Hosting a successful placemaking event requires a clear mission to guide your activity. Start by identifying who in your community you would like to see become engaged in the voter process and make it a goal to target this population..
Once you have a community in mind, the next step is to figure out which voting precinct[s] best capture this population.
It is best to identify when you would want to host the event and work backwards from that date to decide what is accomplishable logistically. Nothing motivates people more than knowing that a clock is tick-tick-ticking away toward a certain deadline.
Once you have identified your target community for the event, it is time to move toward engaging local partners, either groups or individuals, to assist in organizing, providing resources, funding, advertising, or staffing the event. The more partners you can gain, the better.
Consider reaching out to elected officials, such as your local council office, for additional support.
Many big retail companies where you might get your placemaking supplies, such as Costco and Home Depot, may offer in-kind donations if approached at least a month early before your event.
Budgets will vary depending on the size of the event, the permitting fees, and the financial capacity of the host. Financial resources for the budget can also come from a variety of places such as donations, sponsorships, and grants.
Obtaining a public event permit can seem daunting and maybe even unnecessary, but in actuality, it’s a manageable process if you work ahead of time. Taking the time to get a permit can lead to less conflict in the future, trust us.
Once the foundation for your placemaking event – the date, place, people, and permitting – is set, you can begin thinking about the event in a more detailed, party-planning way. Don’t forget to consider a theme and programming to draw people in and keep them entertained. Don’t worry because we got you covered with bunch of PMTV tools you can use to activate your space. Check out the online PMTV toolkit here!
Visit your location prior to your event. Depending on the type and size of your location, it can determine what PMTV tools you select.
Games with movable components (eg: miniature golf) will require a supervisor to keep track of the game pieces and ensure that participants are playing safety. This means games that require throwing, like basketball and frisbee, are located at a safe distance away from crowded areas and paths of travel.
Don’t go at this alone! Ask your friends, family, and fellow members of the community to help you plan for the event. The more help that you have, the easier it will be on yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out to members of local organizations, neighborhood associations, schools, religious institutions, and political representatives to get the best volunteers you can get. Also, make sure you have clearly defined roles for your volunteers.
Train your volunteers. Send all your volunteers to poll worker training and work with your elections official to schedule training sessions.
o Develop and distribute a list of emergency numbers to be used on Election Day. This should include phone numbers for site operators, organization staff, elections officials staff, etc.
It’s time to get the word out! Outreach involves the creation of public awareness for your event. There are many ways to go about building awareness for your event, from flyers to social media to face-to-face contact. Flyers are the classic attention-getter in urban locales, and a well-designed flyer can catch many eyes if placed in a spot with high foot traffic.
Social media can also be a valuable resource for outreach, with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor allowing easy re-posting of your event’s information to other people’s social media feeds. However, face-to-face contact can generate a word-of-mouth buzz and is perhaps the most valuable kind of outreach as it denotes that the community is genuinely interested in your efforts. Whatever form your outreach takes, make sure to promote the programming activities and spread the word.
Promote the event about two to four weeks in advance. Don’t forget to come up with a fun and unique social media hashtag so you can monitor the buzz of your event.
Neighborhood groups and associations are a great way to get the word out about your event the old-fashioned way.
Make sure you visit the surrounding businesses and residences before the event so that they know what to expect that day and maybe help spread the word too!
The big day is finally here! All the planning and hard work is about to pay off. In track and field, they teach runners to run through the tape, to keep hustling until you’re past the finish line, and that same attitude should apply to your team during the event. The event’s organizers should be prepared to arrive at the event site a few hours in advance for preparation. Ensure that any necessary deliveries or drop off of materials be done during this pre-event work time, so that the whole thing is ready to go when you open it up to the public.
Ask staff at your event location if you are able to setup the day before, this will save hours on set up and help eliminate any unpredictable mishaps.
Have event staff introduce themselves to each other and to the poll workers in person.
Make sure every person involved has two things: the event map and the schedule of activities.
At least one person should be available full-time to manage the site and handle emergencies and issues that may arise.
Congratulations! Your event is winding down, and now it is time for everyone to exhale and reflect back on the effort. Ask your elections official for data such as turnout statistics for prior elections, voter registration statistics, and list of polling place locations.
Make sure you thank your volunteers, partners, and all those that have helped make the event possible.
Create a database of all emails and contact information of interested people during the event. Send out follow up emails/newsletters to share the outcomes from this amazing day.
Work with your elections official to send a thank you letter/card to the poll workers who worked at the polling place.