How to start your own Paraplanners’ Assembly

Blog post
A group of about 80 people are gathered in front of three teepees. The front front row is seated on hay bales. The rest stand. They are facing the camera.

We’d love as many paraplanners as possible to start your own Paraplanners’ Assembly – however and wherever you’d like.

But don’t feel you need anyone’s permission to create your own event because, just as Tim Berners-Lee once said about something else: ‘this is for everyone’.

What we would like to do is support any Assembly as much as we can. So here’s a few tips on how to start your own Paraplanners’ Assembly.

Let’s start with the organising principles behind the Paraplanners’ Assembly and how this might apply to your very own event. Then, we’ll explain the practical ways in which we can help one another and support your successful Assembly.

The spirit of the Assembly

The Paraplanners’ Assembly stemmed from a simple idea:

To provide a place where paraplanners can meet to exchange views about the future of our profession, to learn things, to fix things and to share things.

We’d love to see Assemblies – no matter how large or small – adopt that self-same spirit that led to the very first event. (So keep that thought at the back of your mind throughout.)

The six organising principles of the Paraplanners’ Assembly

We’ve adopted some ‘organising principles’ that we think give our events their distinctive character. If you’re thinking of putting on your own Assembly, here’s what they were:

1. (At least) two’s a crowd

Take inspiration from the organisers of other local Assemblies and share the load: Find at least one other person you know and organise the event together. And if you can’t find someone, let’s see if we know anyone you can partner up with.

2. Assembles are not-for-profit events

That’s right. Assemblies are voluntarily organised by paraplanners.

Every penny that participants and supporters part with is invested entirely on making the Paraplanners’ Assembly possible.

Our ambition was to create a place where paraplanners could meet at the lowest possible cost. And, ideally, the lowest cost would be ‘Free’. That’s what we suggest for local Assemblies.

3. Assembles belong to paraplanners

We adopt an ‘unconference’-style format. This means that, in advance of the event, participants get to pick the topics they want to talk about and decide on the priority through voting.

Organisations or brands who are supporting your Assembly should only contribute to discussion about topics that paraplanners themselves have determined or participate in ‘the spirit of the Assembly’, which we mentioned above and doesn’t mention ‘pushing our products and services’.

4. Assemblies are unwaveringly independent

What we mean by that is that the Assemblies are not forums in which organisations or brands can pitch-up and flog their wares.

Because the event is designed by paraplanners for paraplanners (see 3, above), it’s paraplanners who decide what’s on the agenda rather than being subject to the agenda of others.

Organisations and brands supporting Assemblies are precisely that: supporters (not sponsors). Sponsorship brings with it certain rights for sponsors, whereas being a supporter brings no rights at all.

But that doesn’t prevent direct involvement in the event by supporters of Assemblies, so long as their participation is in keeping with the spirit of the Assembly: ‘To provide a place where paraplanners can meet to exchange views about the future of our profession, to learn things, to fix things and to share things’.

5. Participants – not ‘delegates’ or ‘attendees’

Assemblies aren’t events that are put on for people; people are the Assembly, so make sure people realise they’re there to take part before they turn up!

6. Wherever possible, chocolate and top-notch sweets should be provided

Because life’s a box of chocolates; not a saucer of boiled sweets.

6 practical ways to a successfully organise your own Paraplanners’ Assembly

1. We’re all in this together

As soon as you’ve resolved to set up an Assembly, feel free to get in touch by e-mailing [email protected].

We’ll set up a project for your Assembly using a bit of kit called Basecamp. Basecamp provides an online space where organisers of your Assembly – no matter how many there are and where they are in the country – can decide on things, set tasks and keep tabs on progress without clogging up your e-mail.

It means that everyone, who needs to be, is in the know about your Assembly’s organisation.

2. Our survey said…

Because Assemblies are designed by paraplanners for paraplanners, you’ll need a tool to gather opinion from potential Assembly participants on subjects from the preferred date and location of a Assembly, to voting for topics to discuss on the day.

To do this, we use the survey tool, Typeform, and we’d be very happy to set up surveys for you.

3. Where in the world-wide web?

Your Assembly will need its own page on the web where people can find out information and book their spot at your event, so we’ll build you one here at

And, speaking of booking a spot…

4. The future’s Eventbrite

For the Paraplanners’ Assembly, we used the online event management tool, Eventbrite, to handle all the ticketing and bookings and cancellations and wait-list and delegate lists and all that palaver. Eventbrite’s brilliant, so we’ll set up an Eventbrite page for your Assembly – which will include a gizmo to plug-in an online booking form for your Assembly’s page at

5. Getting the word out there

We’ve been in this game for some time and have accumulated quite the following hair flick. We’ll help you get the word out there on our social channels and before you know it, they’ll be hammering down the door.

6. We’ll send e-mail for you

(We couldn’t think of a snappy title for this bit.)

We’ll help you raise awareness for your event with all of our email subscribers. We don’t mean to boast but we have quite the subscription list.

And once you’re ready to roll, we’ll help you communicate with people who have signed up with the essential information for coming along the the event.

So that’s it.

If this has piqued your interest why not get in touch about organising an Assembly? Just  e-mail us at [email protected].

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