Step 6: Plan Your Local Program

(June to August)

Every local gathering shows the AFSP DVD, featuring survivors discussing their experiences of loss and healing. This is the heart of the ISOSD gathering. Many sites provide additional local programming, too. It's up to you whether you would like to serve food, hold sharing and educational sessions, or include other healing activities.

People who have attended past ISOSD gatherings have rated these activities to be the most useful in their healing process:

  • Supportive Sharing Sessions
  • Keynote Speakers (survivors comfortable discussing their loss, and/or mental health professionals)
  • Memory Boards, with pictures of attendees’ loved ones.

Learn about other Ideas for Local Programming .


Most ISOSD gatherings cost under $100. The DVD, and the full use of our templates and fliers, is free.

Do keep in mind the following possible costs:

  • Location rental fees: Most organizers have been successful in finding donated spaces. Try to get free or reduced-cost space rather than paying for a site.
  • On-site audiovisual fees.
  • Promotion: printing or photocopying, postage.
  • Name tags.
  • Ribbons or beads to signify loss relationship.
  • Event Program: printing or photocopying.
  • Food.
  • Materials from AFSP Online Store.

If you are worried about costs, fundraising is a great option. Ask your volunteers to help.

Possible fundraising sources:

  • Ask local businesses or foundations to sponsor your event (see  Sponsorship Toolkit ).
  • Set a registration fee or suggested donation from those who sign up or at the door.
  • Hold a fundraiser, such as a bake sale, craft sale, or garage sale to raise funds.

For more detailed information, download our Organizer Manual