International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011 Event Planning Guide

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1 International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011 Event Planning Guide FINDING PARTNERS Determine who could celebrate IYC with you in your local area. Potential partners include: American Chemical Society groups (see COLLABORATING WITH ACS DURING IYC 2011 ) Teacher organizations (most states have teacher groups as do some large urban areas like Los Angeles) Other scientific organizations (e.g. Sigma Xi, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, American Indian Science and Engineering Society or the American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Specific organizations with a focus related to the ACS IYC outreach themes (environment, energy, materials, and health) Chemistry clubs at local two and four year colleges and universities and high school chemistry or science clubs Local chemical industries and their employees, particularly companies who are members of the American Chemistry Council which is actively participating in IYC The IYC website lists nearly 200 potential contacts within the United States...one may be near you. Approach potential partners with an overview of IYC and the reasons you are hoping to partner. Include how participation in the celebration could benefit them, their members, and/or their community profile. Schedule a brainstorming session with representatives from each partner organization to discuss the potential event or events that will be conducted for IYC and to begin to designate the role each group will play. One may have a large volunteer base and be willing to provide the bulk of the volunteers for the event, or another may have members who conduct hands on activities regularly. SELECTING THE AUDIENCE Determine the audience for the event by discussing all the possibilities along with the preferences and missions of the partner organizations. Perhaps you will choose to do more than one event that focus on different target audiences. Potential community outreach audiences include: the general public students in formal classroom settings or homeschool groups a school assembly underrepresented minorities Boy or Girl Scout troops or other youth groups museum or library patrons publics works departments such as fire departments, police departments policymakers and civic leaders (Rotary Club,

2 Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce) teachers (state or regional science teachers association) parent teacher groups home school associations interest groups (garden clubs, environmental groups, parent groups) media audiences (radio interview, local cable television program, op ed article) communities surrounding chemical companies seniors at an adult day care or nursing home a football (or other sport) crowd CHOOSING THE EVENT(S) This will be a fun task, as the possibilities here are endless. Typical events include hands on activities, chemical demonstration shows, public displays, contests and lectures. A comprehensive list of IYC event suggestions is found in the IYC IDEAS YOU DECIDE! file. Consider what will work best in your particular area. If local parents are big on supplementing the science curriculum, then choose an event that will support that effort. Do not forget that it is possible to join a larger event, for example, if the city has a huge Earth Day celebration you may be able to host a table or chemistry tent as part of it. FINDING THE VENUE The location for your event is limited only by budget and your imagination. Possible venues (that may or may not involve a fee) include: airports amusement parks aquariums auditoriums colleges & universities convention centers gymnasiums hospitals industrial sites libraries malls museums nature centers parking lots parks private homes schools science centers science stores senior citizen centers shopping centers sports facilities television studios theaters train stations utility companies zoos Be sure that your choice makes sense for your target audience. If the mall is the local gathering spot for pre teens and you would like to reach them with your event, choose that as your venue. Speak with someone in charge of your desired location. Determine if there would be a fee. If there is, inquire about a reduction in fee or waiver for the outreach event you are planning. If the cost is prohibitive, look at nearby alternatives. Sometimes it is possible to host a tent event outside an attraction such as a museum without the fee or so that attendees can attend without paying an entrance fee. Establish a main contact person for your event and direct detailed questions to them.

3 SELECTING THE DATE(S) & TIME(S) For any events planned during the school day and/or for school children, the local school calendar will play a major role in finalizing the date and time for your event. It is best to choose a few potential dates and then run them by someone who can let you know if there is testing or a school break that may conflict. This is also worth checking when making deadlines for local contests. Be sure you use a calendar that shows you holidays when selecting the date for your event. A Sunday event might seem perfect, but if you ve chosen Mother s Day there could be a negative effect on attendance. Weekend events for young children should be scheduled with typical meal and nap times in mind. Early afternoon is generally a good time for them. Outdoor events should be planned when the weather in your area is typically nice enough that people will not mind being outside. In some parts of the country there can be stifling heat, afternoon thunderstorms or bitter cold depending on the month. Even in the best time of year, you will want to have either a back up foul weather location or an advertised rain date. PLAN AHEAD Create a reasonable timeline and stick with it. Keep your materials in one place so that you can easily respond to requests for information. Early planning: Recruit planning committee members; designate roles and responsibilities Select and reserve the venue and determine the type of event and target audience Establish a site contact to whom all questions may be directed Schedule regular meetings for the planning committee Solicit contributions (in kind and/or financial) to support your event from companies, foundations and other local organizations Check insurance requirements for the venue Mid planning: Begin promoting the event to the desired audience; if any promotional materials will be printed, create, proofread and print them early Recruit and schedule volunteers If government officials will be involved, establish contact with their offices Select activities and demonstrations or secure lecturers or presenters; assure safety precautions are being taken Make lists of supplies that will be needed prior to and during the event Determine how the event will be conducted will small groups move among tables, will everyone do an activity at the same time and plan supplies and volunteers accordingly Prepare any handouts, certificates and giveaways; order any necessary items Establish contact with media outlets and send an initial press release Visit the site if possible to determine how the event will be set up and go over logistical details with site contact If signs will be needed, make as many in advance as possible

