Reflections on how we can make unconferences a bit more inclusive.
Gang, let’s talk about unconferences. Because I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings.
First, if you’ve never heard of an unconference, let’s start there. An unconference is a “participant-led” learning experience. The main difference from a regular conference is that there’s no pre-set agenda.
Yep, you read me correctly.
There’s no agenda, until you show up to make it. The idea is that the audience –the people who this whole thing is designed to benefit– put forth the topics they want to discuss. Hence, the “un”.
Events are the double-edged sword of the nonprofit world.
On the one hand, they bring people into the fold of your org’s work. I’ve seen a student move a room of 500 people to give. I myself have bawled listening to an ED talk about kids using karate to cope with cancer.
So yeah. There’s no denying that events are a powerful engagement mechanism. But that doesn’t make them easy.