Start preliminary planning at least six weeks in advance. Pick a date and time, then stick with it.
- Movie/talk combo
- Game night
- Locavore Potluck and Info Night
- Any combo of the above
The best/easiest format for getting the most info out there and provide a platform for discussion is the movie/talk/food of some sort combo.
No matter what you end up doing, showing at least a short film is great for setting the stage without requiring you to be a great public speaker. It’s far easier on you if it’s more of a Q&A thing than you having to prepare a presentation. Decide if you want to have a short movie and long talk or vice versa? Want to serve drinks only, snacks or a dinner or nothing? Do you want to provide the food or have it potluck?
Pick a home that has a larger room for a group and/or a private lawn.
Make signs and fliers if it’s more of a public house party instead of family/friends/acquaintances (see section below “Getting The Word Out”)
Schedule a local volunteer meeting a week or so later in case you have folks who attend who want to do more and keep their volunteer momentum going.
What film do you want to show? Check out our resources page here
Getting The Word Out
Decide if you want to only invite friends, the public or a combo.
Invite via emails, posting on Facebook, creat an event on Facebook, post events page on the website and the coalition website, your local pages, paper party invite or any combo of all of them. If you are doing a public house party, put up fliers at your favorite local haunts.
An online invitation service is E-Vite http://new.evite.com/#home
To create paper invitations to print out, two of many options if you google “invitation template”
If you like to be a bit fancier, you can create a spiffy invitation card for online using photoshop or another program, then post it to Facebook or use it in your emails.
-For electronic invites: Send out notices at one month, two weeks, three days before the event, then the day before the event to remind folks. Post at least once a week on Facebook if you use it. Asking for rsvp’s helps, but actual attendance never ends up being what the rsvps indicate.
-For in person: Give or send the invite at least three weeks (a month is better) in advance to give folks time to make space in their calendars. If you put up fliers, check the venues once a week to make sure they are still there as they usually aren’t.
What to include on the invite:
- Date and time
- Type of event (talk, movie, both, ???)
- If food is provided or it’s a potluck
- Any notes: bring a chair?, parking instructions, kids invited?, etc.
Sample Flier for a movie (in this case, The Future Of Food). If you use it, all you have to do is fill in the when and where portions. You can edit this to suit your needs or create an entirely different one as suits you.
Choose a film or a few short films. Find out some ideas on our resource page.
Are you going to Speak?
If you are showing a full length film, it’s best not to overload your guests. Just have about 15 minutes to answer questions and let them know how they can get involved, other events, etc.
If you are doing shorter clips, it might be fun to invite folks in your community to speak about the areas that they short film covers. Or if you feel comfortable with the topic, just do it yourself. Communities need speakers and leaders. It’s a great way to practice and build confidence.
If you feel comfortable speaking about this more, then figure out your spiel at least a week in advance to let it simmer for you through the week.
Always remind folks that the food system will change faster if everyone is spreading the word and acting. Invite them to have a House Party of their own, which you are happy to help out with the first time. Ask for them to volunteer in other ways. If you have meetings, be sure to have the date of your next one lined up and invite them to attend.
If you are Serving Food
Pick try to have as much local food as you can. If you can’t do local, then the next step is to buy from your local natural food store and let everyone know where you got the ingredients/finished products. If you serve packaged foods, be sure to get NonGMO verified or USDA organic products so you can read labels.
If you want to ask the attendees for help to defray the costs of serving food you can gently ask for donations to help you out. Most will contribute something, even if only $1.
If you are doing a locavore potluck, ask folks to identify the local products and where they got them from (ie what farm/garden) on a card so everyone can see that they can buy locally.
Figure out the menu at least a week in advance so as to not make it a pain the afternoon before you do the event. Do yourself a favor and get the stuff a day or so in advance so you aren’t scrambling a half hour before folks show up. Make this as easy as possible for yourself.
What to do the day of:
If you are using your computer to watch the film, you’ll have to have either a TV that you can hook it up to OR get a screen and projector. (Figure this out at least a week in advance so you aren’t scrambling.) Test whatever system you want to use to make sure you have plenty of time to fix any glitches.
Be sure to have an info table set up so folks can take stuff with them to learn more or find out about more events
Put out signs at driveway if you are hard to find (make them the week before). Be sure to have signups sheets for folks who want to learn more or volunteer. If you have scheduled a volunteer meeting for a week or so later, be sure to have a generic, simple half or quarter page flier to give folks as a reminder.
If you want to increase your base or local group, have signup sheets out so you can capture folks’ emails and put them in your database.
After the event-
Be sure to contact folks who want to volunteer to keep their enthusiastic momentum flowing
Assess what worked and what didn’t for your next house party and to help your volunteers do their own
If you want to do an event to raise money for The Good Food Brigade, thank you very much!! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know how to proceed and how we can support you!