I have been involved in the organization of grassroots summits for quite a good number of years now. Over that period of time, I have come to conclude that organizing a grassroots summit will always be a challenging undertaking. In other words, there are certain challenges that you will almost certainly encounter while organizing a grassroots summit of any sort. In this blog post, I will shed some light on those challenges.
The first challenge that you are almost certainly bound to encounter while organizing a grassroots summit is that of getting the people to understand (and buy into) the agenda of the summit. More often than not, when you try to sell the agenda of the summit to the targeted audience, you will discover that the people in the audience think that you have another ‘hidden’ agenda. It can get very frustrating. Even where no such suspicions exist, you may nonetheless have difficulties getting people to appreciate the aims of the summit, and how they stand to benefit from it.
The second challenge that you are almost certainly bound to encounter while organizing a grassroots summit is that of getting money to finance the summit. Getting the people to pay for attendance can often be a tall order. You are often left with no option but to seek for donations: but then, the donors will often want to insert their agendas into the summit, in exchange for the funding they provide. This can often lead to a situation where you end up having a (donor-funded) summit that is very different from what you had in mind when you set out.
The third challenge that you are almost certainly bound to encounter while organizing a grassroots summit is that of getting people to sacrifice their time, to attend the summit. You come to realize that people’s commitments to the grassroots groups they belong to is usually very limited. If they are requested to sacrifice an hour or two to attend a grassroots meeting at the local level, they are often willing to oblige. But when asked to sacrifice three or four entire days to attend a grassroots summit, they find the sacrifice too huge (which is understandable, given the fact that the people in question often get very little from the grassroots organizations they belong to). In the final analysis, you could find yourself with an awkward situation where people are demanding to be paid, say, by having their debit cards at www.citicards.com loaded with money, so that they can attend the summit! Yet the summit is meant to help them – and it is them who would actually have been expected to chip in financially.