Indigitous # event hosting guide
So you want to host an Indigitous # event?
Great! Keep reading. This document is so we can walk with you as you go through the process of making this happen where you are.
What is Indigitous?
If you’re planning on hosting an Indigitous # event, you probably already know the answer to this question – Indigitous is a movement passionate about using digital strategies to connect people to Jesus. So if you’re a coder, a designer, a writer, a techie, an artist, a strategist, a missionary … anyone who is passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies, then Indigitous is made up of people just like you.
What is Indigitous #?
What would it look like if you could get all the people in your city who are passionate about using digital strategies to connect people to Jesus together for a day? What if you could get 50, or even just 20 of them? Imagine yourself looking around the room with these people – Who’s there? What are they doing? What are they learning? What are they creating together? This is the vision of Indigitous # (pronounced “Indigitous hash“), that you would be able to gather these people from your city, or from your church, or your personal network to connect and learn and create together.
We’ve created a roadmap to help you realize that vision of gathering those people together for a day of focusing together on using digital strategies for the gospel. Maybe you’ve already got your solutions to some of these steps mapped out – that’s great! No one knows your local context and the solutions that fit that context better than you. But for those times when you need to consult a map, or figure out where the path lies – we hope that this document can help you.
freestyle: noun /ˈfriː.staɪl/ a sports competition where each member can use any style or method they choose
off-piste: adjective, adverb /ˌɒfˈpiːst/ refers to skiing on areas of snow that have not been specifically prepared for skiiing on.
So let’s get started …
GO! Prayer | The host’s toolbox | Determining your audience | #Create or #Learn
TEAM Connect with the Indigitous Global Team | Choosing Your Team | Org chart
VENUE Choosing a date or venue | Registration | Practical Needs
MARKETING Word of mouth | Social media | Indigitous channels
BUDGET Cut big ticket items | Limit variable costs | sample budget
PROGRAM Core | #Learn | #Create
SPEAKERS Keynote Speakers | Live-Learning Speakers
PROJECTS Getting your projects
FOLLOW-UP Recording and Reporting | After the conference
FINISH! Download the whole guide
Indigitous is a spiritual movement and we are acutely aware of the important role prayer plays in the planning and running of a conference. Rarely does everything run smoothly in the planning of a conference, and Indigitous conferences rely on two of the most unpredictable elements of any venture – technology and people. Entrust all of these to His care, so that He may oversee all of the work we do in enabling this conference to run smoothly. Ensure that your entire team is relying on God’s power to bring about His purposes in this conference instead of your own talents and experience. Remember that the most important outcome of the conference is what God does, and that we are simply making ourselves available to be used by Him. Do not be discouraged by setbacks or difficulties. God can use the most unexpected or unwanted situations to bring about His purposes.
The host’s toolbox
We have a folder of useful files for you to use. Check them out
Determining your audience
One of the very first steps in planning your conference is determining who your target audience will be. Maybe you want to target all of the digital practitioners in your city or country? Maybe you want to run an event mainly targeting the people in your church? Maybe you want to focus on a particular slice of society, such as an industry like film or designers, or maybe you want to target students or a particular interest group. This is also the time to think about whether you want a particular theme for this conference (eg “mobile” or “discipleship”). A theme is not necessary but it can help a lot in focusing your conference.
#Create or #Learn
Now that you know the audience you want to target for the conference, the next step is to decide which of the two flavours of Indigitous # you want to run. You can choose to run an Indigitous #Create conference which will allocate most of the time on creative projects making use of the skills that your attendees will bring. Or you can run an Indigitous #Learn conference which will allocate most of the time to learning from current digital practitioners how they are using digital strategies to connect people to Jesus. In making this decision you will need to think about what sort of people you expect to come to the conference, and what their needs are, and also the abilities and resources available to you and your team running the conference.
Connect with the Indigitous global team
We want to help you be as successful as possible as you plan this conference. So once you know who you’re aiming your conference for, we’d like to be in the loop as early in the process as possible so we can help you be as successful as possible. We can put you in touch with other like-minded people who you may be able to collaborate with in putting on the conference. We can help you find resources, and we can help you be prepared to avoid potential pitfalls, and to be ready to overcome obstacles that will surface during the planning process.
Choosing your team
The next step is choosing your team. You want to choose people who share the same vision that you have to run this event to bring people who are passionate about using digital strategies to connect people to Jesus and can bring important skills to your team to run this event. Let’s have a look at the team members you will need.
This person is responsible for determining the detail of the program. They will be the person who will be contacting any speakers or sponsors/stakeholders for projects.
