Events are a great way to educate a large group of people and bring stakeholders together to talk about an issue. When properly organized, events can raise awareness for an issue, myth bust confusing aspects of the the refugee rights regime, bring antagonized groups together, and sometimes, raise funds for your organization (though this is not the primary purpose of your policy advocacy work)! Increasingly, many NGOs have been planning events around World Refugee Day on June 20 to raise public awareness on refugee rights.

  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Organizing Events
  • Great way to educate a large group of people
  • Great way to bring stakeholders together
  • Events require a lot of time and money
  • May be hard to get your desired stakeholders together in the same room

Events often require so much time and effort that people mistake them for an end in and of themselves. In order to prevent this, repeatedly consider:

  • Who needs to present in order for this to be advocacy that contributes to my bottom line?
  • What speakers are most likely to attract the kinds of audiences that will help my advocacy agenda?

Plan your event around your intended target audience.

Case study

Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) wanted to educate the United States Congress about the experiences of urban refugees globally. Their goal was to inform Congress about the plight of urban refugees globally in order to increase the number of urban refugees who can apply for resettlement to the United States. To do this, they facilitated a full-day event, invited relevant congressional office staff, and chose keynote speakers who would attract the right participants.

Events are only as effective as the publicity that surrounds them. The guide written by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is a helpful resource in developing your communications plan for your event.

Further resources: