Interested in hosting On the Table conversations in your community? Here are six easy steps to help get you started:

1. Make a plan

Once you’ve decided to host On the Table conversations, it’s time to start planning. Ask:

  • What you hope to achieve through the conversations – mark a moment? Solve a problem? Build community?
  • When will the conversations be held?
  • What are your budget and resource needs? Both monetary and staffing?

We’ve developed a notional timeline and budget considerations to jump-start your thinking.

2. Communicate your intent

Why is hosting these conversations important to your community? Create the tools that will communicate the need and make a case for On the Table in your community. Before launching publicly, we recommend developing a core set of messages to help introduce On the Table to in a clear, simple and compelling way that inspires participation. This template fact sheet can be customized for your community.

3. Recruit hosts

Start by engaging your existing partners and then expand to include community champions that can help you reach others whose voices may not always be heard – this form can help your team brainstorm key organizations and individuals in your community to get involved. You can customize this host guide to help participants plan for and lead their discussions.

4. Spread the word

Beyond direct outreach to recruit hosts, engage local news outlets (to participate as hosts as well as cover) and spread the word on social media.

5. Listen and engage

This is the fun part! Host and participate in conversations, track conversations on social media using a hashtag to expand your ability to hear from your community.

6. Learning from your community

Many communities have conducted research among On the Table participants to identify common themes and concerns, as well as assess how participation in the conversations can influence civic engagement moving forward.

Watch the On the Table 101 webinar to learn more, and be sure to Join the Network for access to editable templates, inspiration from communities across the country, opportunity to connect with others who have planned and implemented On the Table, and more.

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