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Getting Started

Nearly 9 million American youth drink alcohol, illegally and dangerously.

Underage drinking costs communities billions annually

Join in 2016 to:

  • educate your community about underage drinking
  • and learn how to mobilize to take action

Quick Start Guide: 10 Steps for Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event Planning

10 Steps for Town Hall Meeting Planning
  1. Review SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework and assess your community’s need. Consider how you can apply this framework to your Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event. Gather and assess data to ensure that your Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event is designed for your community.

  2. Organize a planning committee. Engage key community stakeholders in planning your event. Consider involving partners from different aspects of the community, including law enforcement, elected officials, youth, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, parent groups, health care professionals, and local colleges and universities.

  3. Define your goals and objectives. Determine what you want to accomplish with your meeting based on your community assessment. Are you creating awareness about an issue? Are you inviting feedback on public policies related to underage drinking? Are you launching a new prevention tool or program?

  4. Obtain your organization’s Form W-9 and Tax ID Number. Before you start your online registration, get your organization’s Federal Tax ID Number (also called an Employer Identification Number) and Form W-9 from your treasurer, fiscal agent, or bank/budget manager. If you do not have a Form W-9, it is available online. Having these items before you start registering will allow you to start and finish the process uninterrupted.

  5. Register online. If you wish to receive a stipend, you must complete your online registration and provide a Form W-9 by using the URL provided in your unique e-mail invitation. Even if you are not applying for a stipend, please register so we can post your meeting on the website and recognize your success.

  6. Determine your event type, day, time, and location. To be effective, Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event venues can be anywhere a community gathers—they do not need to be limited to auditoriums or community centers. Some organizations hold events online in a webinar format or partner with local television stations. Decide which Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event setting and format will best help meet your objectives. Read past success stories for ideas.

  7. Promote your event. There are many tips and resources for promoting your event on the Town Hall Meetings website. Resources include a flyer, presentation template, proclamation, news release, certificate of appreciation, social media content, and tips and tools for working with the news media. All are downloadable and customizable.

  8. Conduct and evaluate your event. How well did you deliver your Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking event, and how successful was it in achieving your desired outcomes? Who participated? Read more about evaluation in SAMHSA’s Strategic Planning Framework and on the Town Hall Meetings website.

  9. Tell us about your event. We want to know what worked and share it with others! All organizers will receive an e-mail survey following their event. Some participating organizations may also be asked to collect and submit a participants’ survey. Please complete and submit these to us as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after your event. We also ask you to answer brief questions in your online organizer’s profile to share the success of your event. Upload flyers, pictures, news clips, and more to share your success in the online portal. You can also share event photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #CommunitiesTalk.

  10. Keep the momentum going! SAMHSA encourages community-based organizations and colleges and universities to hold Town Hall Meetings every year. Seeking alternate support for events in non-stipend years can be another opportunity to involve local businesses and other groups in your underage drinking prevention efforts. Keep the momentum going by developing and implementing a solution-focused plan for underage drinking prevention in your community. Use #CommunitiesTalk to share what you are doing year-round on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.