Setting up an online support group
This guide is a working list of resources to help groups set up and run online events. We will continue to improve it and welcome feedback and suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Defining the need
Working out the aims of the online meetings and events can help answer all the other questions and choices you will need to make:
• What are the aims of the group?
• Identify who you are supporting
• Recruit and invite people to join the group.
• Perform a technology audit with your participants to determine how to connect to people
• Establish a long-term strategy: Will your service be online, offline, or a hybrid of both?
Make sure you have the digital skills and support you need to run an online meeting, which include:
• Facilitating online meetings
• Helping others to use the software
• Defining roles and responsibilities
• Agreeing protocols and etiquette for online meetings
3. Equipment and Technology
Making sure you are set up with the best available devices and apps will help people get involved and have a good experience worth returning for.
4. Managing risk
To protect yourselves and your members, as well as meeting regulations, you should have the following policies and documents in place:
• Duty of Care: Risk assessment for physical well-being of participants
• Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
• GDPR, Fair Processing Notice & Consent
5. Getting started
The first events can be the trickiest as everyone gets to grips with the technology and protocols. To help with this:
• Test the tech with each participant
• Set expectations and make people feel comfortable
• Set an agenda or activity
• Co-design the service with participants to meet their needs: appropriate frequency, session lengths and group sizes
Resources on Community Makers website:
• Insight: Getting to grips with online meetings
• Insight: Helping to make getting online accessible
• Template: Virtual Choir
• Template: Arts and Crafts club