The Organizer Guide
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  • Priya Parker, author of "The Art of Gathering"

    Most hosts make this mistake
  • Congratulations! You’re bringing people together.

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    Powerful things happen when people show up for each other, and we’re here to guide you to your goals.

    Our Help Center is available every day to help you learn to use our tools, but the Organizer Guide will provide you with the guidance and inspiration you need to be successful at any stage of your Meetup journey.

    Just made your Meetup group (or still considering it)?

    Made your group and ready to hit the ground running?

    Looking for inspirational ways to connect with your people?

    If you’ve already had some great events, we’d love it if you’d tag us on social media with @Meetup! You can also join a local organizer Meetup group to share the wisdom you’ve gained and learn from other organizers in your area.

    The Meetup Organizer Tour
  • Every community starts with hello

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    At your Meetup event

    • Make time to say “hi.” Be warm and welcoming — look them in the eye, smile, and introduce yourself as soon as you can.
    • Set expectations. Remind everyone what this event’s agenda is. Clarifying the day’s activities gives members something to do right away when they get to the event.
    • Open things up with interesting group questionsPrepare a question or two that members can use to get to know each other. It should be specific, fun, and related to the theme of the group.

    Between Meetup events

    Meetup has communication tools to keep conversations going.

    Reach out using the Mailing List.

    • Send a message to attendees the day before an event to remind them. Shout out that newbies will be there, mention you’re looking forward to seeing everyone, and remind them of anything they’ll need to bring.
    • Follow up with attendees the day after an event to thank everyone, continue a conversation, and give a hint to what might come next.
    • Value your members’ time—limit yourself to 1 or 2 messages per event.

    Connect through comments.

    • Reply to members with timely, conversational, informative comments. Member can’t make it? Make sure they know when the next event will be and welcome them to it.
    • Tell members how to find you (i.e. the woman with the pink hair at the back table) and encourage them to reach out if they’ll be late. Assure them they’ll be welcome even if they’re not on time!

    Brainstorm what’s next in Discussions.

    • Suggest ideas for new events and respond to member ideas in this short-form discussion tool.
    • Keep conversations going between events and cultivate an atmosphere where members feel empowered to connect and share ideas.
    How do I make everyone feel welcome?
  • Whether you’re communicating with a member for the first time online, or talking to a regular in real life, there are things all members expect from a Meetup organizer

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    Trust

    Be real.

    Meeting up with a group of people you haven’t met before can take some getting used to. Great organizers make members feel welcome before, during, and after they arrive to a Meetup event.

    1. Set an example. Greet everyone when they arrive at your events. Make time to introduce new people to everyone else. If being welcoming is your priority, other members will follow your lead.
    2. Communicate. Answer questions and comments on your event in a timely fashion. Showing a member you’re there to help and welcome them builds trust even if you’ve never met.

    Authenticity

    Be yourself.

    Clarify your expectations for every member. Hold each other accountable through honest communication and empathy. Show your members that you’re warm and approachable, and they will be too.

    1. Empower everyone. Instilling trust in your members will encourage them to trust you, too. Build a leadership team and coach your organizers to uphold your values.
    2. Collaborate. You’re not in this alone. Ask for event ideas, venue recommendations, and feedback. Implement change wherever it makes sense.
    3. Stay active. Always make sure your members know what’s up next. Keep scheduling events!

    Respect

    Be cool.

    Part of being friendly and welcoming is respecting your members. They want to be a part of your community, so make it easy for them.

    1. Stay on topic. Schedule events that focus on your community’s goals. Avoid scheduling too many events that don’t align with your mission.
    2. Balance your onsite communication. There’s a difference between keeping people informed and overloading them with emails. Be respectful and condense your messages. Highlight what’s most important, and make sure the information only goes to those who need it.
     
    What do members expect from an organizer?
  • Make a Meetup group that finds your people.

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    The time is now—start your Meetup!

    Create an inviting name

    Your Meetup group’s name is an invitation to your future community. Make sure your future members feel welcome and know what you’re all about.

