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Virtual Conference

Planning an Event

Steps for Planning an Event

1.  Brainstorm Event Ideas

To get started, brainstorming what your event looks like can help create the works of a plan, figuring out how to make the event successful, and your main objectives for the event, here are just a few starting point on how to brainstorm, the rest is up to you, there is no wrong way to this, there is only the way that you feel most comfortable with. 


Get a notepad open, maybe a mind map, it can be digital or on paper, or it can even just be a list in your head, talk about it out loud or in silence, whatever works!


  • The what…. This is your event, so what are you going to do? What do you want to present? What are the activities you want to pursue? Generally, go wild with this and try not to limit yourself while still staying within the boundary of what your event can realistically look like. The more ideas you have, the better; this way, you can go back and pick out what you are passionate about making happen, and what is doable in your time frame. You will also need to decide whether you want your event to be virtual or in-person, which will greatly affect the planning you have to do. For instance, hosting an in-person event will require you to find an event venue, while hosting a virtual event will not. 

  • The goal and objectives… To really get a feel for what your event looks like, brainstorm what the goal or objectives of your event are. Are they to create awareness, educate people, engage in discussion, or have a call to action? Your goals and objectives outline why you want people to attend, and the way you can measure if the event was successful and make the impact you wanted it to make. Remember that your event can be tweaked and changed. Your event is a work in progress, and that is okay!

  • The audience… who is your target audience? On a virtual platform, it's easier to reach several demographics but in-person events can be more engaging depending on your audience. Whether your demographic is youth, adults, teachers, or anyone, narrowing it down can help in promotion of your event and deciding where to send out event details. A larger audience is a more helpful one, because you can reach more people.


2. Get a team together


Have you heard of the saying “teamwork makes the dreamwork”? You’ve probably heard this saying, because it really does! Working on your own can make it difficult to orchestrate and plan your event. You don’t need to plan your event alone!  Meeting new people and making connections is a part of your role in the climate movement, so don’t be afraid to get out there and ask people for help in working on your movement! Bring together a team of people who can help you in meaningful ways. This can mean meeting together to plan the event further, and/or designating roles. This is your event, so feel free to take the lead on this at the start in getting everyone together, while making sure every member of your team is heard. Here are some ideas of people who you might want to ask in the event that you are looking for people to join you in your movement:


  • Classmates

  • Member(s) of a club you are part of

  • Friend(s)

  • Family Member(s)

  • Members of an environmental organization you are a part of

  • Member of your community

  • Anyone who you feel comfortable asking

3.  How do you follow through with your event? 


Now, your idea is perfect! Just kidding. Before your event can happen, you need to do a few more things first. Remember earlier where we said it’s okay if you need to tweak your goal? Let’s think about the same idea here: getting your event all flushed out is still a work in progress.  And, since it is still a work in progress, know that it may take you time to get everything done and complete all the tasks you want to finish. Here are some suggestions of things you should do before your event:


  • Create an agenda of the event. Once you have your team together and your event plan, create an agenda of the event that includes time slots, and general titles for each  part of the event. This is helpful for the audience and yourself so you know what is going on. Here is a sample AYLEE members presented at an event titled “Educating for the Future - Building a Sustainable Alberta”:

  • 7:00 - 7:05 Welcome 

  • 7:05 - 7:17 Presentation from AYLEE Members

    • Intro to AYLEE

    • Climate science - Climate Reality Presentation

    • The problem: Lack of environmental education

    • What environmental education means to us

  • 7:17 - 7:20 Intro to breakout room conversations

  • 7:20 - 7:48 Breakout rooms

  • 7:48 - 7:55 Debrief 

  • 7:55 - 8:00 Conclusion

  • Create the mode of platform you would like to use. This can be a formal slideshow presentation (Google Slides or  Powerpoint), video, or speech (Google Docs, cue cards).

  • Find cool animations, pictures, and images, (all from credible sources of course) and give credit where required. This makes your presentation more engaging over boring slides of text. For more information, check out "How to Create an Engaging Presentation".

  • Here is an example of how you should give credit where required:

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  • Have a look at how to provide a meaningful land acknowledgement—this can be hard to do at first, but you will get the hang of it. It can be helpful to reach out to an Indigenous elder and spend time understanding what it is you want to say. Please check out “Reaching out to Indigenous Eldersand “ Making a Land Acknowledgement to learn more!

  • Create a post-survey for feedback after the event. Learn more by seeingEvent Feedback

Photo Credit: ClimateScience 

ClimateScience. (n.d.).

4. Now that you have finalized your event, it’s time to rehearse it:

  • Prepare yourself by running through your script

  • Have a meeting before the event with everyone who is a part of it

  • Check out our tips on public speaking

5. Before the event. Please look at “Event Promotion and Before Event” for a more in-depth guide

  • Send the link to your event attendees before the event (at least a few days before), send a message again closer to the event as a reminder

    • Include the agenda

    • Welcome Message

    • Ways to contact

  • Check that your meeting is made secure, (password, having a list of attendees, host privileges, preventing share screen, etc..)

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6. After the event. Please look at “After Event” and “After Event Feedback” for a more in-depth guide on these topics.

  • After the event share a link to a post-survey (created before the event)

  • Send an email afterward thanking those who attended and prompt them of the next steps of your organization. If you have any calls to action for them, then this is time to share them!

7. Now What? Congratulations! You just got through an event! No matter how it went, be proud of yourself! But, there are just a few more things you must do!

  • Have a meeting to debrief with your team and get the emotions out. How did you feel? What could everyone have done better? What did everyone enjoy the most?

    • This is a great way to bond with your teammate(s), and self reflect on what you accomplished at your environmental event.

  • Before getting back to work, take a break! Feeling burnt out is something we want to avoid! For your mental health, take some time for yourself and have some rest and relaxation. 

  • What are your next steps and the next steps of your organization? And from here, the rest is up to you! Now that you have hosted an event, there is nothing you can’t do!

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