This person is responsible for getting the word out about the conference in the target audience
Conferencing & Production
This person is responsible for the logistics of the conference, including booking the venue, organizing meal arrangements, ensuring there is appropriate internet connection, managing equipment needs and those running equipment (eg video) during the conference, etc
This person is responsible for setting the budget, collecting registration fees, scholarships, and anything else money-related.
And finally, you .. the Conference Director.
It is your job to help all of these people to work together to bring your vision to reality. You will probably need to have at least a basic understanding of each of your team member’s goals, and responsibilities.
It is possible for one person to fulfil more than one of these roles on the team. We would recommend that one person has no more than two of these roles if possible
Now that you have your team selected you want to get everyone together to start planning your conference. If you can come together in one physical place then that is best, but if not you can have these meetings on an online platform such as Skype or a Google Hangout. Our Indigitous global team will provide someone who is available to coach you and your team through this process, most likely in an online capacity.
Choosing a date and venue
Now you have your target audience and team all sorted, it’s time to start to decide on some practical details, like where and when. You will need at least two months preparation time (check out a sample timeline for conference preparation), so start looking for potential dates at least that far out. In choosing a date, you want to be aware of what other events will be in your target audience’s calendar. You don’t want a large segment of your target audience to miss out because of a simple clash of dates. So check out church events, popular Christian speakers or concerts, and also events on the tech or creatives calendar. You may not be able to find a date that is completely clear of possible clashes, but you can at least try to minimise them.
For a venue, you want a place that has a suitably sized room for the main meeting area. You also want the venue to be easily found and accessible to your target audience. Remember that this is a digital event, so many delegates will have more than one internet-capable device. Make sure the venue has the internet capacity for what you need, or plan to provide your own. If you are running a #Create event, make sure there are breakout areas for the project teams to do their work. Churches and community halls can be good venues for an Indigitous # event. If you have a good relationship with the venue host, then it will make a lot of things much easier as you plan and run the conference.
Think about how you want your delegates to register for the conference. You can use an online platform such as EventCore to manage your registrations. Think about how many in your target audience are likely to register ahead of time, and how many will simply “walk-in”. You may want to set early-bird discounts to encourage early registration so you can proceed in your planning with more assurance of attendance numbers
Practical needs for the conference venue
Size, Layout and Furniture
A good size for an Indigitous # conference is 30-50. Check out your venue to make sure it is large enough for everyone to be comfortably seated and to see the stage and screen. It is preferable to have seating around tables instead of in rows as this better facilitates discussions and encourages interaction between delegates. Simple tablecloths can do wonders for the ambience even if the tables are old or oddly-shaped or sized.
The two main technological needs you must be concerned about regarding the venue are internet and electricity. You may need to bring your own wifi access point to supply internet for the conference. This is worth paying for if the venue cannot provide it as internet access adds so much value to an Indigitous conference. Work on an expected capacity of two devices for every delegate. Make sure there are ample charging stations for laptops and mobile devices around the room. We all know that our devices rarely last the day when when we use them often. If you are running a #Create conference, make sure that any breakout rooms for the project teams also have these facilities available to them. You can check out the internet guidelines for the Indigitous Classic conferences – you may not need everything there, but the principles are still important.
You will need a data projector and sound system for your conference. Make sure they are connected so that your videos have sound. If speakers have presentations, make sure they show correctly before the conference starts. You will also need microphones for your speakers.
You will need an MC. This person should be a good communicator who is able to hold people’s attention and communicate clearly what is going to happen next as well as controlling the energy of the room. You will also need 1-2 people controlling the AV. The best setup is to have one person controlling the sound system and another controlling the video/presentations. If you do not have 2 people, you may be able to have one person run the desk if you let speakers control their own presentations. If possible, it would be great if you can record any live talks (Keynotes or Live-Learning) at your conference. It would be great to add these to our library so that other conferences can make use of them. You may also need a timekeeper to help keep speakers and everyone to schedule. You will also need 1-2 people to run the check-in for the conference. (You can use a tool like EventXtra to assist you in this.)
Word of mouth:
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. The first and best thing you can do to promote your conference is to tell the people you know about it. Tell people at your church, donors, friends, colleagues, associates from other ministries – and get the rest of your team doing the same. Also, encourage delegates to do the same – remind them of the value of letting their friends, colleagues, etc know about the conference. Maybe you might want to consider offering discounts to people who refer others to the conference.
Social media is a great way to let your friends know about the conference. Encourage every delegate to publish their attendance on social media. Open an Event on Facebook so people can sign in, and also invite their friends to come. Often, it will take several friends indicating attendance at an Event to pique someone’s curiosity.
Make sure your event is promoted on the Indigitous.org website and Facebook page. We have thousands of subscribers from around the world, and there may be some in your city who will hear about your event for the first time this way.
There may be specific networks, such as church or industry networks that you can use to promote the conference. Make sure that you follow the network’s guidelines (some may be quite strict about using the network for advertising) as you promote the conference.