    • Be specificMake it easy for everyone to know they’ve found their home here.
    • Use accurate adjectives, locations, and action-oriented verbs. Ex: Bearded Hikers of NYC or Seattle Boat Lovers
    • Use words that reflect who you are or who you want to be. e.g. Girls Who Code
    • Keep it short — what if your new community wants team shirts someday?
    • Avoid using your own name — your group is for your community, not just you.
    • Spelling counts — check for typos. Unsure? Download Grammarly.

    Craft a captivating description

    Be clear and authentic — this builds trust with your future members.

    • Why are you starting this Meetup group?
    • How does it create community?
    • What do you want people to take away from your events?

    Let them know what this group is going to do for them, and what they need to do for it.

    Choose the right topics

    The topics you choose when you’re making your group are what we use to locate your future members. Choose the topics that best relate to your group. Having too few or too many unrelated topics will make it hard for the right members to find it. You’re limited to 15 total, so use them wisely.

    Express yourself

    Be real and welcoming by giving your members a clear picture of what they’re signing up for.

    • Upload a cover photo — if you have a logo ready to go, use it. If not, choose something else that represents your group’s identity (and you!). Try a free stock photography site like Unsplash or Pexels until you have some event photos of your own.
    • Schedule your first event right away — that way, when members join, they’ll be able to attend and get involved from the beginning.

    Congrats! You’re ready to start your Meetup group.

    Once your group has been reviewed and approved, we’ll look for members that have expressed interest in the topics you selected. Those members receive an email announcing your group, and they’ll be invited to join right away.

    Take a second and make sure you’ve said everything you need to say. Your announcement is your first impression in the world — make your mission clear.

    Creating your Meetup group
  • Are you ready for your event? Here’s five things to check off before you meet.

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    1. Create an agenda

    • Set a clear schedule in your group description. If the group has set activities, note when members need to arrive. If it’s more of an open social hour, let people know.

    2. Secure a venue

    • Find some venue options. Contact management with your questions, and check if your members need specific accommodations.

    3. Send an message to those who said they’re coming.

    • Rely on your regulars — don’t be shy about asking them to help out.
    • Reach out personally to newcomers — developing a rapport encourages them to show up.

    4. Gather your supplies

    • Make signs, prepare name tags, and ensure you have everything else you need for your event to be successful.

    5. Welcome everyone

    • Get there early and greet people as they arrive. Introduce them to each other, and ask them thoughtful questions.

    You’re ready! Let’s do this.

    Checklist: Before your Meetup event
Organizing Basics
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  • Powerful things happen when people show up

    Making the most of your RSVPs
  • You did it. What’s next?

    1. Thank everyone!

    • Send personal messages and ask for feedback. Use event comments or discussions to start conversations.

    2. Update attendance.

    • If anyone was a No Show, follow up and let them know they were missed! Keep a positive attitude and invite them to your next event.

    3. Schedule the next event.

    • Get something on the calendar ASAP. If you don’t have the next one scheduled already, ask members to contribute ideas. Encourage people to RSVP while you’re talking in real life.

    4. Notify everyone about what’s next.

    • Send a mailing list message with any updates.

    5. Consider feedback.

    • Find out what everyone loved and what could be better next time. Was there too much coding and not enough coffee? Reevaluate and brainstorm on how to improve.
    Checklist: After your Meetup event
  • Congratulations! You’ve created a new group to bring people together IRL.

    People out there share your passion, but how will they find your group to make that connection happen? Good news: Meetup is here to help!

    Shayak Banerjee, senior engineer on the Machine Learning team at Meetup, shares some insights about how we use algorithms to help connect your new group with the members who are most likely to be interested in joining.

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    It all starts when you create your Meetup group

    When you create your group, you lay the foundation for finding members by choosing your group name, description, location, and topics. Think about what potential members are looking for in a Meetup group as you customize your group page to be clear, authentic, and welcoming.

    Next: your Meetup reviewer

    Once your new group is created, a community team member at Meetup HQ reviews the details (location, topics, name, and description). They’ll ensure everything aligns with our community guidelines, and may update your topics or filters to help you find your community.

