roadmap,
- Determine what help you’ll need (for example, a graphic designer or an extra person to greet attendees)
- Work on finalizing venue
- Create list of materials or other resources needed for event (tech, registration platforms, content like workshop materials or plans, etc)
- Come up with ways to make your event more inviting-- begin to create participation guidelines, consider other accessibility concerns (transportation, child care, physical accessibility)
- Finalize venue
- Create a plan for outreach
- Recruit extra helpers as needed
- Finalize Participation Guidelines
- Set up any registration systems/platforms
- Set up any communications systems or channels (blogs, social media, etc)
- Begin outreach on social media, blogs, email, or in person-- depending on your audience
- Set up any collaboration platforms for working at the event
- Finalize any plans for event helpers (people to greet attendees, help with facilitation, etc)
- Begin creating any materials such as a (workshop plan, signage, post-event survey)
- More outreach!
- Continue creating materials
- Outreach continues
- Generate checklists for the event-- to organize what you’ll need to bring, any details about set up or closing the space, etc.
- Gather supplies (anything from sharpies to coffee cups)
- Final outreach push! Send reminders, etc.
Day of the event
- Prepare the venue, set up the room, post signage
- If relevant, post a schedule somewhere
- Welcome people to the event!
- Host and/or facilitate
- Be on hand to problem-solve and troubleshoot
- Document and share what’s happening and the event!
- Be prepared to end the event on-time
- Do any break-down and reset of the space
Post event week 1
- Wrap up documentation (could be blog, social media post, or email communication)
- Thank participants, and those who helped! (either in the wrap up communication or in personal messages)
- Send out a survey for participant feedback
- Take a break! You did it! :)
Post event week 2
- Follow up with participants on any calls to action, next steps, or further invitations to collaborate