Make digital banners and videos to invite people to the conference. Images usually are the most visible posts on Facebook and other social networks, so a simple well-designed banner letting people know where, when and how to join the conference is very effective. Video testimonies of previous delegates, or from speakers at the conference can also be very effective. If you have people with the skills available, a short promotional video could be well worth the effort. The Indigitous logos and fonts are available for you to freely use, however make sure that you follow the Indigitous branding guidelines whenever you use the Indigitous name or logo.
You can run promotions during the registration period, such as early bird discounts, or referral discounts. You may also consider offering scholarships for prospective delegates that may not be able to afford the conference.
Consider how much your target audience is able to pay.
What are your fixed and variable costs?
Cut out big ticket items:
For an Indigitous # conference, because the conference is a single day, there are no costs for hotels. Visiting speakers can be very expensive when flights and honoraria are included. If you have a high quality visiting speaker who is willing to pay their own way, then by all means include them. If you are needing to subsidise their travel or accommodation, or give them more than a token honorarium then the Indigitous # budget will probably not support them.
Limit variable costs:
Meals and swag are other items that can greatly expand a conference’s budget. Consider the possibility of having delegates arrange their own lunch and weigh up the benefits of that versus any drawbacks of perhaps having more difficulty have a clean start back after lunch. Contact us to see what swag may be available from surplus from other conferences.
We have a sample budget and a template for your own budget to help you plan.
We can provide you with a basic promotional package, including a pull-up banner and some posters for free. We can arrange for premium promotional packages for you at a cost.
It is important to ensure that the trademark guidelines of the Indigitous name and logo are followed.
The following section of the program is part of all Indigitous # conferences. It roughly takes up the morning part of the program.
The purpose of the Unplugged time is to orient the delegates toward God and to remind everyone that God’s Kingdom will not be built through our talent and creativity, but instead can only be built as a work of his Spirit. It could be a devotional message or a creative devotional activity.
The Why Indigitous? message by Ken Cochrum is a key component of any Indigitous conference to align delegates to the purpose and goals of Indigitous.
The Keynote is a message from a leader in the field who has particular expertise or experience that would be of interest to the audience. It could be a live speaker, or a video from our library of Indigitous Keynote messages.
Live Learning Talks
15 minute talks from digital practitioners who are learning themselves. They are designed to help people who may be on similar paths or at similar places in making use of digital strategies. These could be live speakers or videos from our Indigitous Live Learning library.
After three Live Learning talks, have a time when the delegates can connect with the speakers to ask questions. If videos were shown instead of live speakers, use this time for round-table discussion on lessons learnt from the sessions.
You can use this time to enable people to make connections that are useful for their further work and collaboration. This could be done informally or formally.
A time for general Q&A. You could have a panel with questions from the floor
At the end of the conference, take some time for the delegates to discuss in small groups how they can apply any lessons they have learnt from the day in their context.
One of the important facets to the projects running successfully is having a clear understanding of what needs to be done and making a plan for who will do what to reach that objective. This time is so each project team can gain a clear understanding of what their project involves.
The teams could move straight into working on the projects from the Orientations if you want and just let them take lunch while they are working on the project. Many coders like to work that way, and ordering in food while they’re working could be a great way to help them get more work done on the day.
There are a variety of different types of projects that teams could do. At Indigitous conferences in the past year we have had projects developing apps, web tools, campaigns, making videos, designing strategies. We are working on creating a repository of live projects that need to be worked on. We encourage you to use this as an opportunity to solve problems in your local context. The best size for project team is 6-10. Less than this and the work is too much for the team, More than this and some team members end up sitting on the sidelines.
The goal is that every team would have work to show and tell at the end of the day. Realistically, the products at the end of the day may not be the final polished product, but we want every project to “ship”, and even if it a bit buggy, or needs another edit, or is missing a desired feature or two, every team should be able to present what they have done. You could even have prizes available for the best work if you have these resources. This should be an encouraging time when everyone can share the work they have done in making things that are going to help people connect with Jesus.
Make sure all of your speakers sign a Speaker Waiver Form. There is a Master copy of this form in the Hosting Kit. You will need to enter the location and date of your Indigitous # event before you send it to them to sign.
Getting your Keynote Speaker
The message from the Keynote speaker will be the main message that your delegates hear at the conference.With this in mind, you want to choose your Keynote speaker carefully. You want to make sure their message is aligned with the theme of the conference (if you have one). Most Keynote speakers would expect an honorarium – make sure to include this in the budget. If possible, avoid having Keynote speakers from out of town, as the travel and hotel costs are likely to be too much of a burden on the budget. You want your Keynote speaker to be someone your target audience has either already heard of, or can recognize the work that they have done. Indigitous has a library of recorded messages from previous Keynote speakers that are available for you to use freely.
