How to Put Together an Info Event or Open House
4-6 Weeks Before: Choose a Location
*Note: This can also be done in a shorter time-frame, 2-3 weeks before the event.
A. Pick a date and time
- Friday and Saturday nights should be avoided. Monday through Thursday at around 6:30 or 7:00pm is usually ideal.
B. Choose a location
- The location should be easily accessible, as most parents and students are not willing to drive more than 30 minutes to attend an event. Some options to consider are:
o Public Libraries
o Community Centers
o Book stores like Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, or Half Price Books
o Libraries/Community Spaces
o Reserve the location 30 minutes prior to event start time to allow for set up and
15–30 minutes after event end time to allow for clean up.
o Take advantage of the facility’s promotional opportunities (e.g. flyers on bulletin
board, info on their calendar).
o Confirm if facility allows food and drink to be brought into the space or if you
require a food/beverage permit.
o Confirm facility’s technical capability. Will you have access to a computer?
C. Invite local returnees, hosted students, host families, natural families, and volunteers to come as extra resources of information. Encourage them to bring anyone potentially interested in learning more! Most people prefer to come with a buddy.
3 Weeks Before: Publicity
- Be sure to post the event on your team’s website and social media pages. Ask your fellow volunteers to share on their personal social media pages too. Here is a guide for Social Media use.
- Ask local schools to help advertise on their website or in their newsletter.
- Seek out free community publications where the event could be listed.
- Invite any leads you already have in the area via email or regular mail.
- Invite teachers and counselors at the schools where you have been building relationships and encourage them to bring interested students.
- Post these flyers and ads in the community. You can also create your own flyer.
- Ask your local high school counseling center and front office if the school can hang the flyers on bulletin boards around the school.
D. SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Ask counselors/teachers if you could get the event information read or posted during the school announcements. For sample school announcements and emails, click here.
E. PRESS RELEASE
- Send a press release to the local newspapers 1.5 weeks prior to the event.
You can customize the information above based upon what you’ll be offering at your AFS Information Event.
2 Weeks Before: Confirm Venue and Gather Materials
- Call the venue to confirm that staff are aware of the event.
- Print AFS materials by visiting the Field Hub or order them through the AFS Merchandise page.
- Create any additional materials you may need using DesignShop.
1 Week Before: Confirm Participants
- Confirm volunteer, natural parent, and returnee participants via e-mail or phone.
- Purchase refreshments as the venue allows.
The Night Of The Event
- Arrive at facility early enough so you’re not setting up when people start arriving.
- Double-check that the site personnel are aware of the event in case people call or ask when they should arrive.
- Have the location well-marked with pre-made signs.
- Whenever possible, volunteers and helpers should meet for approximately 15 to 20 minutes prior to get acquainted and discuss the event.
- Have a sign-in sheet or tablet ready and visible to ensure that all attendees sign in. Task one of the helpers to encourage everyone to sign in.
Within 3 Days After
- Make a copy of all participant/attendee names and contact information for your records. Any new leads to AFS should be recorded in our database; your TDS can assist.
- Be sure each participant/attendee receives a thank you for attending and ask attendees if they have any follow up questions. Encourage interested students to start their journey at www.afsusa.org.