At Sequence, we’re passionate about creating events that make attendees feel a sense of joy and connection. Part of that mission means making sure everyone who wants to attend is able to by removing barriers to attendance whenever possible. As you may know, July is Disability Pride Month, commemorating the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990. In honor of this, we are bringing you some stellar tips for creating accessible and inclusive events! With our help, you’ll be well on your way to hosting events that are exciting, memorable, and accessible to all.
- Think ahead. As with any aspect of event-production, thinking ahead is key to your event’s success. In general, accessibility should be woven into every aspect of the event from the very start. Ask yourself what kinds of accessibility accommodations you’ll likely need to provide and make a checklist. Will they primarily be mobility-based, sense-based, diet-based, or will you need to address a unique combination of needs? For a conference with presentations and speeches, for instance, you’ll likely want to provide screens with closed captions or a sign language interpreter. At Sequence, we always have mobility conversations with our clients early on the event-planning process, and push for captions in all our virtual events.
- Have a point person. Designating an accessibility coordinator is one of the best ways to guarantee your event is taking accessibility seriously. Especially at larger events, where you’re more likely to have a variety of accommodations in place, a dedicated accessibility coordinator can be vital. But what exactly will your accessibility coordinator do? Well, they might help ensure technological accommodations like video and presentation accommodations are working, or they might simply make sure guests who requested special accommodations have their needs met.
- Find a partner. If you’re looking for a little help making your event more accessible, it can be a good idea to turn to an expert. There are a wide variety of awesome non-profit organizations who make it their mission to help events be as accessible as possible. Half Access, for instance, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to making live music accessible. At Sequence, we know part of making an event accessible is maintaining great communication. Half Access works by crowdsourcing accessibility information for venues located all over the world, helping people who need accommodations to get informed before attending an event. That’s a mission Team SEQ can get behind!
- Customize your RSVPs. When sending out RSVPs, it’s a smart move to customize them so you can easily learn about your guests’ accommodation needs. A warm invitation that creates a sense of welcome is important, and it should be as simple as possible for guests to make their needs known. You might provide contact info for an accessibility coordinator so people can request specific accommodations, or you could send a checklist with the RSVP, inviting people to inform you of which accommodations they’ll need that way. You could also make use of onsite intake forms to collect more pressing accessibility information, including food and material allergies.
- Let the venue work for you. Some venues are simply more accessible than others, which is why it can be a good practice to seek out venues with built-in accessibility measures. These might include ADA-compliant stages, elevators, accessible restrooms or parking options, entrance and doorway sizes that allow for wheelchairs, walkers, and other assisting devices, and more. You might even decide to host your event outside, in a park or other public space, which sometimes be more naturally accessible than a building. At the same time, it’s important not to assume your chosen venue has it all and to correct any accessibility issues you notice. When Team SEQ organized Two Ten Footwear Foundation’s annual gala at the Hammerstein Ballroom, we made sure to build an accessible ramp when we saw the venue didn’t have one.
At Sequence, we know that the best events facilitate connection and help establish a sense of community. One of the easiest ways to make sure those criteria are met is by making sure as many people as possible are able to fully experience and engage with the event. In other words, accessibility and inclusion are integral to the way we think about event-planning.
Let Sequence event and accessible and inclusive success! Schedule a 30-minute consultation with our team of event experts today. We can’t wait to connect.