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Pre-event Activities: Getting Started


Your commitment to unorganize a KinkForAll must be made publicly by indicating your interest on your event's local KinkForAll wiki page (if one exists; if it doesn't, you should create a local KinkForAll wiki page), and by joining the mailing list and introducing yourself along with your intention to unorganize. From there, the best way to begin building your event is to reach out to your own community. To put it another way, talk the talk and walk the walk.


Unorganizers are expected to proactively coordinate their efforts with other people and are self-selected leaders—if you do not have the time to do this, despite your best intentions, then do not list yourself as an unorganizer (you don't lose points for this and you can still help out in other ways). KinkForAll participants are encouraged to blog, tweet, email, post handbills, distribute flyers, and use every channel available to them to spread word of the event. As an unorganizer, always lead by example: use all your own outlets (whatever they are) as a resource.


Although it is absolutely vital that KinkForAll remain a cross-community event, leveraging your own connections to create an initial flow of interest will help your event to gain traction. However, you must quickly turn your own resources to engaging those outside of your immediate circle, as it is these people—not your immediate circle—who will require most of your attention.


Creating Local KinkForAll Wiki Pages


To start planning for a local KinkForAll, you're encouraged to use the infrastructure provided by this wiki. Every KinkForAll event should have a homepage in the form of KinkForAllLocation, where "Location" is replaced by the name of the locale (without spaces). There are a number of templates available from which you can copy that can give you a good starting point. For more information about wiki conventions and available templates, please see UsingTheKinkForAllWiki.


Listing a Local KinkForAll on the Front Page


The FrontPage of this wiki has a definitive list of all upcoming KinkForAll events that have a wiki homepage. After you create a local KinkForAll event homepage, you can then add a link to that page in the list of Upcoming KinkForAlls. During pre-planning stages, simply providing a link of this sort is sufficient.


As momentum builds, however, it's useful to modify the HTML markup of the link itself so that it appears on the global calendar feed of KinkForAll events worldwide. Even if you're not anticipating hosting participants from far away places physically, many of these geographically distant people can add a lot of value to local KinkForAll events by participating via chat rooms or other networked backchannels, so it's still useful to make sure they can see the local KinkForAll in their calendars.


To do this, you need to modify the HTML source code for the event on the front page such that it is a valid hCalendar microformat.


Building Interest


The fundamental method of building interest involves keeping others aware of what you are actually doing. Use the KinkForAll mailing list and your personal outlets to discuss possibilities, and then use the wiki web site to keep track of vitals once they have been finalized. From the very beginning, be sure that participants are signed up on the local KinkForAll wiki page, and encourage them to join the mailing list.


Having participants sign up on the wiki and join the mailing list is vital to creating a sufficient local community buy-in to get your event off the ground. KinkForAll events require a critical mass of dedicated people before the event can take place. Herculean efforts by key individuals are both insufficient and contrary to transparent modes of operation.


Encouraging wiki sign-ups is important for many reasons:


  • KinkForAll events run on a very low overhead, financially and otherwise. This is accomplished by crowdsourcing all of our needs for the event. If there is no crowd, there is no source. Keeping registration on the wiki means that people who sign up also easily receive updates when other information on the main/sign up page change (such as when date, time, or needs list items get updated).
  • KinkForAll is for active participants only. It is not appropriate to publicize an event as complete, staffed, or fully conceived when it is not; instead, publicize it as growing, building, and as an opportunity for people to engage themselves in the discussion. Involving one person who is communicative and enthusiastic is far more valuable than inviting ten people who will simply show up at the door (although they're naturally welcome, too).
  • Remember that it is up to participants to include themselves. One voice speaks for one and only one person; themselves. Do not make explicit efforts to include people who are not willing to actively engage themselves by taking part in KinkForAll methods.
  • Communication and coordination about the needs of an event are most effective in an engaged public forum. The wiki and mailing lists are key resources for people to learn how they can help the event beforehand, and a crucial communication channel for unorganizers.
  • Finally, you must plan according to documented interest. Having verbal or tentative support from a large portion of the community is great, but you should source your planning numbers themselves from wiki sign-ups; if one person says that they can bring 50 others, your planning should not accommodate 51 people but rather only 1 (or maybe 3). If you are planning for a very large event, you should have documented evidence in the form of wiki sign-ups that the event will be large.


All of the event planning must be publicly recorded. If it isn't publicly documented, then it didn't happen. If you and a fellow participant have a great idea over coffee, you must take that idea back to the mailing list and then (eventually) to the wiki, and let everyone know what's going.


Build interest in your event by reaching out to both individuals and organizations covering the full spectrum of sexuality topics. As an unorganizer, it's vital that you focus the bulk of your efforts on communities you are not a part of. As you do this, be certain to keep the mailing list apprised of your progress. Proactively approach strangers and encourage participants to leverage their own social contacts (and networks).


Keep with a grassroots spirit of energy and enthusiasm, and seek out innovative ways to spread the word. Do not pay for advertising, as free word-of-mouth information sharing is not only available, but far more effective. Do not wait for the details to come together before publicizing an event—announce it immediately and update your broadcasts with details when those details (time, place, etc.) become available.


