Having a Co-organiser for your local group makes your life easier as you can share the work load and have someone to talk through ideas. Ask other members of your group what their skill sets are and whether they can support you and the group.
There is a small fund available for Local Groups. In the past this has been used for promoting meetings, hiring venues, food and paying transport costs for speakers. The fund can also be used for campaigning in your local area and to pay for campaign related training for Local Organisers to become even more effective. Get in touch with us to see if we can support your Local Group. If there has been a cost to putting on the meeting, ask everyone directly as they enter if they can spare £1, £2 to cover the small costs.
Everyone likes free food and it can play a small part in getting people to come along to the meeting. Especially if the meeting is held in the evening and so people may be coming straight from work. Try to a have a range of food so that if people have allergies / do not eat certain foods, then they are catered for. Also try not to get foods that are very messy and can spill. Make sure in the promotion of the meeting that you let everyone know that there will be food!
Firstly, think about: what's the specific goal for this, how will you know it has been a success, are you going to try and use it for campaigning/fundraising, what kind of experience do you want people to have at it. Also show people that they can make a difference.
Things that need to be covered in the planning and budgeting include: sponsors, speakers, catering, programmes, stalls, venues, tickets, marketing, volunteers, website, press coverage, audio visuals, technology, checking that the proposed date does not clash with another big event.
Try to collaborate with other groups in your area to create an amazing meeting together!
Get creative in promoting your meeting and design small posters and social cards that can be easily shared on social media. They need to be eye catching, have a clear message, use short words and images.
Ask for feedback from supporters at the end of the meeting, this can be done anonymously with people writing their comments down a sheet of paper that is passed around (e.g. how did it go, what do they want to see for the next meeting).
It is very important to follow up with attendees after a meeting to carry on engaging with them.
We are dependant on members for their support and so actively ask the people who attend your meetings to sign up to our mailing list. Soon after the meeting email everyone to thank them for coming and share an article/resource with them that relates to the issues that were raised.
One thing that worked well for ORG Leeds was to place slips on the chairs asking for email addresses and tick boxes for where they heard about the event, they could then target their efforts on those channels and build a mailing list.
Andy, the Local Organiser for ORG Leeds had the great idea of setting a challenge for everyone who came to the meeting - for the next meeting everyone had to bring one new person.
We need to communicate and campaign with as broad an audience as possible, and ensure we are open to all kinds of people, explore ways to widen our demographic base and proactively reach out to diverse groups.
Find ways to engage with communities that are directly affected by the issues that ORG campaigns on.
Other active steps are; having accessible venues, holding events when parents can make them, not having all-male panels, acknowledging race when discussing issues that impact it, using non-technical language when promoting meetings (‘would a 12 year old understand it’ rule), use more people stories when explaining ORG's campaigns.
When promoting ORG meetings always include a line saying that you do not need be a tech wizard or a policy expert to attend and participate. These meetings should also be about teaching and getting new skills and knowledge. Convert technical terms and slang into easy to understand terms to make the meetings more accessible. This will help to promote meetings to all audiences.
Think about the title of the meeting, clickbait headlines often work (e.g. Why do you need to protect yourself online?), tell people that you have the answer and ask questions.
When thinking about how many people will be attending your meeting, roughly half of the people who click attending on your chosen social media site (e.g. Meetup) will actually come through the door.
Search for your local Meetup #Resist group, its run by Meetup themselves and anyone who joins is a co-organiser and can therefore post events. You can cross post your events there and hopefully attract a wider range of people.
When searching for a venue find out if it has disabled toilets and access, wifi, is the location easy to travel to, are you allowed food inside, who else will be using the venue on the day, capacity and what is the hiring cost (always let them know that you are a local voluntary campaign group as this may get the cost down.
Venues that have been used in the past include: community spaces, tech company offices, cafes, libraries, hacks spaces, bookshops. Try not to hold the meeting in a pub or a religious space as this will put some people off from attending. Find out where other local campaign/community groups hold their meetings.