Planning Accessible Meetings and Events

Attendees, including Judith Heumann, gather around a table at a meeting of the Presidents’ Council.

This resource has easy-to-use, practical resources on how to make meetings and events more inclusive.

As I’m organizing a meeting or event, what do I need to think about to ensure full inclusion? At what point in the planning do I need to start thinking about it?

Please see below several resources from the Chicago Community Trust to guide your efforts:

Looking for checklists? The following resources have you covered 

What about planning accessible virtual events?

Now that so many events have shifted online, it’s important to ensure no one is left behind from participating. The following resources offer helpful insight into considerations for accessible virtual meetings and events:

How do I ask participants what disability accommodations they might need?

Meeting with a potential grantee/colleague donor/contractor

“We are looking forward to meeting you! So that we can ensure everyone’s full participation in the meeting, please let me know if you or one of your colleagues require an accommodation or service (such as sign language interpretation, ASL, CART, digital, large-print or Braille materials, wheelchair access, etc.)”

When you send invitations or registration forms

“How can we help you fully participate?”

“[FOUNDATION NAME] is committed to making all events held within its premises accessible to everyone. If you require an accommodation or service (such as ASL, CART, digital, large-print or Braille materials, wheelchair access, etc.) to fully participate, we encourage you to contact [NAME at EMAIL, PHONE NUMBER] at least two weeks prior to the event.”

No single guide or checklist is the solution to inclusion. Just remember, it’s always good to ask the person what he/she/they need as people are different and may have different preferences and accommodations needs. It’s important to be proactive about planning and ensure you have the time to arrange accommodations. Also, attend disability events and see what this advice looks like in action!

Accessible Event Planning: A Learning Journey

Read about Southern California Grantmakers’ (SCG’s) intentional learning and planning process to host an accessible, inclusive event: “Nothing Without Us”: SCG’s Journey to Inclusive Design.