Form the team
Using the methods in this toolkit will require coordination and collaboration across many stakeholder groups. Forming a team and defining the roles and responsibilities for each team member will help you successfully plan for and execute on your objectives.
Your team should have three arms:
- The facilitation team. Two or three people, including a lead facilitator, a co-facilitator and a support person who are in charge of planning and facilitating sessions with the community.
- The core team. Three to six people, who are responsible for executing day-to-day tasks, and likely include some members of the facilitation team. Roles include project lead, project manager, community advocate, implementers and community liaisons.
- The extended team. Other people responsible for securing resources, removing barriers, eliciting engagement, making key decisions or providing expert guidance.
Build a project plan
Before you put any session, conversion or workshop on the calendar, you should create a high level plan for the project with your team. This high level plan can be used to help you track your progress. Decide when you will regroup to report back on progress, collaborate, and define next steps that:
- Set the wheels in motion to achieve the end goal of the project
- Are owned and championed by individuals with the support of teams
- Are measurable
- Can be realistically achieved within the set timeframe
One way of capturing your plan is using a Gantt chart. These are visual plans that project managers use to list the key activities and milestones of a project over time.
Once you have a project plan in place, you can prepare for workshops with community members. A lot of work must happen before, during and after a workshop in order to maximize its impact.
Documentation during the workshop
Anything that gets produced from your sessions will likely become an input for another activity. Therefore, be clear on what will be produced, by when, who will receive it, and how it will be used.
Assign someone the responsibility for storing, saving and displaying the documentation. This may include creating a shared digital folder using Google Drive, Sharepoint or another accessible shared storage option. If you are unfamiliar with shared folders, more information can be found in the Google Drive Help Center.
Be sure to name and organize files and folders accurately. Include the name and date of the session when saving your documents.
Keeping momentum after the session ends
Next steps and follow up. At the end of your session, you should let participants know what happens next, even if they don’t have an active role in future activities.
Debrief. Immediately after wrapping up, it is very helpful to debrief with your core team members. This debrief may touch on items such as key insights from the session, who keeps what was produced, what went well and what could be done differently. You can also schedule a debrief with your sponsor(s) and key decision makers to share any key insights and discuss their impact on your project outcome.
Refer to the Roles and Expectations PDF guide for more detailed instructions and additional tips on how to plan and facilitate a successful group session in your community.