    If you’re bringing together people with specific characteristics (e.g., Moms of Orange County or Kayaking for People in their 30s and 40s), the reviewer will set those filters in order to find them.

    Algorithms help

    The Meetup platform has tens of millions of users and processes close to 500+ new groups every day. Meetup balances the needs of organizers (publicizing new groups to encourage membership) with the needs of members (sending relevant emails). So how does Meetup actually determine which members to alert about your new group?  

    When you have this much data to sift through, it’s time to call in the machines. Over time, our computers get better at the task by using techniques known as “machine learning.”

    Clear and detailed information (like location, topics, title, and description) means better output from the machines. Here are some ways the computers can build on the information you enter to find your potential members:

    Location location location

    Since Meetup groups involve meeting in-person, location is a strong component of our algorithms.

    We use zip code, city, state, and country for groups and members to make a good match. We also look at other groups in the same zip code as you, their members, and where they come from.

    Expanding the list of topics

    Choosing topics is the best way for members to show interest in future groups. Our algorithms match members and groups that have selected the same topic. However, there are thousands of topics and an organizer can only pick 15 to define a group.

    Don’t stress—Meetup automatically expands the list of topics to best find members interested in your group. Let’s say you picked snorkeling as a topic for your group. Based on topics selected by other Meetup groups and members, the algorithm will spot an overlap between snorkeling and scuba diving. Our emails will then reach out to members interested in both snorkeling AND scuba diving, telling them about your new community!

    Getting specific

    Meetup considers member-entered information like age and gender when promoting groups with a designated demographic, like Kayaking for People in their 30s and 40s.

    However, not everyone specifies their age or gender, so Meetup may use clues like other groups they are part of, and the age/gender focus they have. The Machine Learning team is constantly refining and improving this process.

    Member activity

    Active members (those who RSVP, join groups, send messages, etc.) are more likely to consider joining new groups. As a result, new group announcements go to active, engaged members.

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    Let’s do it!

    Your Meetup matters. We’re excited to introduce your new group to potential members in your community and help you find your people!

    profile.jpg  Shayak Banerjee, Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Meetup.

    Finding your community: Insider tips
  • Whether it’s your first Meetup event or your hundredth, think about the experience you want to create.

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    Logistics

    Make sure your ideal place helps achieve your goals. You want to consider everyone’s needs.

    How many people are coming?

    What kind of space do you need for your activities?

    • Do you need room to dance? Do yoga?

    Do you need any specific amenities?

    • Internet access
    • A/V equipment
    • Secure storage space

    Do any of your members need accommodations?

    • Wheelchair accessibility
    • Family restrooms
    • Restrooms or space to change clothes

    Atmosphere

    Select a place where everyone will feel comfortable. Decide what atmosphere matches the goal of your event, and keep it in mind as you search for possible venues.

    If you’re meeting in a business, connect with management to let them know you’re coming. Encourage your members to be supportive by buying a beverage or a snack.

    What do you want your event to look like?

    • A book club discussion in a quiet and casual cafe
    • A facilitated discussion among entrepreneurs
    • A lively happy hour during a baseball game

    Resources

    Yelp: Yelp is a quick way to find opinions about local spaces. Yelp reviews often contains venue details you might not see on a space’s website. You can quickly crowdsource data about whether a place takes credit cards, has ample parking, and if it’s considered good for groups overall.

    Google Maps: You can use Google Maps to easily get a sense of the spaces in a local area. You can read user-created reviews, see what times a place is busiest, and see suggestions for other similar venues in the area.

    Crowdsourcing: The members of your group are passionate about the same thing you are, so they likely already have some good ideas about where to go. Ask them to share their ideas — you may find someone with a connection to the perfect space.

    Local community spaces: There are likely many community-oriented options available for minimal costs. If they match your desired atmosphere, try reserving time at one of these options.

    • Libraries
    • Community Centers
    • Rehearsal studios

    Whatever space you decide on, check it out in real life. Pictures, reviews, and recommendations can’t replace an actual experience.

    Finding the right venue for you
  • You’re finding your people and building a community — congrats!

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    There are a lot of ways you can deepen your relationships and elevate your community.

