Developing Your Event
Welcoming Week hosts build bridges through events that bring people of different backgrounds to work on a shared activity. Use the following steps to help guide the development and execution of your event.
Start by listening. Ask residents: What are the needs you are hearing from your community? What is being identified as a need and an avenue? Remember to also ask what types of barriers or gaps feel enlarged and what types of projects feel relevant.
Example: If kids and parents express fear about going back to school because of the pandemic, consider building an outdoor classroom for students or finding a place on campus to paint a community mural about their hopes for the school year. If food insecurity or a lack of family-friendly activities is brought to light, consider planting a fall crop in a community garden.
2. Identify and engage partners
Before you go deep into the process, identify partners to help create and host the event. Partners should bring expertise to the event and help recruit diverse attendees. If your event relies on bringing together people from different backgrounds who typically may not interact, you may need to recruit multiple partners who can inform the logistics and also ensure diverse turnout.
Example: if you are hosting a community gardening project, ask the Master Gardener program of your county to be a partner. If your event is to register people to vote, partner with the local chapter of the political parties to create a bipartisan voter registration drive.
Below is a useful chart to get started:
|Expressed Community Need
|Welcoming Week Event Idea
3. Establish clear goals for your event
Once your partners have been identified, define the purpose of your event. If you are working with multiple partners, it’s likely that several goals will be identified. Verbalizing those among the event planners will be critical to ensuring success and sustained collaboration for future efforts.
4. Plan your event
As you work toward launching your event, use the Welcoming Week planning checklist to make sure you’re ready. Have a clear plan for engaging a diverse range of people to participate in the event, while taking into consideration the safety guidelines for virtual events. Use the event checklist to review logistical keys and ensure goals are met.
5. Plan for sustained change after conclusion of event
Solo events can be impactful, but events that bring people together over longer periods of time are often more effective. You’ll want to analyze whether there are opportunities to convene participants after the event has concluded, and if so, take proper steps to sustain the interaction. If sustained interaction is identified as a goal, partners should determine organizational roles and set safety parameters to ensure the emotional and physical safety of participants ahead of time.