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Table of Contents:
- Confirm event date and time
- Set up event website
- Announce event
- Create a budget and raise funds
- Create event agenda
- Promote event
- Pre-event logistical preparations
- Host your event
- After your event
Congratulations, you’ve been approved to host an OpenCon satellite event! Please read this guide carefully to follow the workflow we’ve set up for organizing events. Following these steps allows you to host a successful event, but also allows us to be on the same page as you throughout the process, so we can provide appropriate support along the way. Please read the guide carefully.
We recognize that satellite hosts will come with a variety of experience levels in organizing events. Because we believe anyone should be able to host an event, this resource kit guide is also intended to cover basic information on putting together a meetup/conference for those who have little to no experience getting these resources together.
Step 1: Confirm a date and time (and if possible, venue) for your event
Check with your organizing team (if you have one) and choose a day and time that works best for your event. You will need to make sure that the venue you choose is free on the date that you choose. It’s okay if you can’t find a venue right away; sometimes it takes a few weeks to a location that works with your schedule. Move onto the next steps while you search for a venue.
Tips on finding a Venue: Most of our satellite hosts find venues that allow them to hold their event in the space for free, for the day. If you are affiliated with an institution (university, research centre, library), see if they will lend you a room, lecture hall, or auditorium for the day.
Letter of Support: If you need to generate a letter of support for your event, you can do so online using this letter generator.
Step 2: Set up your website
We’ll build you powerful, high-quality webpages to use. We’ll provide you with a well-designed website template, all you have to do is fill in the details. These websites are important because they let you:
Advertise your event,
Give logistical information about your event (including maps),
Get sign-ups for your event, on Facebook and your event page,
Create mobile apps,
Even if not 100% of the details are confirmed, this is extremely helpful for us to list on our site as soon as it is possible - so others in your region know that there is a satellite event happening in their community.
To provide this functionality we’re using Nationbuilder. NationBuilder builds the web pages, and allows you to manage attendees. It's simple to use, and you won’t need any coding skills to use it.
Creating your Webpage
To start to set up your webpage, complete this form. You may need to make a Nationbuilder account first. You’ll need to know what date and time you’d like your event. You’ll be asked your venue too, if you don’t know this yet, simply enter “To Be Confirmed”. All these details can be changed later.
You’ll now have a public webpage, however it won’t be linked to the OpenCon Satellite Event Directory yet. Check for an email from us, and within a few days, we’ll link your page to the main directory and map of upcoming satellite events. Note, if you do not yet have an exact location/address confirmed, your event will not be listed on the map.
- OPTIONAL: Let us know when your website is set up, and we can help you set up a Facebook event from the global OpenCon page. We will then link this to your webpage, so that RSVPs on the Facebook event and website event are synced.
** NOTE: In addition to helping you get the word out, your event webpage on Nationbuilder is something that is really helpful for us, here on the OpenCon end. It helps us keep track of the dates that each event is happening on, so we can provide appropriate support for upcoming events. Please don’t leave it until the last minute.
Editing event details on Nationbuilder:
Make sure you are signed in on the OpenCon website.
Go to your event page
Scroll down, and hit the “Edit this event” button on the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page (Figure 1)
Edit your event details, and make sure you hit “save and update”
- If you need to edit any additional details that you cannot access, please get in touch with the satellite event coordinator at Joe(at)sparcopen.org
Figure 1. How to access the edit event page using the Nationbuilder platform.
Make your host profile on Nationbuilder:
Make sure you are signed in on the OpenCon website
Scroll down until you can see the “Settings” button on the right hand sidebar of your web page (Figure 2)
This should lead you to a page (Figure 3) where you can change your name, e-mail, and more
On the page, make sure “Don’t publish my profile on the website” is NOT ticked.
You can edit your event page bio under the “Short bio” field.
Make sure you hit “Save” after you’ve edited all the required details.
Figure 2. Hit the settings page on the right sidebar to edit your profile.
Figure 3. Screen view when editing your host profile page.
Accessing a list of names & emails of your event RSVPs:
If you require a list of names and e-mails of those who have RSVPed to your event, currently it's easiest just to email the satellite event coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a spreadsheet of names and e-mails.
Step 3: Announce your event
Make sure people RSVP to your event by spreading the word about it! The resources toolkit folder will have:
Sample announcement/ invitation email template text
- Templates for social media (Figure 4) and poster promotion (Figure 5).
Using the templates, your promotional materials will look something like this:
Figure 5. Sample poster advertisement for satellite event
Since these resources are shared by all satellite hosts and serve as basic templates, you’ll need to make a copy of the file to edit in your own google drive. If you’re feeling creative, you can also use Canva to design your event posters, which is a user-friendly graphic design program that does not require extensive design knowledge to use.
