How to Invite
According to Libraries Transforming Communities, the ideal size for a Community Dialogue is 8-15 people to ensure that you gain enough input while allowing everyone’s voice to be heard. You also want a variety of people in the room so that a varied and rich conversation can take place about STEM in your community. If your final number of attendees is more or less than this target, don’t worry. You’ll still get valuable information! The following tips can also help you reach your target number of participants.
A personalized approach will help increase your chances of recruiting participants. Try to personally invite people and utilize existing partners, library staff, and volunteers. Make sure to provide information about why you are having a dialogue and explain that it’s not an information session, meeting, or focus group, but rather a chance for the community to come together and learn from one another. You can also have informal conversations with individuals to gauge interest and find out when they would be able to attend. Be sure to provide potential invitees with information about your library goals and the need for the Community Dialogue so they understand what they are being invited to. A sample STAR Net Program Summary is included in Appendix A, which you can modify to suit your specific needs.
Directed invitations can also help control numbers and ensure your group is not too large. If you are interested in reaching many stakeholder groups, you should also consider holding multiple dialogues to keep numbers manageable.
Follow-up any initial conversations with formal invitations at least four weeks before the dialogue and send a reminder a day or two before the event. A sample invitation can be found in Appendix B, which you can send along with the Program Summary in Appendix A.