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Co-design invitation considerations

A respectful, clear, and well planned invitation is the first step to build trust and engage people.

Inviting people to a co-design event is the first point of contact with potential participants. Thus, the organizing team should carefully plan different aspects of an invitation process to be mindful of diverse needs and preferences. The following list highlights some of the important factors that should be considered during the invitation process.


  • When picking a time for your event:
    • Consider many adults won’t be able to take time off work, thus evening and weekend meetings may work better for their schedule. If you are holding multiple events, consider scheduling them in a way that provides a range of options, e.g. one morning session, one evening session, one weekend session.
    • Consider many adults prefer shorter/half day workshops as it gives them time to manage other tasks e.g. parents who need to pick up kids from school.
    • Availability and frequency of public transit should be considered during late night and weekend events.
    • Many people are away in the summertime and during public holidays, however, those are good times for teachers and students to participate in co-design activities.
    • Availability of individuals who require personal assistance may depend on the availability of their assistants and their ability to commute to the workshop.
    • Consider parents with young children may not be able to attend workshops unless child care is provided.
  • When sending out invitations:
    • Create a spreadsheet of organizations, groups, communities, individuals that should be included in this event. Organizations Database template example (Excel spreadsheet)
    • Consider inviting people at least 3 weeks to one month ahead of time to give potential participants time to plan and make arrangements whether this is done through emails, phone calls or personal meetings.
    • In the invitation email/phone call/meeting, inform participants how this event meets their accessibility needs and what accessibility services are provided.
    • In the invitation email/phone call/meeting, clearly inform participants who you are, what your role is in this project, what kinds of commitments they are making, how their contributions will be used, and how they will be compensated for their participation.
  • Once confirming participants:
    • If they decide to participate, inquire about their dietary restrictions and accessibility requirements, and whether they will be joining with a personal assistant or a service animal.
    • Send a friendly reminder to the participants at least 1 week prior to the event and include any material that needs clear understanding at the event, such as contributor license agreements, group attribution forms, and access guides.
    • Send participants any other material that they have requested to review prior to the session, such as the workshop agenda and the activities.
    • Create a spreadsheet including participant’s name, their needs and preferences and any other notes discussed in your communication with them. Participants Database template example (Excel spreadsheet)
  • After the workshop:
    • Update your participants database regarding who participated, add any other notes regarding the needs and preferences that was noticed or emerged during the session.