Drupal Meetup Organizing Guide

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Building on the work that Nedjo did for organizing a Design sprint (Thanks Nedjo!) I'll like to get some help with refining and creating a guide for managing and hosting a Drupal meetup. Eventually I'll like to create a book page on d.o with a meetup guide, camp guide and sprint guide.

Related groups: Local group organizers and Drupal Event Organization

What is it

A meetup is an informal gathering of individuals interested in Drupal. Meetups can be held at a local bar, cafe, university, company conference room, etc. and generally occurring on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Venue

When starting a meetup finding a good location can be key to creating a successful group. There are several factors when finding a venue for your meetup.

  1. Transportation: Find a place that is transportation convenient and central to your user group.
  2. Tranquility: A quiet venue is good. Participants need to be ability to hear each other and to hold conversations. The local bar may have great beer but if you can't hear your friend next to you because its too noisy the meetup will be ineffective.
  3. Presentations: The choice to do presentations is up to your local community. Generally a projector or ability to present create a much more effective knowledge sharing environment.
  4. Price: most meetups have donated venues or places that will accept you based upon the expectation of making money.
    • Company conference rooms work great for meetups. Ask around in your community for a company that will donate the conference room time
    • Bars, Cafes work wonderful and more often than not with some advanced warning a Bar/Cafe will welcome your group with open arms (after all they are almost guaranteed to sell a few drinks).
    • Do the due diligence to find a free venue in the area and it will pay off in scores.
  5. Consistency: Find a venue that you can return to over and over again. Consistency is highly effective in growing a community as people become familiar to the location and can plan their day/evenings around it.

Time

The date and time you have the meetup will vary greatly:

  • In the U.S a lot of meetup are held during the workweek typically after work. A few have been held during workday lunch breaks.
  • In Beijing, China we found weekdays were bad and that the weekends worked much better whereas Shanghai, China has there after work during the week.
  • In Lima, Perú people has almost no time during the week. A monthly meetup on Saturdays worked fine.

Find the right day of the month, day of the week and time of the day is a learning process and can only be determined by your community.

The one key is the date/time is that consistency is key. Successful meetups all have one item in common. They are held at roughly the same date/time every single time. For example every 3rd Thursday at 8pm or the 20th of every month at 2pm.

When choosing a date/time do a search for your local PHP, MySQL, Linux, Mac, etc. user group and try to not overlap with their meetups. Perhaps consider teaming up with that usergroup if you think its worthwhile to your community.

Length of time for a meetup.

A meetup is generally around 2 hours in length.
A common breakdown of time is
0-15 Around the table introductions (who are you, what are you working on, what happened since the last time we met, etc. etc.)
15-45 A presentation by someone in the group
45-1:15 Q& A on the presentation
1:15-2:00 creating working groups, networking, discussions, etc.

Getting the word out.

The first thing to do is to utilize, or create if necessary, the local geographic group for your community on groups.drupal.org. This is a really strong form of advertising for your group as well as a powerful organizing tool that is completely free for your use.

You may also wish to utilize/advertise on meetup.com, yahoo groups, google groups, etc.

Get in touch with your local PHP, Linux, MySQL, Postgres, OSS, etc. groups in town.

The key in getting the word out is to connect with your local community.

Additional information here
http://groups.drupal.org/node/9393

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