Interested in pulling together local health and community development leaders for a conference in your own community? Below find suggestions and resources for getting started, organizing an agenda, drawing the audience you want, and steps to follow after the event.
We’re glad to hear that you are interested in hosting a Healthy Communities conference! Over 30 Healthy Communities Conferences have been organized by the regional Federal Reserve Banks to help leaders across sectors (community development, public health, finance, health care) explore how they can collaborate more actively to create communities where all people can lead rewarding and healthy lives.
Some initial thoughts to consider:
We’re guessing that in order to host the conference, you have to get buy-in from key stakeholders. We’ve compiled a short list of resources below to help you make the case for cross-sector collaboration.
Investing in What Works for America’s Communities
What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities
What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities, and the Nation
Making the Case for Linking Community Development and Health
Health Affairs: Linking Community Development & Health
Now that you’ve gotten the buy-in, how about co-hosting the conference with at least one other organization outside of your traditional sector? We highly encourage it; this partnership will help you develop opportunities for knowledge sharing and on-the-ground collaboration, as well as engage new audiences.
Previous Healthy Communities conferences and their co-hosts include:
You can also use our Partner Finder – a curated collection of national directories to find the community development and health organizations nearest to you.
As you think about developing the meeting themes, goals, and agenda, draw on previous Healthy Communities conferences for ideas. For example, a meeting co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and HousingWorks Austin focused on Housing + Health. We’ve included several other agendas from past Healthy Communities conferences below.
Speakers & Panelists
Speakers and panelists are largely determined by the conference goals, topics, and audience. Some conferences have emphasized financing or health, while others have focused on urban planning, health, and housing. Most include a mix of nationally recognized and regional speakers. Panels representing a broad set of sectors and perspectives may foster more collaborative discussion.
Healthy Communities conferences have been organized to help leaders across fields explore how they can collaborate more actively to help communities thrive. Getting the right people in the room for these collaborative discussions is critical.
Your goal should be to invite a diverse group of participants who are working across sectors to improve the prosperity and well-being of your community. As you think about who to invite, consider organizations and individuals that fall into these categories:
There a number of online promotion channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) to get the word out about the meeting. Some tips:
You may also consider investing resources in a live webcast of the meeting. There are three immediate benefits:
For the conference, include the Twitter handles of all speakers on slides or a bio page handout so that the audience can tweet during the conference.
Immediately following the conference, a social media tip would be to use Storify which captures the Twitter engagement from the day. Designate one person to tweet and monitor Twitter all day.
Keeping the lines of communication open and following up with conference attendees can help increase awareness, interest, and a desire for different sectors to collaborate. Here are a few suggestions for your next steps:
Send a thank you email with any conference handouts, an attendee list, and any social media summaries (ex: Storify).
Create an evaluation form for participants to fill out at the end of the conference to help guide future events and follow-up activities. Below are evaluation forms from previous conferences:
Think about meetings or webinars on relevant topics that can lead to further action.
Write a post-event blog summarizing the meeting activities and outcomes. This can be posted on your website and shared externally to be posted on partner websites (like the Build Healthy Places Network!).
Create a space for success stories that show outcomes in diverse settings.
Invite conference attendees to submit their own stories of collaboration and progress on community projects.