    Be welcoming online and IRL

    Communication builds trust and relationships. The way you interact with your members online is as important as the way you interact in person.

    • Welcome everyone: Your members are your guests; welcome them the way you’d welcome someone into your home. Create a welcoming routine that works for you. Send out an automated welcome message to every new member and introduce them to others by starting a conversation on the Meetup group’s homepage.
    • Be informative: Keep your members in the loop! Update your Meetup group’s events when times and locations change.
    • Be a resource: Your members are looking at you as their guide — make sure you are answering their questions and offering solutions consistently.

    Listen and collaborate

    Gathering feedback shows that you’re listening to your members.

    • Be open: Let your members know that you want to receive helpful feedback, and that you’re prepared to make positive changes. Listening and acknowledging their ideas means a lot.
    • Be honest: When gathering feedback, be honest by following up with your members about what you’re able change and why you might not implement some suggestions.
    • Be transparent: Acknowledge if you don’t have the answer to everything that comes up. Let your members know what your goals are and don’t be shy asking them for help.

    Build in socializing

    Even if your event is centered around a specific activity or presentation, create time for socializing. For example, if you’re all attending a movie together, make plans to meet at a nearby bar or coffee shop so everyone has time to make introductions. If you’re leading a presentation, set time on your agenda for open networking so everyone has a chance to make connections.

    Relationships take time. Keep at it. You’ll end up with the strong community you’re looking for.

    What makes community last?
Growing your Meetup
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  • As your community grows, it can be difficult to schedule events and manage communication by yourself.

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    Creating a leadership team can help:

    • Distribute the workload: Additional leaders allows you to delegate organizing responsibilities.
    • Encourage collaboration: Having more leaders empowers them to learn leadership skills and builds trust in your community.
    • Reward members: Assigning leadership roles is a great way to let a member know you love their passion and ideas.

    You decide how many other leaders you need and what responsibilities they should take on.

    Co-organizer:

    Your co-organizer(s) are your second-in-command. They embody your group's mission entirely.

    • If you want to put a co-organizer completely in charge of a local Meetup group, it’s important to establish a vetting process.
    • All co-organizers have permission to contact the other members, and change your group's appearance and privacy settings.

    Assistant organizer:

    Much like Co-organizers, Assistant organizers represent your community.

    • Ideal Assistant organizers collaborate with the rest of your leadership to plan events, maintain active communication, and encourage a friendly and warm community.
    • Assistant organizers are able to contact all members, but they’re not able to change or manage your group's appearance, privacy settings, or finances.

    Event organizer:

    If you find someone that has great ideas for events and would be a thoughtful host, consider making them an Event organizer.

    • Event organizers should be members that understand your group's vision and will only schedule events that align with it.
    • Their permissions are limited to managing the calendar and contacting members online, but they need to be people you trust at IRL events too.

    Identifying leaders

    Some of your members may tell you they want to be on your leadership team right away. In some cases, you’ll have to ask potential leaders yourself.

    Communicate the responsibilities you’d like for them to handle. Before selecting someone:

    • Do they represent your group's values? Find members that start conversations.
    • Do they contribute lots of ideas for events? Great leaders share actionable ideas and suggestions.
    • Who are your consistent cheerleaders? Pick them.

    You can find the steps to granting a member a leadership role in our Help Center.

    Building a leadership team
  • Creating your Meetup group is a great accomplishment. Keep up the momentum — you want a community, go find them!

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    Meetup’s new group announcements go out to members who have expressed interest in those topics you chose while you were creating your group, but that doesn’t mean those are the only people who would be a good fit.

    Be Social

    Get the word out!

    • Share your Meetup group's URL on Facebook and Twitter — you might have a friend of a friend who’s a perfect fit.
    • Create an Instagram handle or hashtag for your group, and encourage your members to post photos.
    • Share your group on other sites — for example, if you’re an active member of a video game discussion group, let people know you’ve started a group for IRL gaming.

    Get Found

    Google and other search engines crawl and record billions of public web pages, including Meetup. Just like you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo to find a variety of people, places, and things, the right members for your group are out there googling for their community. Make sure they can find you.

