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Thinking of hosting your own local meetup but not sure where to start? Some ideas from previous meetups below:

CiviCRM is all about the community so why not start your own meetup. Meetups are a great place for people in a local geographical area to come together and discuss how they are using Civi. Ideally there should be a focus on accessibility for new potential Civi users. Alternatively it's a great opportunity for implementers and developers to demonstrate the new extensions they are working on or to meet new potential clients.

 

Step 0: Make sure there is not already a meet up in your area

Have a look at this page which lists places that had a meet up on CiviDay 2013. If your city is listed there, then get in contact with the organiser and arrange your next meet up.

Step 1: Connecting with people to discuss a potential new meetup

The best place to start to find people who may be interested in helping organise or attending a new meet up is the forum. On the forums there is a section for "user groups and potential meetups". If you are thinking of starting a new meetup, or would like to find people in the local area interested in having a meetup this is the place to go.


Step 2: Eat your own dog food... Using CiviCRM.org to promote your meetup

Already know some people looking for a meetup? In which case it's time to publicise it. Although there are many ways and websites to publicise your event, it would be great for us to all use CiviCRM.org. This means that we can make the CiviCRM.org site a focal point for people looking for and arranging meetups and can maximise your outreach.

Where to start?

  • If its a new meetup, register your new meetup here (TO BE SET UP)
  • The community manager will be in touch to activate your account
  • You can then create events to be listed in the meetups section of the site using the CiviCRM.org civi!

Step 3: Publicise the meetup on other channels (such as meetup.com)

 

Another good way of publicing your meetup more widely is to post it up on other meetup websites. A list of good online places to publicise the meetup is below:

  • Meetup.com
  • Linkedin
  • Any more why not add them?

 

  • Preferred approach to publicing you meetup outside of CiviCRM.org

 

Although there are no strict rules for how to publicise your meetup, from the communities perspective it would be great if we can make the CiviCRM.org website the focal point for all meetup related activity. This way meetups can be coordinated in a more joined up manner. As such it would be great to use other meetup websites more as places to publish the meetup, rather then the tools to use to manage it. It also sends out a very bad message if we are not using our own events tool to manage our own events!

If you are intending to use other sites to publicise your meetup it may be good to consider the following tips to refer people back to CiviCRM.org:

  • Always give a link to the CiviCRM.org event listing
  • Insist that people register on CiviCRM.org - you can do this by telling them that official emails and updates will only come to those registered with CiviCRM.org
  • In the case of meetup.com - perhaps asking the question when people register for the meetup whether they have registered on CiviCRM.org also to remind them (to check this functionality exists).

Step 4: Suggested format for the meetups

There's obviously no strict rules for the best format for a meetup, but it's always good to try and cater for both those who know and use Civi, but also those who are new to or thinking about taking on Civi.

It may be worth picking a theme or topic for the meetup to give it some continuity. This could for example be focussed on a particular functionality of Civi - membership, events, fundraising.

We've suggested a format below but feel free to use a way that make sense for your contacts:

 

  • Introductions - (5 mins)

Why not start off with a 5 minute opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves, explain how they are using Civi (i.e. are they a implementor, developer, user, considering using Civi?).

  • Overview of CiviCRM + Introduction to a module of Civi - (15 - 20 mins)

If you have a few people who are new to Civi or evaluating Civi for their organisation, why not have a quick overview of CiviCRM followed by the discussion of a single module of Civi in a little more detail?

In the past a talk on contributions and pledges, membership, events or case management have worked well. Generally this is a good opportunity for a Civi implementor or developer to walk new users through the functionality of a particular module. It helps new users to understand Civi better, and familiar users to learn more or ask questions on a particular subject.

  • Case study - User to speak - (15 - 20 mins)

Why not then follow that with a real user case study. If you can find an organisation using Civi that would be willing to speak, all the better. If you have a theme, possibly you can use a similar topic to the "introduction to" module above and have for example a membership organisation speak following an introduction to the membership module.

This allows orgnisations who are considering taking Civi on to see how it could work in real life and ask any questions they may have.

  • Have a break and a chat! - (10 mins)

Sometimes a little break at the half way point to let people mingle, get a drink and have a chat is good.

  • Community update - (10 - 15 mins)

CiviCRM is dependant on the work and dedication of the community, so a session on what people can do for and is going on in the community is really good.

Perhaps starting with introducing the different sections of the website, where the wiki is, where the online books are to be found can help new users. For more experienced users, telling them about the forums, bug/issue tracker and how to get involved with future sprints is userful. Other topics can include dates of future international events (CiviCON... code sprints etc), information about any new initiatives in the Civi world (you can find these out by having a quick read on the blog before the meetup).

  • Whats new - (10 mins)

A good last sessions for those who want to stick around is a quick run through of whats new with CiviCRM. That could be anything from extensions that one of the implementors at the session may want to showcase, to a quick talk on new features in the latest version of Civi.

 

Step 5: Standard emails and suggested times to send

Suggested dates to send email reminders:

We would suggest setting up scheduled reminders for the session:

  1. Within one week of a meetup - email to all those who registered saying thanks for coming (even though some may not have)
  2. 1 week after meetup - email all contacts within the London Civi meetup group about the following meetup
  3. 1 week before meetup - email all contacts within the London Civi meetup group about the upcomoing meetup
  4. On Monday before meetup - email all registrants reminding them of the meetup in a couple of days, time, agenda, location etc.
Suggested format for the email:

If you are in XXXXXX and using or thinking about using CiviCRM, then please register and come along!

Meetups are a great way to

  • network with the CiviCRM community
  • find out about how people are making the most out of CiviCRM
  • learn about what is coming up in future releases

If you have questions or would like one to one help, please come along at 5.30 for a pre-meet up drop-in. Otherwise, come along from 6.30 to 8.30.

At each meetup there will be an introduction to CiviCRM and a case study of an organisation using it.  This meetup will focus on x.

Agenda

5.30 - 6.30 - CiviCRM Drop in - get your questions answered and get one to one help

6.30 - 8.30 - CiviCRM meet up - our agenda so far...

  • Introductions
  • Session 1 - Intro to XXXXX
  • Session 2: case study XXXXX
  • Break
  • Session 3: Community update: xxxxx
  • Session 4: Whats new: xxxx

Future meetups:

Our next meetup will be on the xxxxx. Have something to contribute or would you like to host? If so please get in touch with xxxxx. Contact details xxxx.

Thanks

CiviCRM meetup team

 

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