4 Month of the event: Finalize event details and day of lists Double check all safety arrangements Pre package as many materials as possible Follow up with any invited government officials If any fees were involved with the venue, make sure the final payment has been made or is ready to be presented during the event If you have giveaways planned for the event, be sure to clear them with the site contact (stickers, for example may not be allowed for distribution in some locations) Communicate with volunteers, giving specific tasks and information for the event If photos will be taken, have a photo release form signed so that the photos may be legally used after the event (see IYC PHOTO RELEASE FORM_TEMPLATE ) Mail press releases and follow up with media outlets Conduct your event! After the event: Send thank you notes to all volunteers and those involved with the event Tell us about it. a summary to and let us know on the IYC Group within the ACS Network. VOLUNTEERS Volunteers are the backbone of any community outreach event. Determine the number of volunteers that are necessary for your core planning committee as well as the number required to conduct the event. SECURING VOLUNTEERS People are more likely to volunteer when they are asked to do specific jobs rather than filling a come help us request. Develop descriptions of the main volunteer jobs along with well defined time commitments. Examples of volunteer jobs include: Public Relations Coordinator Event Coordinator Volunteer Recruiter Logistics Coordinator Safety Coordinator Refreshment Coordinator Activity Leader Greeter Goodie Bag Distributor Recruiting volunteers may be done through a number of channels: phone calls and s to colleagues announcements made at meetings of partner organizations articles in newsletters and on websites of partner organizations posters/flyers in the chemistry building of local two and four year colleges/universities articles in chemical employers newsletters or magazines, or posters/flyers placed in break rooms phone calls or s to local science teacher organizations new social media like the ACS Network, Facebook, or LinkedIn

5 COMMUNICATING WITH VOLUNTEERS Once volunteers have been found, it is important to keep them informed. Some, like the public relations coordinator, will be part of your main planning team and will need to attend regular meetings. Others, like the greeter, will need to know the basic information (time, date, location) at first, and more details (parking information, report location, any special attire) as the date draws near. lists or phone trees are two ways to keep volunteers up to date. The core planning group should hold face to face meetings whenever possible. In large areas conference calls may prove effective. Be sure that volunteers know how to reach you (or the main event contact person) on the day of the event. RECOGNIZING VOLUNTEERS Show that you value your volunteer support by recognizing those who assisted with your event this makes volunteers feel that their donation of time was valued and increases the chances that they may volunteer at a future event. It is, however, important to ask volunteers how they would like to be recognized; some volunteers will not want to be recognized, others may not be able to receive small gifts. Ways to recognize volunteers include: on the day of the event, thanking volunteers often and enthusiastically for their donation of time and service personalized thank you notes sent after the event certificates of appreciation complimentary letters sent to the volunteers supervisors, CEOs or department heads public recognition in a newspaper article about the event plaques for outstanding contributors to large successful events small thank you gifts presented at the end of the event or at a wrap up meeting FINDING FUNDING ACS offers small grant programs for ACS Local Sections, ACS Technical Divisions, ACS Student Chapters, and ACS High School Chemistry Clubs who are planning IYC 2011 events in their communities. Information on these programs will be available during 4 th quarter 2011 at. A template for a fundraising letter is available IYC 2011 FUNDRAISING_TEMPLATE. MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY Be sure that you are planning activities that have been safety reviewed and/or demonstrations that are done in such a way to keep presenter and audience safe. Be sure to consider the room or area s ventilation, availability of water and sinks, use of goggles during the event (borrowing from a school may be a possibility goggles can be cleaned on an ongoing basis during a hands on event with

6 stations). It is important to model good safety practices, particularly when there are children in the audience, as they will follow your lead. A great document to review is SAFETY RESOURCES FOR IYC There are also detailed resources available from the ACS and the Safety Guidelines for NCW and Community Activities include recommendations for non scientifically equipped facilities (venues such as malls and parks).

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