Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Planning Timel ine

This section provides details regarding tasks and timeframes. We suggest you review it as a whole and then determine who will be responsible for what and by when. It can take 7-10 months to plan the forum. See Figure 6 for a summary of tasks based on pre, during, and post forum timeframes. Tool 5: A Planning Timeline and Checklist can be found in the Tools section of this how-to guide.

Figure 6 – Timeline for Planning and Implementing Your Forum

Pre-planning takes about 1-2 months and includes securing funding, working to identify your team, conducting a literature review to ground the content and better understand the issue, and identifying local connections. You will want to develop a short background document for sharing with the team and key informants. You’ll begin by developing your key informant questionnaire and/or your focus group questions. You can use either (or both) techniques to collect information for naming and framing the issue and recommendations for when, where and how to hold the forum. You may also want to collect information about groups and individuals to talk with during the planning phase and/or to invite to your forum(s). Sample questions can be found in Appendices 10 and 11 . Before conducting the interviews you may need to submit your questions and data collection and processing protocol through your university’s Internal Review Board. Allow sufficient time for the process to be completed. During pre-planning, a budget needs to be created. Determining a budget will be influenced by the method you’ll use to conduct the forum— face-to-face or virtual/online. To provide some guidance, please see “Tool 4: Forum Budget Planning Template” in the Tools section of this document. Planning the forum can take 6-8 months. The forum planning committee will need to determine what type of forum (educational, engagement or community action) you will be doing. The planning committee will most likely need to meet at least monthly to develop the forum agenda and activities; determine the venue/platform; identify and confirm speakers; develop the PowerPoint presentations, case studies and other resources; and determine which techniques you will use to achieve the intended outcomes. See Tool 6: Suggested Progression of and Agenda Items for Planning Committee Meetings .

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