Thinking about hosting a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau to help educate your campus about mental health? Whether you’ve never hosted an event before or you’re a seasoned planner, here are some tips to help you create a successful, stress-free program that will have deep and long-lasting impact on your community.
1. Secure funding. Know in advance how much money you have to spend, and where it’s coming from. Check with the student activities office, Student Government and the counseling center. They often have grants available to support student-led programs.
You can co-sponsor the event with other organizations–contact Greek Life, Res Life, SGA, the Athletic Department and others to see if they are interested.
2. Decide who you want your audience to be. Is this event for the whole school, or a specific demographic? Who are you trying to reach and what is the message you want to communicate? This will help you decide on which speaker is best for your event.
3. Reserve space in advance. Choose a space that’s the right size for the expected audience (not too big or too small). Make sure the room can accommodate your speaker’s audio/visual requirements. And don’t forget to put your program on the school’s event calendar so everyone can find the information and show up at your speaker’s presentation.
4. Call the Active Minds Speakers Bureau and book your speaker. Consult with the AMSB staff to determine which speaker fits your event profile. Contact AMSB at least 6 weeks in advance of your ideal date. If you already know who you’d like to invite, find out if s/he is available on your event date. Ask about logistical needs, including travel, hotel accommodations, and the kinds of A/V technology required.
5. Fill out your invitation form as completely as possible! The more information you provide in advance, the better prepared your speaker will be to deliver the message you want.
6. Review your contract and invoice right away. Once your speaker is confirmed, you’ll receive your contract documents; make sure the information is accurate, and have the contract signed by your advisor. Send it back to AMSB by the due date.
7. Create a marketing plan based on your target audience. Make flyers, posters, and other promotional materials to advertise your speaker’s appearance. Place them everywhere you can: campus bulletin boards, classrooms, meeting rooms, student housing, the Student Union, local coffee shops, public transportation.
8. Design a Facebook event and invite your contacts and networks. Use social media like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr to share news about your event. E-mail your group’s listserv and listservs for similar organizations that may be interested and willing to collaborate.
9. Enlist others to help. Ask professors to offer extra credit for students’ attendance at your event. Ask Greek Life, athletic departments and other organizations to mandate their members’ attendance, or to offer incentives (e.g. Greek Week Points). Ask your school newspaper or communications office to cover the event and take pictures.
Don’t forget: When you book a speaker, your chapter also receives a credit toward your fundraising goal. Contact the bureau today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-332-9595 ext. 102 to start planning your event.