Module 3:

Training community workers and leaders

Dealing with logistics for your workshop

Planning an in-person legal information workshop demands good organizational skills, and workshops cannot be put together at the last minute. Here are some tips to help you plan your workshop.

Three to four months before

Start planning well in advance

  • Pick a date!

    • Send out a “save the date” notice by email (and social media, if appropriate) as soon as possible
  • Create a distribution plan (email list or MailChimp) and keep track of any announcements and notifications that get sent out
  • Pick someone in your organization to take the lead on planning the workshop – that person will:

    • line up your facilitator, legal content expert or experts, and any other speakers as soon as possible
    • ask them to send their biographical information and headshots (if you will need these for your packages)

Three months before

Pick the location for your workshop

  • Focus on finding the best location you can afford within your budget. Questions to ask:

    • Is it easy to get to by transit and vehicle?
    • Does it have natural light? Is it accessible? Is the room the right size for the number of participants you expect?
    • Does it have WiFi? A screen and projector? Someone on staff who can provide technical support?
    • Can tables and chairs be easily moved around to create breakout groups OR are there break-out rooms available at the venue?
    • Does the venue require that you get food and beverages from them? If so, is this an affordable option?
  • Schedule times for sending out registration information, reminders, paper free options such as WiFi connections, and an agenda

Two to three months before

Start publicizing the workshop and signing participants up well in advance

  • Create text for emails to promote the workshop or other materials
  • Designate one person to keep track of registrations

    • This can be done by email, or through a free event planning service such as Eventbrite
  • Make sure to canvass the people who register for information about any accommodation or special dietary needs

    • Make sure to share information about any travel subsidies (if your organization is able to offer them)
    • Create an end date for the registration period – aim for 3 weeks before the workshop date
    • Plan to keep a waiting list in case your workshop is oversubscribed
  • Be ready to respond to enquiries – and make sure that other people in the organization who get enquiries forward them to the person handling the registrations

Three weeks before

Book the caterer for your workshop (if offering food)

  • If you wish to and are able to go with an outside caterer, check to make sure that the caterer you want can deal with special dietary needs (allergies, religion-based dietary needs)
  • Make sure that the caterer can be flexible if you have participants who sign up in the week before the workshop

Two weeks before

Prepare the agenda and materials for the workshop well in advance

  • Ideally, send out the agenda and any materials to the participants at least one week before the workshop

    • Make sure the agenda and materials include bios for any presenters
    • If you have picked a hashtag for the event, send the hashtag with the packages

Order the supplies you need to put together conference packages

  • Some supplies to make sure you have are:

    • name tags
    • flipchart paper
    • dry erase markers for whiteboards
    • markers
    • sticky notes
    • pens for participant packages
    • extra pens to have on hand
    • scratch paper for participant packages
    • folders to use for participant materials
  • if you plan to distribute promotional or informational materials produced by your organization, make sure you have enough copies on hand

Design the evaluation survey

  • Create a paper survey form to take to the training

    • You can consider following up as well with an online survey, but our experience has been that people are less likely to fill in online surveys

One week before

Visit the conference venue for a walk-around

  • Make a plan for how you want the seating to be arranged – ask the venue to arrange this if possible
    • Double-check to make sure that you have full information about audio-visual equipment that is available, WiFi passwords, and other facilities
      • Ask about the venue’s WiFi capability – what is the backup plan if WiFi fails?

      Prepare hard copies of participant packages

      • Include a copy of the evaluation form – and make sure to bring extra hard copies to the venue

      Two days before

      Check your computer and any audiovisual equipment to make sure everything is working

      • If using audiovisual equipment supplied by the venue, call the venue to confirm what you need and make sure it’s there

      Put together any hard supplies you will be taking to the venue

      • Examples include:

        • flip chart and markers
        • participant packages
        • pens
        • nametags
        • scratch paper
        • promotional materials from your organization
        • reimbursement requests for travel (if you are reimbursing people)

      Call the caterer to confirm final numbers for food and beverages

      • Make sure the caterer knows what time your breaks and meals are
      • Make sure the caterer has access to the space or knows how to get in touch with you if they can’t get into the building

      Get thank-you cards and presenter gifts (if you’re giving them)

      One day before

      • Breathe!

        • You are organized for the workshop and ready to go
        • Double-check emails for any last minute issues/ requests
        • Get a good night’s sleep
        • Plan to get to the venue at least one hour in advance