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How to Organize & Promote
an Event or Meeting
(a People & Planet Gateway & Guide)

(1) Set your goals

Be sure do some strategizing and set some goals before you begin. What is your mission? What is your strategy? How will an event fit with your strategy and other tactics? What specific goals do you want the event to achieve? Here are some articles and resources on planning and strategizing.

(2) Design the event

Try to design your event so that it will catch people's interest. Include an interesting speaker; a film or video; something fun such as an outdoors activity; maybe a potluck; a "gimmick" or symbolic action; etc. Ask yourself you can make your event fun and worthwhile for people to attend. Give your event a clear, short name that clearly says what the event is about.

Try to include interactive, participative and "unstructured" elements. What make all the effort involved in bringing people together if they don't get to interact and network? Will they learn much if they just sit and listen to "talking heads"? Here are some links and articles on how to foster interaction, including Open Space Techniques, Talking/Listening Circles, and Meeting & Group Process (section C, Community & Group Process).

(3) Articles and resources on
events & organizing

Event Planning for Environmentalists, Non-profits, Activists
Proactive, Empowering, Community-Building Events
Event Planning for Dummies
How to make the most out of meetings & events
Fostering Participation, Interaction and Creating Community - Anywhere
Community and Group Process & Facilitation (includes
Open Space techniques, Talking & Listening Circles, Consensus)
More Resources for Meeting & Group Process
Community & Organization Development Factsheets
Guide to Special Events Fundraising (Ken Wyman)
Environmental Speakers Available in Ontario

How to be an Activist – introduction and portal to activism, education,
community involvement, and social change. Guides, definitions,
approaches, themes, stories, how to be an activist.

Calendars – Environmental, Nonprofit & Activist Events
People & Planet Calendar
More Environmental Calendars

Greening Your Event
Canada's Green Meeting Guide – directory of “green” meeting & event planning suppliers in Canada www.greenmeetingguide.com
How to Plan a Sustainable Event (brochure & links) www.sustainable.org/information/susevent.html
BlueGreen Meetings – whether you are a host, planner or supplier, this is where you’ll find the tips, tools and resources to make environmentally responsible choices for your meetings. www.bluegreenmeetings.org
Carpooling & Ridesharing for Events: www.spaceshare.com | more

Mainstream Event Services & Resources
Event Planning Directories (see also yellowpages.ca)
Event Planning & Production Services
Event Planning – Toronto, Ontario
Event Planning – Ottawa, Ontario
Event Planning – other locations in Ontario (click "localities")
Event Planning – other locations in Canada (click province, then "localities")
Special Event Mgt. Programs at Canadian Universities & Colleges

Mainstream Event Calendars
Guides & Directories – Toronto, Ontario (2)
Guides & Directories – Ottawa, Ontario
Ontario, Canada Event Listings
Ontario (click "guides & directories" or choose a "locality" or area of interest)
Canada (try "guides & directories", "society & culture", "travel & tourism", "recreation & sports", etc.)

(4) Promoting an event – tips & links

First, if your event is in Canada, post it to the People & Planet Calendar.

Send a fax to any newspapers, newsletters & magazines that carry community events. In Toronto, be sure to fax Now Magazine. Deadline is 5pm the Thursday preceding the Thursday of publication. Follow up with a phone call to both the "7 Days" events & the "Grassroots" columns. listings@nowtoronto.com www.nowtoronto.com (to view the current listings, click on "listings", and scroll down to "7 Days Daily Events". See also: www.eye.net
Links to many other Alternative Media & Websites in Canada & U.S.A.
Links to Mainstream Media – see section (12) Other Media Guides
An Ontario Media List is available from the Sustainability Network. Another media list is available from the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice.

Find out which radio & TV stations do public service announcements (PSA's) or community event announcements. Ask around for a recent "media list" to obtain more contacts. If your event is newsworthy (big name speaker; controversial topic; catchy gimmick), also contact news departments. (see the links above for media lists/directories).

Find out if there are any e-mail lists and on-line calendars for people sharing your interests. Ask around at relevant groups and organizations. For a list of e-mail lists and web-calendars, see our directory of Progressive Event Calendars and Alternative Media & Networking Guide. For links to many groups and organizations (that might have e-mail lists or otherwise have ideas about how to promote your event) see the People & Planet Directory.

Poster the neighbourhood(s) near where the event is occurring: churches, schools, libraries, bookstores, health food stores, cafes, laundromats, offices of related organizations.

Don't forget to list your event on the People & Planet Calendar. It will help to promote your event as well as your group and your campaign or issue. It can also help reduce date conflicts and attract media attention, with enough advance notice.

Peter Blanchard (contact)

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