    • Create strong and unique event titles — place + adjective + activity is always a great formula
    • Link to your group social media pages — if you’ve made an Instagram or Twitter handle for your group, make sure it links to your group's homepage.
    • Have a clear description — your opening line should be one sentence that says exactly who your community is for, before you share the rest of the details.

    Communicate with your Community

    If you find yourself buying all your hiking gear at a particular store, ask them if they can hang a flyer for your group’s outdoor adventures. If you’re looking for other musicians for your jam sessions, ask some music organizations if they’ll share a link to your group in their newsletter.

    You can also try some more general community-oriented places to share your group details (with their permission, of course):

    • Libraries
    • Community Centers
    • College campuses
    • Coworking spaces
    • Coffee shops
    • Rehearsal studios

    Stay Active

    • Use your active members as your group's mouthpiece — ask them to bring friends along and keep spreading the news.
    • Schedule plenty of events — an active group shows prospective members that your community is real, and they’re making an impact. Give them plenty of opportunities to be welcomed into the fold.
    • Keep in mind, it’s common for groups to start small and form a tight knit community. Stay focused on your members, and you’ll keep finding your people.
    Promoting your Meetup group
  • Your event is on the calendar and people are coming! How do you get them to actually show up?

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    Communication is key: Let your people know you’re excited to spend time with them.

    Build trust before you meet

    • Post comments on the event's page. Ask questions: What brews are you looking forward to tasting? Has anyone hiked this trail before? Get the conversation going before you even see each other.

    Send personal messages to new members and first-timers

    • Let new members know there’s an event coming up.
    • Tell first-timers you’ll be looking for them and make sure you’ll know how to find each other. If they know you’ll be there with the welcome wagon, they’ll be less likely to bail.

    Get in touch with your attendees

    • Contact everyone that said they’re coming. Remind them you’re looking forward to debating the merits of the cold brew vs. iced coffee or that your new boots are ready to be broken in.
    • Balance your communications. Everyone has a full inbox — if you’re communicating too much, your most important messages will get lost (or your members may choose to not receive them at all). Keep it to one or two messages before an event.

    Make time for everyone at your event

    • If you get occupied running the show, ask your more outgoing members to help look out for newcomers.
    • If you have a leadership team, this is a great time for them to step up and help show your community’s values.

    Celebrate every Meetup event, no matter who turns up

    • Share photos afterward to celebrate the cool things you did or the new stuff you learned.
    • Ask for ideas for the next activity and have another event on the calendar for the newly-inspired to attend.
     
     
    How do I get people to show up?
  • On Meetup, there’s no standard model for a successful community.

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    Great Meetup groups look completely different, but there is one common thread: events that bring people together.

    A Meetup group can be many things — it’s a tight-knit group of five members who discuss a novel they’ve been reading, a group of fifty new runners training for their first race, dozens of entrepreneurs looking to learn from one another, or almost anything else you can imagine.

    Success means something different to every organizer. Decide what it looks like for you.

    What inspires your Meetup group?

    Do you have specific expectations you want your group to accomplish over time? These could be anything from running your first marathon to starting a business together.

    Perhaps you excel at a skill you want to share with the world. Your group can inspire others to try yoga, learn to paint, become a better public speaker, etc.

    Other groups are born out of shared interests or common experiences. Your group can be the social spark that brings other true crime fans, sports junkies, or expatriates together in real life.

    What’s the ideal size for your group?

    Maybe you want to create intimate conversations and trust with a few people, or perhaps you want to keep onboarding volunteers to drive your group's mission. Your goal could even be to create a community that ignites other communities across the world.

    Think about scaling your group, and how to create powerful events no matter who shows up.

    What kind of organizer do you want to be?

    Some organizers function like a ship’s captain. They share knowledge, own every event, and plot an exact course so everyone achieves their goals.

    Others create leadership teams and work with their trusted members to plan and schedule events, ensuring everything they do is teamwork.

    Your original vision of your Meetup group may change as your community grows and evolves, but it should inspire each decision you make.