Bear in mind the fact that KinkForAll events can be conceived and executed in a dramatically shorter time frame than most traditional events. In order to make this happen, you must maintain sustained activity to put the event in motion—lag time will easily ruin your efforts. If you find yourself overwhelmed by preparation, do these things:


  1. seek out more collaborators, and
  2. remember YAGNI!


As the event becomes more fully formed, keep to the unorganizing model and begin to delegate responsibility to participants who have demonstrated autonomy and leadership. Encourage participants to proactively solve problems themselves, approach new groups, do research and discuss the event in their own social circles. Your approach should be empowering and encouraging, not managerial.


Promoting a Local KinkForAll Event


There are lots of different ways to promote your local KinkForAll event, and it's very important to do so. The key to all grass-roots promotion is word of mouth. Talk to people face-to-face, share contact information, and then follow up with an email in which you provide a link to an online resource such as a KinkForAll video you think they might like, and your event's wiki homepage on this site so they can sign up.


Once your date and location are confirmed, print up flyers (tear-offs are nice) with the time and location of the event, the tag line and the website info, and put them up in your town. Flyering is best done at least a week before the event, but it's always useful, so don't skip it just because you got there late. Some places you might post flyers:


  • Laundromats
  • Cafes and Bars
  • Libraries
  • Local college campuses (esp. student centers)
  • The inside doors of bathroom stalls
  • Telephone Poles 
  • Trees
  • Anywhere where people post notices - and perhaps some places they usually don't. 


There are also a lot of web-centric ways to promote your event:


  • Cross-post an event announcement to as many different social networking services as you can.
    • Please note that cross-posting to an event service with an RSVP function such as Facebook, Upcoming, Evite, or Fetlife may confuse people: some people might think that RSVPing in the affirmative to any of these events "registers" them for the local KinkForAll. However, only signing up on the wiki page for the event itself is considered a complete sign up, and thus this fact must be made clear in the event description on these alternate services.
    • Keep an eye out for local mailing lists, informational sites or notice boards where you can broadcast the event to those who will have the easiest time attending.


Reaching Out Across Community Boundaries


This is one of the hardest parts of preparing for a KinkForAll, and one of the most important. The success of the event is tied to its ability to bring together people from different backgrounds and communities to share their information with each other. The easiest people to reach are those in your own community, but the more diverse the people you bring to the event, the wider the span of knowledge shared. 


Build interest in your event by reaching out to both individuals and organizations covering the full spectrum of sexuality topics. As an unorganizer, it's vital that you focus the bulk of your efforts on communities you are not a part of. As you do this, be certain to keep the mailing list apprised of your progress. Proactively approach strangers and encourage participants to leverage their own social contacts (and networks).


What are some ways to ensure that you are effectively crossing community boundaries?


  • Watch the changes to the sign up page. When you see someone sign up with a topic that piques your interest, send them a personal, genuine note telling them that you're excited to see them speak on their topic.


Picking A Place


One of the most important considerations for running a successful KinkForAll is its venue, the location where the unconference activities takes place.


Your venue should have enough space for presentations to occur without interfering with one another and allow for a free flow of people. "Breakout" rooms are much more important than a main, central presentation area. Participants will constantly be in motion; any space that does not have a presentation will be full of chattering people and activity.


The Venue page has additional information.


Picking A Date




Funding a local KinkForAll event


Although the vast majority of resources needed for a KinkForAll event are best obtained by participants themselves, sometimes money is simply required. To crib from a famous marketing slogan, "Some things contributions can't do. For everything else, there's fundraising." Asking for financial contributions for KinkForAll is a somewhat delicate matter. Learn more about it by reading the Funding page.


Providing Free Internet Access


If you're lucky, you may have found a venue that comes equipped with an Internet connection that you can use during the KinkForAll event. If this isn't the case, you'll need to find another way of establishing an Internet (WAN-side) connection to share locally. In either case, you'll still need to provide some way for participants who are physically present to connect to the network.


At a very minimum, you're likely to need:


  • Ethernet (CAT-5 or, even better, CAT-6) cabling.
  • One or more Wi-Fi routers with 802.11g/b capabilities.
  • Electrical power strips and/or extension cords.


If no cabling is available for a connection to the Internet, it's also possible to utilize a wireless 3G network card that you can plug into a laptop computer as the Internet (WAN-side) connection, and then use the laptop itself as the Wi-Fi router, since all modern operating systems come with the capability to "share" an Internet connection. Documentation exists for sharing an Internet connection on Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Linux (Ubuntu) systems.


Setting Up A Backchannel


This section will cover ways in which you can use new-fangled media outlets such as micro-messaging services like Twitter and Identi.ca to create a conversational backchannel during the course of your event.




Some people are concerned that providing backchannels for communication during a KinkForAll itself, and especially during presentations, will be distracting or annoying for presenters or participants. These concerns come largely from innocent ignorance or misunderstanding, so your best bet in allaying these fears is to discuss the benefits of a backchannel. Some such benefits include:


  • turns an audience into a group of participants
  • people get more content during a presentation
  • people can get answers to questions on-the-fly
  • people unable to participate physically can still participate remotely
  • presenters get immediate feedback


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