What is it?
A community meeting is a place where you can bring people together, meet, plan and act.
There are many different types of communities. One can be geographical – so it is organised based on your location. This might be a local community group engaged on a local project. Another type of community can be based on identity – for example the LGBTIQ community. A further type is one based on interests.
Whatever type you are working with, all communities are a group of people that care about each other and feel they belong together, and/or share a goal.
How do you do it?
Before you start, ask yourself why people might want to come to your community meeting. Is it to meet like-minded people? To network? Or to plan a specific action? Make sure you are clear what the meeting is about – you don’t want people to arrive to what they think is a networking event when you are instead planning a campaign stunt.
Once you are clear what your meeting is about, consider the following:
- Who is coming to the meeting? Is the group representative of the community you are trying to engage in? If not, consider slowing down this process and having more 1-1s before organising your community meeting. Having a representative group is important to have from the start.
- What are their access needs? Ensure you ask people if they have any access needs such as disability or cultural sensitivities, so you can properly plan for this, in a physical meeting or online.
- How would you like people to feel in the meeting? And what would you like them to get out of it? Think about an agenda, ask people who are coming for their opinions, be flexible and ready to change.
Why and when should you use it?
A community meeting would usually take place after you have had initial one-to-ones with people you want to work with. It is a great tool for people to feel the power of being part of a collective, make decisions together and plan action.
Works best in combination with:
This works best after listening campaigns and one-to-ones, and as a tool to decide what other actions the group may want to take on together.