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How to put on a great workshop

The Abundance Foundation wants to work with YOU to create fantastic and stimulating workshops focusing on local food, renewable energy and community.  We are having success with the following formula, and this is typically how the workshop is planned and executed. If you have ideas and suggestions for us, we would also be very interested. We always want to improve the process.

Planning and Marketing takes about 6 weeks to prepare. Step one is setting the date so that there is enough time to get the word out.

Instructor Responsibilities:

  • Instructor is responsible to help spread the word. (Email friends, colleagues, send out press releases, information on listservs etc)
  • Instructor prepares and researches materials for the workshop attendees…. some power point (or not), and some hands-on experience. ****Discussion of a good presentation is helpful…we love the Pecha Kucha format….all photos, no words…please do not read power points to the attendees….good way to put them to sleep and never have them return! 🙂
  • People’s attention span is usually about 45 minutes before they want a bathroom break and a different medium, so we like to break it up, some lecture/power point and some exploring or building depending on the topic.
  • Instructor is responsible for bringing materials to the workshop. We encourage not using too many handouts and sending out word docs or loading information on our website, rather than printing on a lot of paper.
  • Instructor is asked to help clean up and put away tables, chairs etc.

Abundance responsibilities:

  • 6 weeks ahead of date:  Work with instructor, guide, educator on the topic and basic outline of workshop.
    Set a cost for the workshop.
    Prepare the flier, build the web site, create google checkout and registration spreadsheets.
    Send out information to the abundance listserv along with other lists and help to get fliers into the community.
    Registering attendees and collecting money including credit cards, cash and checks. We keep track of registrations, payments and lunch orders.
  • Week of workshop:  Contact registrants with directions and reminders about lunch and things they should wear or bring.  Preparing space, cleaning, etc.
  • Day of Workshop:  Abundance Volunteer makes locally roasted, organic coffee and tea (hot or iced as weather dictates). Everyone meets in the community kitchen at the Plant and gets nametags and coffee and checks in.
    Abundance has a cabinet of “tchotche” for sale… educational books, tshirts, locally made soap etc.  Abundance hands attendees a questionnaire to fill out.


We host workshops on the weekends because the workshop space is shared by others who need it during the week.

Workshop with Lunch – 10am – 2pm
9:30am – 10:15am :: People arrive, meet & greet
10:15am – 11:00am :: Introduction, initial presentation/discussion
11:00am – 11:10am :: Bathroom break – Transition
11:10am – 12:00pm :: Hands on or other moving activity
12:00pm – 12:45pm :: Lunch
12:45pm – 1:45pm :: Hands on -or- presentation/discussion
1:45pm – 2:00pm :: Wrap up and Surveys

Workshop without Lunch 1pm-4.30pm
12:30pm – 1:15pm :: People arrive, meet & greet
1:15pm – 2:00pm :: Introduction, initial presentation/discussion
2:00pm – 2:15pm :: Bathroom break – Transition
2:15pm – 3:00pm :: Hands on or other moving activity
3:00pm – 3:15pm :: Bathroom Break
3:15pm – 4:15pm :: Hands on -or- presentation/discussion
4:15pm – 4:30pm :: Wrap up and Surveys

Abundance and Instructor/Organization divide the income 50/50 after taking out any expenses.

After we decide on a workshop topic and pick a date and time, we’ll need the following information:

  • Name of the workshop
  • Registration fee and whether or not you wish to offer an early bird discount
  • A description of the workshop and information about the instructor
  • Photographs of instructor and the activity if possible
  • Age limit?
  • Minimum and maximum number of students
  • Pricing information
  • List of things the registrants should bring to the workshop
  • Instructor’s mailing address
  • Sandwich choice if you choose the workshop with lunch and don’t prefer to bring your own

Here is an example of a workshop page (with google checkout buy button removed) we’ll create and use for marketing: aquaponics workshop

Let’s go educate!