A party is not a Party. Are you gathering to dance, or to win?
Whether you're holding a rally or a progressive social gathering, your #1 mission must be organising the people who show up.
It's a lot of work to get all those people in one place, but if they don't DO anything afterward, so what? You just taught them that gathering together doesn't solve or produce anything. Or you made them believe that the purpose of gathering is to have a party, and that, magically, just gathering will solve their problems because "They" will understand and take action (whoever "They" are).
So figure out your S.M.A.R.T.* goals as early as possible, long before game day. Once you know WHAT you hope those people will do, and HOW MANY of must act to be effective, you can figure out HOW you will measure whatever they do. That's the only way to know if you're successful. Realistic goals about productivity followed by stats!
And your goals must include building the power and vision of participants to improve themselves and their communities in tangible, measurable ways. So on game day, what reading lists, podcast lists, and video lists do you have available and online? What books do you have for sale?
What sign-up sheets for which upcoming actions have you got handy and online? How, over time, will you teach them to create, refine, and test their own SMART goals and build sustainable and accountable organisations and alliances?
How are you asking and tracking what attendees think is most important to do and how to achieve it? When their goals fall outside your mission but are aligned with its values, what organisations can you refer them to?
In other words, how will you personally (and as a group) avoid teaching them to believe that rallies + gatherings ALONE are sufficient to create solutions and dazzling new opportunities?
How will you personally (and as a group) ensure that you don't waste your efforts by drawing people together without ways to mobilise them into short, medium, and long-term training and action? So clarify your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Win.
*S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).