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Planning for Your Town Hall Meeting

Planning is critical to the success of any event - the way an event is designed helps it achieve its objectives, or sometimes miss the mark. Performing an assessment prior to planning the meeting will guide Town Hall Meeting organizers in identifying priority issues around underage drinking in the community that should be addressed during the event. Determining meeting logistics, speakers, and ways to achieve those meeting objectives are next steps.

Event Timing

Planning the timing of your Town Hall Meeting is a crucial piece to maximize its appeal and attendance, and will help you in marketing your meeting to get maximum media exposure. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) encourages organizers to hold their events any time of the year, mostly between March and May, as there are a number of corresponding awareness events, observances, and peak times for underage drinking prevention:

  • Alcohol Awareness Month in April;
  • SAMHSA's National Prevention Week in May; and
  • High months of alcohol use initiation by children under age 18 occur in June and July.

Building on national observances helps build momentum around a national dialogue about prevention. Appealing to parents and other influential adults during times of higher risk of alcohol use and consequences (e.g., spring break, prom, and beach week) increases the sense of urgency in addressing these problems.

Planning Tools

The following free materials can help you organize essential details and host an effective, smooth-running event:

The following resources can provide useful data and local information when planning your meeting and identifying priority issues in your community.

Next, read about Promoting Your Town Hall Meeting.