     
    How do I make my Meetup group successful?
Meetup Organization Network logo

Interested in learning what it takes to build a great Meetup group? We’re excited to introduce you to the Organizer Network, a community of leaders who can help you take your group to the next level.

Join the org network
Stories and Inspiration
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  • Members join Meetup groups for a variety of reasons

    Members join Meetup groups to…

    • Learn something
    • Do something
    • Build relationships

    Your group has a connected, welcoming, and passionate community with common goals, and your groups homepage tells a story.

    Here are some way to make a group that encourages people to show up:

    DO: Have a welcoming and accurate description.

    Set expectations. A local book discussion or a coding class might be exactly what a potential member is looking for, but if your description is too short or overwhelming, they might not take the next step and join. Balance is key.

    Give potential members an idea of your group’s vibe. Be clear about what should they bring to the table when they attend your events, and what experiences they’ll leave with.

    DON’T: Overcrowd your description with rules.

    Focus on the positive qualities you want in your community and paint a picture of the members you want to join.

     

    DO: Choose photos that highlight your personality.

    Use a clear photo of yourself on your organizer profile. Having a good photo will let potential members know you’re a real person, and starts building trust before you meet.

    Select a cover photo for your group. If you don’t have group photos yet, that’s okay! Choose a photo that represents your group’s identity.

    DON’T: Use blank or generic photos.

    Having no photos on your profile or in your group is a missed opportunity! A great photo tells the story of who you and your members are.

    DO: Keep your calendar full of awesome events.

    When an event ends, get your next one scheduled ASAP. Collect suggestions for new activities and give your members something to look forward to. Find a consistent cadence that is right for you.

    DON’T: Schedule events you can’t attend.

    An automatically recurring event ensures your calendar stays packed, but you have to manage it. If you have an event you can’t attend, cancel it and update your members.

    The online aspects of your group help make your in real life experiences even better. Spend time making your group homepage the best it can be!

    Behind why members join Meetup groups
  • Being a Meetup organizer comes with many rewards

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    Learning new skills, honing old ones, achieving specific goals, and forming forever friendships—communities have the power to give back.

    New skills

    Yvonne, organizer of NYC Tiny House Build: Empowering Women/Girls Meetup, started her Meetup group after spending time wondering why she didn’t know how to use the tools she saw in her favorite home improvement show. She posted her first Meetup event with a simple premise in mind: Who wants to use a mortar saw with me?

    “I was a little afraid to use a mortar saw. So having these other women here helped me and made me feel like I wasn’t in this by myself. We were going to learn to do this together!”

    Many events later, her members wield mortar saws (and many other tools) with confidence. The rewards of her community have multiplied and evolved. “I started out saying we’re gonna learn how to use tools,” Yvonne said. “Now, we’re going to build a vehicle by which other women are going to learn from these women how to use tools.”

    Thriving communities

    Jace and Yasmin started Brick Oven Brooklyn with a singularly defined goal: find an available brick oven, and start cooking with other people. What started as a niche interest turned into a community that grew so much their single brick oven could no longer take the heat.

    They worked together to crowdfund a bigger oven, and now they’re able to host open baking events where anyone in their community can bring something to cook. The small cooking community they hoped to create has expanded to include anyone in the neighborhood that has something cook! Their current record is 94 pizzas in 3 hours.

    Strong friendships

    Not every Meetup organizer has the goal to make something new. Sometimes, communities are made around rediscovering something you used to love. Ryan created North Brooklyn Brass Band Collective to find other casual musicians who missed their high school band instruments. His only hope was to find an outlet for his music degree. Less than a year later, his group has grown from Sunday afternoon jam sessions to parade gigs. Ryan said “I have not, since school marching band, ever been a part of a group of such amazing and musical human beings. This Meetup [group] has become more than just a weekend activity; it’s actually become a family.“

    Being a Meetup organizer comes with plenty of rewards you’ll expect, and several that’ll surprise you.

    The rewards of organizing
  • Priya Parker, author of "The Art of Gathering"

    Why your Meetup events matter
  • Time to meet your members IRL!

    My first Meetup event
  • Create connections among everyone

    Get your community talking
  • Go after what you want to do

    Meetup events that make an impact