Getting Your Live-Learning Speakers
The Live-Learning talks are each only 15 minutes. Their purpose is to allow current digital practitioners to share their stories and their journeys of how God is using them to connect people to Jesus using digital strategies, or the lessons God is giving them in using digital strategies, or growing in this area. These spots are good opportunities for you to give your peers and delegates opportunities to speak. If you know of any that have good stories to share that would benefit the whole conference, then contact them and ask them to present a Live-Learning talk. We also have a growing library of live-learning talks from around the world. In preparing the speakers for the live-learning, you want to emphasise the importance of having a well-scripted and timed talk. The margins for time in this section really are very fine. Sometimes the shortness of the time can be deceiving, but every second counts so preparation is extra important for the speakers.
Getting Your Projects
The projects are often the most exciting part of the conference for many attendees. They are often challenging to put together though for several reasons. You need to match worthy projects that can be accomplished in the time frame with the skills of the delegates.
Worthy projects: You want to source projects that are actually going to be of value – that will build things that people will actually use after the conference. Some ideas for projects could be to do some coding or programming work to bring an already started project to completion, or to do a significant upgrade on an aspect of it; it could be to make some content to be used in digital strategies, such as a short film, an evangelistic website, a training guide, etc; it could be to develop a strategy for new area or aspect in digital ministry.
Can be accomplished in the time frame: Unfortunately there’s not going to be enough time in an Indigitous # conference to develop the next Halo, or even the next Angry Birds. Whatever idea you have, you will only have about 4 hours work to bring it together. This will mean that the parameters of the project will need to be crystal clear – you don’t want the team spending half their time figuring out what they are supposed to do. It will also mean that some worthy projects will simply be too big to be included. In these cases, ask if the work can be broken down into smaller projects – it may be possible for an important component of a larger project to fit into the time frame of an Indigitous project where the overall project would not. If you are not able to bring the project to 80% completion it will likely be discouraging for the delegates, instead of inspiring – you want their take-home message to be “Look what we did!”, not “We didn’t have time to do what we wanted.” Remember that a team of 12 won’t necessarily get twice as much done as a team of 6 as the bigger the team gets, the more likely that people will sit on the sidelines as they are either not able to contribute, or they are waiting on others to finish tasks before they can start working.
Skills of the delegates: Don’t have any coders? Then you are probably not going to get anywhere on a project developing a mobile app. Don’t have any filmmakers? Then you are probably not going to be able to make a short film. Try to gauge what skills your delegates bring as they register (you can actually ask them in the registration process if you use a tool like Eventcore) and match their skills as best as you can to the projects you offer. Also, don’t forget to remind them to bring any tools they need for their projects (computer, camera, etc).
You may have some projects within your team that you have already identified that you want to do during this conference. Some of your delegates may also have projects that they would like to be a part of the conference. You can also offer for organizations or churches to sponsor projects that could be included. Outside sponsors or stakeholders for projects are great, but make sure that everyone (you, sponsors, project teams) is clear on the parameters of the project. Check out our project library (under development).
Recording and Reporting the conference
If possible we would like every Keynote and Live-Learning session recorded on video. If you have high quality sound and video gear available then you can use that, but a smartphone can also do a very good job these days. (If possible use a tripod or monopod – shaky-cam can look great on action movies, not so great on talks and presentations.) Also make sure you take plenty of photos of the conference.
You can make use of the #indigitous hashtag and please send updates, quotes and highlights to the @indigitous twitter account and www.facebook.com/indigitous community page so everyone in the Indigitous global community can know what you are doing. You can also use tools like storify.com to help publish the activity of your conference. We would love to help let the rest of our community know about the exciting things you are doing, including posting a report of the conference on the Indigitous blog. And if you know of other channels we can use to help spread the word, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help you be successful as you run your conference.
After the conference
Indigitous is a movement, not simply an event, so we want to make sure that each event run under the Indigitous name helps us move our community towards better using digital strategies to connect people to Jesus. Ask every delegate to fill out a short survey at the end of the conference to find out how their experience of the conference – highlights and points of improvement – was. We would also like to have a short debrief with your conference team (this could be a meeting, a call, or a survey) so that we can improve how we can help people like you to run Indigitous events.
Lastly, make sure all the loose ends at the end of the conference get tied up. If you ran a #create conference, some of the projects probably need some finishing touches, or have further action points. Any Keynote or Live-Learning talks will need to be sent to us so that we can add them to our library. Make sure all of the budget items are finalised and paid so the budget can be closed. And don’t forget to send a short email to all of the delegates thanking them for taking part, and encouraging them to take the next step to make our Indigitous vision a reality in their context.