When advertising on Facebook and social media, you can also just use the customized logo images we have provided to you to promote your event. Simple can sometimes be better!
How to use the publicity resources provided
At the resources page you’ll find a number of resources that are useful in planning and executing your event. To use most of the resources you’ll need your logo which you will receive in your satellite event logo pack (this is emailed to you).
To use the posters, name badges, direction signs etc you’ll need to edit the Google documents provided.
Make sure you are logged into a Google account. Create a copy of the file in your own google drive (File -> Make a copy). In the COPY, Replace ‘event name’ with the confirmed event name of your event
Replace header logo with your “square” logo provided in your logos google drive folder.
Customize text and edit the details that are specific to your own satellite event, as needed.
- To save: File -> Download as .PNG (or .JPG) current slide
If something isn’t clear, please email Joe[at]sparcopen[dot]org
Step 4: Create a budget, and if necessary, raise funds to support your event.
At this time we can’t directly support satellite event grants, however we can provide limited support and advice in fundraising. Most event hosts are able to cover their own costs, or incur very minimal costs. We've provided some tips on creating a budget, keeping your event low-cost, and securing sponsorships here.
Step 5: Design your program and event agenda
What will your event be about, and what will participants be doing? The format for satellite events are flexible, and in the past, hosts have invited speakers, streamed online video content, hosted workshops, hackathons, and more!
It’s important to make sure your event has an agenda early so people know what happen! To help you put together a great agenda we’ve created a number of resources for you:
- Videos from previous OpenCon conferences - which you can use in your event now
If you're using Sched put your agenda on your website, please follow this guide.
Step 6: Promote your Event
On Social Media:
We strongly encourage you to not create new Facebook pages (except events) and Twitter accounts for your events. These are likely to not acquire many followers, and then require upkeep in order to look professional. We recommend you post on Facebook and Twitter using your personal and existing organizational accounts.
Using the official conference hashtag “#OpenCon” will enable people to find your event, and for us to see your posts and retweet them. We recommend you don’t give your event a separate hashtag, except under a very limited set of circumstances. If you think you may want another hashtag, please get in touch.
If you intend to do a regular meet up after your event, to may be useful to set up new accounts, but this is the only time we recommend it.
Via email, to the OpenCon community:
The satellite event coordinator can also email those in the OpenCon database listed as in your country about your event. Please let Joe(at)sparcopen.org know if you are interested in this option. You will need to draft a short email message about your event for her to circulate.
On Campus: We've created posters, leaflets and more for promotion on campus. We recommend you do this early!
Step 7: Pre-event logistical preparations
Follow up & confirm with speakers and/or workshop leaders
Order any food, snacks or refreshments you may need for the event (optional)
Print conference badges, direction signs, banners and/or any conference “swag” (by no means necessary, but some hosts like to do these things if their budget allows).
Send a reminder to your RSVPs a few days before the event with any information they need to know. Accessing a list of your RSVP’ed attendees on Nationbuilder: It’s easiest just to email the satellite event coordinator (email@example.com) for a spreadsheet of names and e-mails who have RSVPed to your event.
Step 8: Do your event
During your event, please remember to do two things:
Take some photos of your event - they don’t need to be amazing!
Read this message at the start of the event
You can also consider livestreaming your event, if you want to reach a broader audience! You'll need a steady internet connection, and either a laptop or phone to record your event. Instructions on how to broadcast your event can be found here.
Otherwise, good luck!
Step 9: After your event
We don’t want to ask you to fill in large numbers of forms, or do too much admin as part of hosting these events. However, we do need to confirm if your event happens and some simple details about it.
If you didn’t do it during your event, distribute feedback survey to participants: If you would like us to generate the certificates and e-mail them to participants, then we encourage you to let people know that filling out this feedback survey will allow them to get a certificate of participation (it gives us their name and email address so we can get it to them). This feedback allows us to improve the satellite program for future years.
Complete satellite event report: The form for giving us feedback on how your event went can be accessed here. Once you do this, we’ll email you an official certificate to recognise you held an event.
Send us photos of your event: Please do feel free to have some fun with this. You can take a photo of your audience while on stage, or even a “selfie” of you and your audience. The easiest way to share your photos is to upload them to a publically accessible location (e.g our Flickr group) or the Google Drive we provided and send us the link in the reporting form.
Think about the long-term sustainability and impact of your event. Invite satellite event participants to regular meet-ups.
While planning your event, please don’t forget the following guidelines:
What to do if you have to cancel your event
Simply, tell anyone who’s signed up to your event. Then, tell us! It’s vital you do this as otherwise, we can’t shut down your page.