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Community Action Tool Kit
Using a Checklist to Plan and Host Your Events

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Planning and hosting events such as educational workshops, mall walks, health fairs, screenings, and seminars can provide you with opportunities for introducing P.A.D. to your constituents and audiences.  Events can also raise your organization's profile in the community.  You can create a special event on your own or you can raise awareness about P.A.D. by participating in events sponsored by others.  The best thing about special events is that they allow you to make your own news.

Planning events and activities can involve juggling many elements, from identifying and securing locations, to promoting your event and even managing details such as whether or not to provide refreshments.  This section provides you with effective tips and strategies for planning and executing events.  Also included is a sample checklist that details some of the key logistical considerations for each stage of event planning and execution.

Planning Events
Once you have decided to host an event, consider the following steps to help guide your event planning:

1.  Steps for success

  • Carefully match the type of event that is selected to the purpose that it serves. Do you want to inform the general public about P.A.D. or update health care providers and partners about treatment guidelines for P.A.D.?
  • Ensure that your staff/organization's members fully support the event.
  • If possible, try and narrow your audience for the event, for example, general public over the age of 50, health care providers, local business partners (e.g., shopping malls, grocery stores).
  • Give yourself plenty of time to plan your event.  In some cases, events can take as long as 3-6 months to plan.
  • Develop ways to measure your event's success, such as gauging the attendance or the number of materials distributed.
  • Ask other organizations in your community that may have successfully staged similar events for pointers.

2.  Make a checklist
A checklist can provide you with a step-by-step guide to organizing and executing a special event.  A sample checklist is provided for you at the end of this section.

3.  Create a budget
Make sure you consider all the expenses that could go into making your event a success, such as printing, permits, insurance, speakers, refreshments, supplies, etc.

4.  Consider logistics
It's important for you to consider and plan for details including:  size of space or building used, utility support needed, setup (e.g., tables and chairs, tents, parking, signage) coordination, cleanup, emergency plans, transportation, and public services such as police and fire departments.

5.  Plan publicity
There are several useful tools in this tool kit (see Chapter 3) that you can customize to help in your efforts to publicize and promote your event.  When thinking about how you're going to publicize your event, consider the following questions:

  • Are you trying to inform, educate, or entertain?
  • Increase awareness or attendance of the event?
  • Build a base support from a specific audience?
  • Foster good community relations?

Chapter 3 of this tool kit provides you with more information about how to identify and approach appropriate local media for promotion of your event.

6.  Consider measuring the success of your event
Take time to assess the effectiveness of your event soon after the event, while the details are still fresh.  You may want to consider having a questionnaire for your team to fill out.  Some general questions might include:

  • Did the event fulfill its goals?  Why or why not?
  • What worked?  What needs fine-tuning?
  • Was the event well-attended?  Did attendees walk away with materials?
  • Was informal and formal feedback about the event positive?
  • Given all that went into staging, was it worth doing?
  • Is there something that can be done to followup?

Finally, it is important to remember to celebrate your successes and to thank all those who contributed.

Additional Event Planning Considerations

  • Think about the types of events that have already been tried in your community and determine which have been successful and why.  Consider talking to the local Chamber of Commerce, faith-based organizations, schools, charities, and even local media to see what draws the most people and the most media coverage.
  • Pick an event that seems a "perfect fit," one that achieves the goal you have set and reaches your target audience.  For example, it may be appropriate to be involved in a local health fair or a screening event at your local hospital.
  • If you are creating a new event, select a date and then check the calendar and your city's department of special events to make sure it does not conflict with any holidays or other big events.
  • If appropriate, ask a local newspaper, television or radio station, community organization, or business to cosponsor the event with you.
  • Choose a location for the event that is convenient for attendees and is easily accessible via public transportation.
  • Publicize the event with advance media relations, advertising, posters, flyers, and invitations.  Publicizing your event through your local media may help you reach thousands instead of hundreds with your message.

Event Planning Checklist
To help you create and host a successful event, following on the next page is a sample checklist for creating your own Stay in Circulation community event to raise awareness about P.A.D.  This checklist is a guide and can be customized to fit the specific needs for your particular event(s).

Timing
The amount of time needed to plan a community activity depends on the type of event or program, the number of people expected, and the partners or resources needed.  In general, you may need about 3-6 months to plan most activities.  The earlier you start, the better.  For some large events, such as a community health fair, you may need up to 1 year to plan.

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