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Things to Consider When Hosting an Inclusive Event

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Jenny Bragiel with a Loudoun County Board Member welcoming members of the Turkish Community to an open house.

Many organizations are striving to break into different community groups. This frequently will involve an event to help organization members build relationships and make connections with the community group. Here are some things to think about if you are hosting an event to build relationships with new groups of people in your community.

Marketing the Event

When creating marketing materials for an event with non-native English speakers consider placing some of the information in the native language of the group as well as in English. If you need assistance with the translation, try reaching out to an organization for that group such as a temple, mosque, or association.

For the event, you may also want to partner with a trusted organization such as a religious organization or association for the group you are inviting. By placing the logo of the trusted organization on the flyer it lets the community know that this event will be welcoming to them and can make them feel safer in attending. The organization can also help you push out your event to the community helping improve attendance at the event.

Food at the Event

When hosting an event, it is common to have food at it. Whether you are just having light refreshments or something more substantial there are a few things to consider. The first is dietary limitations. Some groups may eat pork but not beef, others may be vegetarians, others may eat beef but not pork. It is important you do your research on the group and learn their dietary restrictions. This is something you can Google or ask your point of contact or a contact with the community to learn more about their dietary restrictions. Also keep in mind that at certain times they may have restrictions on when they can eat based on religious or cultural holidays or beliefs. This may influence if you offer food or when you hold your event.

Another thing to keep in mind with food for your event, is be prepared to answer questions about the food. You may be asked if it is kosher or halal or even about how it was prepared. By being prepared to answer these questions you show the community group that you thought about them and their needs. This act can go a long way in building connections and getting people to open up to you and your organization.

The final thing to consider with food is if you need to separate it from other food you ordered. For instance, some vegetarians cannot eat the vegetarian option if it has touched meat or has been prepared with meat. Asking for your vegetarian or other special dietary options to be plated separately, can help make the option inclusive and ensure that it can be enjoyed by the individuals you ordered it for.

Photos of the Event

In the United States, a general practice is to avoid photos of children unless approved by their parent or guardian but adult photos at an event are ok to use and post. This may not be true for some of your community groups. Some people may be escaping bad situations or unrest in their birth country. These individuals may be uncomfortable or even afraid to have their photo posted to social media. Check with a leader in the community or ask your point of contact what photos are ok. If you do not have a contact, ask the individual before you take their photo if it is ok for your organization to use it. This sensitivity can help make these community members feel safe and encourage them to get more involved with you.

Speeches and Presentations

A small gesture that goes a long way is incorporating the community group’s native language into your speech or presentation. Try learning their word for hello or welcome and use it when you greet community members. If you are presenting to them adding a couple of their words into your presentation can help engage them and keep them interested. This shows an effort and a level of interest and care in them. It goes a long way in helping break down walls and barriers between the group and you or your organization.

The above tips or things that someone hosting an event to build new connections with different groups may not consider, but by incorporating them into your next event they can help break down walls and barriers allowing for new connections to be created.

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