How to organise RLC Gatherings

This is a checklist based on those used to organise previous RLC gatherings. It has been amended over time, and will no doubt continue to be amended by each organising committee depending on needs at the time. In order to cover as many bases as possible, the checklist is long and there is some overlap, and some items are dependent on circumstances e.g. facilities at the chosen venue. Feel free to copy, edit and use for your own meetings and events.

Please let us know if we’ve missed anything obvious and we’ll add it to the list. This document is always a work in progress.

While this is meant as a checklist to copy and use, there is explanatory text here and there, such as:
Typically at the end of a gathering, the attendees discuss possible dates and locations for the next gathering, and people may even volunteer for the organising committee. This would then go out to the mailing list.

DECIDE A DATE
Tools such as Framadate can be used to gauge availability, or the organising committee can choose a suitable date.

CHOOSE A VENUE
Once a town/city has been decided, then look for a venue – see this list of radical spaces for ideas.

PROMOTION
When the venue and date are set, spread the word! The admin committee will help with promotion on Twitter and Facebook.
– EventBrite (see below) including emails to attendees
– Twitter
– Facebook
– Mailing list
– Discuss where else you can promote locally

EVENTBRITE PAGE
G
et the login details from admin committee. Information on the event page should include:
– Text about RLC and the purpose of the event
– The number of tickets
– Times
– Location
– Links to:
– Event page on RLC website
– RLC website itself
– Donation page
– Venue page
– Contact: email, Twitter, Facebook

Make a private draft – get feedback – update if necessary – go live and share the link.

From the admin interface, you can send out emails to all registered attendees with various bits of information (previous years’ events are viewable, with examples of emails sent)

WEBSITE
The admin committee can create page(s) using information provided by the organising committee.
Create a page for this event and start to put all the info on there, e.g:
– Timetable with start and finish times as well as sessions (can be amended up to and including on the day)
– Pre-event social – drinks/food
– Post-event social – drinks/food
– Creche/childcare?
– Local info:
– Nearest bus/train stops
– Nearby accommodation
– Lift sharing
– Accessibility info for the venue
– Any other useful information

PITCHES
Put information on the event page and in emails and tweets going out. The event page on the RLC website can have comments enabled for pitches in advance.

THINGS TO DECIDE
Timetable – how many concurrent sessions, how long they will be etc.
– Chair/facilitator(s) – for introduction, plenary, and for each session.
– What else?

Usually we say people can pitch without leading a session – people from organising committee should be prepared to lead a session if so.

THINGS TO FIND OUT
– Times we can access the venue and when we have to leave (possible set up evening before)
– Venue capacity (On EventBrite, release more tickets than maximum space – there are always dropouts)
– Facilities
– Can we make tea/coffee?
– Are there cups/spoons etc we can use?
– Can we serve food?
– How many rooms and how many seats?
– Is there wifi?
– Are there plenty of plugs?
– Will we need to clean up?

LUNCH
If lunch is part of the day, will it be bring & share or catered?

THINGS TO BRING (depending on replies to above questions)
Previously the organising committee has bought/provided such items, without reimbursement (because donations have just covered venue hire and e.g. lunch when catered) but funds in the bank account could cover this, once venue hire is paid.

  • Tea / coffee
  • Milk / plant-based milk
  • Cups & spoons
  • Napkins
  • Plates and cutlery
  • Extension cords
  • Paper & pens for note taking
  • Blu-tack and flipcharts/large pieces of paper
  • Post-it notes
  • Cleaning products
  • Paper towels
  • What else?

DONATIONS
Link to the donate page on the EventBrite page, in EventBrite emails, even on Twitter, with an explanatory text about covering costs e.g. any excess goes to future meetings/costs of running RLC.

ATTENDANCE
In Bradford and London, 60 people signed up and 40-45 turned up on the day, and this pattern continued for the Huddersfield and Brighton meet-ups.. In the reminder emails, ask people to cancel if they could no longer make it (and there will always be no-shows).

FOLLOW-UP
Get volunteers to:
– Take notes during sessions
– Gather the notes taken on the day to do something with, e.g. make a zine, or scan and upload them to the event page on the RLC website
– Follow-up/do/remind about actions decided during the gathering
– Do a write-up for the journal or the blog