Lunch with a govie

In March 2019, the Open Raleigh Brigade experimented with a new event: Lunch with a govie – and it was a huge success. Here are a few thoughts on why we did it and some information on how you could replicate this for your brigade.

Why host a lunch with a govie?
We’ve found it difficult to get some municipal and county staff to attend “after hours” meet-ups unless they have support from their managers/superiors to participate. Our thinking was to host a day time event, provide lunch, and experiment with “going to them” instead of asking our government partners to come to us.

For the first installment, we had no agenda. We kept it as simple as greet, intro’s, eat, and mingle.

Here’s what we did:

  • We picked out a few dates that we thought would work well
  • We found some meeting space that matched out dates, was collaborative, and good for hosting lunch–we ended up having the meeting at the Wake County Innovation Space
  • We created a Meet-up event to help promote the event
  • We sent personal invites to some of our city council, county commissioners, and gov’t partners

The results:

  • We had a former city councilor attend
  • We had a county commissioner attend
  • We had four different brigades represented: Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh
  • We had a good mix of brigade members, gov’t workers, and elected (former) officials
  • We had a really good spread for lunch and great conversations

Next steps, during the event, we talked about bringing in a government department/group to do a reverse-pitch to help generate ideas to help them solve a problem.

What thoughts or questions do you have about Lunch with a Govie.


Thanks for sharing:
This sounds promising since our city offices are relatively concentrated downtown and I have a couple questions:

Did you have any activities or conversation prompts for them? Did you capture any of their contact information, if so how?


What kinds of Brigade members did you have show up to a day event?

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For this event, it was mostly leadership. But the reality is that anyone who was interested made an effort.

We certainly could have had conversation prompts. We waiting until most people arrived, then we just talked about the brigade. Then we went around the room and everyone introduced themselves. I used that as a prompt to get people to go talk to each other and “learn more” about topics or roles they heard during intro’s. We kept it pretty causual.

We used meet-up to promote the event. We did not capture information because we knew everyone attending for the most part because we did a lot of individual invites to get the right folks in the room. This really wasn’t a meet-up, it was more of a curating effort–and a big experiment.