THANK YOU FOR SHOWING INTEREST IN STARTING YOUR OWN DINNERTABLE.
We've received some great feedback from the several DinnerTable's we've hosted here in Oklahoma City. This has been an initiative that both black and white people have come together to see come to fruition. We are the first to admit that hosting dinners is nothing new or groundbreaking. We do believe that relationships can be formed around the DinnerTable. In the discussions taking place in Oklahoma City we keep saying, "It's all about relationships. The lens you view the world changes when you are in diverse relationships. When your lens changes then your actions and behaviors are to follow."
What is unique about DinnerTableOKC is our ambassadors. Yes, our ambassadors hosts dinners but it is much deeper. DinnerTable Ambassadors are people who have been doing racial reconciliation in our city and have a desire to continue through the avenue of dinners. A black ambassador and white ambassador come together to host a dinner. They model what it looks like to be in genuine relationship with someone from another race/ethnicity/cultural background. You can read more about expectations and vision for the DinnerTable Ambassadors by clicking here.
Another unique aspect about DinnerTableOKC is that there is no 'one' organization behind it. People have stepped away from their day job title to say we are doing this together. It's not an initiative by [insert name of non-profit or business] it's a collective. There is no hidden agenda being pushed. It's truly people coming together for dinner for the betterment of our city.
Please listen to this podcast to learn more about the vision of DinnerTableOKC:
Below you'll find some questions we've been asked from people around the country who are interested in starting their own DinnerTable.
You'll find questions ranging from vision to logistics and we'd be happy to connect with you if you have further questions.
How much/what parts of the process is automated/manual once receipt of an inquiry has been received?
How involved are you in identifying/matching DinnerTable experiences based on where people live or do you send out an email announcing Dinner Tables as they are scheduled.
We are still working through the best way to match interested attendees with DinnerTable ambassadors. Up to this point in time our ambassadors have had access to the sign-up list and they choose their guests and send invites. In our first round of dinners we didn't send invites based on location of the attendee. We have had a few ambassadors show interest in hosting a DinnerTable in their neighborhood and specifically for their area of town.
Do you manually (Excel) manage the list of interested people, track "reservations", etc. or is that built into the website behind the scenes.
The application MailChimp that we use 'behind the scenes' organizes all the contact information. We can then export it in any format (PDF, Excel, etc). Google Drive (Google Sheets) is a great solution for live updates and tracking.We are currently working through the best process of managing the logistics and will update when we think we've found the best possible solution.
What will I need / receive in the form of training? I'm certain you are concerned about the quality of your Ambassadors. What do you need to know about me to be assured that I am equipped to carry out the vision? Am I making too much of this (smile)? I just want to do things correctly. I respect what you’ve started and, if we are going to be an extension of the vision, I want you to know that I take it seriously.
We love these kind of questions! We currently do not have any formal training. We are working on providing quality resources to groups who are interested. We would set up a 30-45 minute call to hear your passion and what makes you interested in doing DinnerTable in your city. Having both Black and White buy-in is what gives DinnerTable its sustainability. We would have both parties on the phone call to discuss vision, process and longevity. We'd talk about infrastructure and processes to help you be successful in continuing the conversation around racial reconciliation in your city.
Will you share what you've learned with regards to confirming "guests", working with restaurants; trends in (and how you handle) no-shows.
We currently have our ambassadors send the invitation with dinner details to the their attendees. So the DinnerTable attendees are confirming their RSVP directly with the ambassador. We've looked into an automated RSVP system but at this point we want it to feel organic and want the ambassadors to connect through email/phone call with their attendees once or twice before their DinnerTable.
Our response from local restaurants have been incredible. We've had several restaurants in Oklahoma City buy into the vision and offer up their private dining spaces for free. They've been very gracious in waiving the fee often associated with space rental. With that being said, we've had several groups host their dinner at a local restaurant but we've also had several ambassadors host in their homes. (We cover that topic on the Ambassador Info page).
We honestly haven't had too many no-shows. People who have signed-up have made it a priority to be there. For the people who no-show we'll try and fit them into another dinner or engage with them in different ways.
Do I need to know coding to make the site relevant to our community. I LOVE the look and feel and don't foresee a need to change it. However, I actually like being part of a national movement because this is yet another way (in my mind) that we are showing unification in the Church (capital C) body.
You don't need to know how to code to make the site relevant for your community. We'd love to help with the website setup and backend (behind the scenes) logistics. We use SquareSpace to build our website and MailChimp to manage email and contact information.
There is a small monthly cost to each of these services that you'll be responsible for covering each month.
SquareSpace = $8/month
MailChimp = $10/month
DinnerTable Email Address = $10/month