Organizing Basics
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  • Thinking about starting a Meetup group? Here are 3 tips to help you get you started.

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    Starting a Meetup group is a great way to meet new people, teach a skill, grow a business, or build the community you’re hoping to find. Here are a few tips to help you start thinking about what your group could be.

    Do some research

    Have a fuzzy idea for what your group will be about? Start by doing some research on Meetup’s platform. Search for groups in your local area—or even worldwide—that are meeting about topics you’re interested in. You might get some ideas from groups that exist on the other side of the world.

    Try something quirky

    A lot of groups on Meetup combine two interests or have a unique twist that defines their group. If you’re trying to create a group that will stand out, try combining two things you love: Wine and Woodworking, Pints & Purls, Meditate with Your Dog, and IPAs and APIs are just a few examples of groups that stand out from the pack.

    Keep it simple

    Starting a Meetup group doesn’t need to be complicated and doesn’t need to be a full-time commitment. If you’re just hoping to connect with new people, try something simple like:

    A neighborhood walk every Wednesday night
    Meeting over a drink or a coffee to talk or practice a hobby together
    Seeing a new movie together once a month

    Ready to get started?

    Ideas for creating a Meetup group
  • Whether you're hosting your first event or your 100th, Priya Parker shares simple advice for making your next event successful—beginning with the invitation. As the author of "The Art of Gathering," Priya is an expert on bringing people together to have more meaningful, memorable experiences.  

    Priya Parker, author of "The Art of Gathering" (This video has subtitles) 

    Setting the tone

    Crafting an invitation is the first step to hosting a successful event. When you write the event description, don't stop at the basic logistical details. Add some personality to help guests understand who you are, what your intentions are for the event, and what you hope they can take away from it. It can be scary to show up to an event where you don't know anyone, so ensuring your guests that this will be a friendly, welcoming event will help them feel more comfortable showing up.

    Most hosts make this mistake
  • Create a Meetup group that attracts the right people

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    Ready to start your Meetup group? Here are a few tips for creating a successful group.

    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 help share it with members that have similar interests to the topics you selected.

    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
  • Watch as a new Meetup organizer hosts her first event.

    Meet Marci, a new Meetup organizer of a volleyball group. After creating her group and seeing new members join, it’s time to actually host the first event.

    My first Meetup event
  • 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
  • Every Meetup group grows and evolves differently. Some of the most active and successful Meetup groups started with just a few people. Whether you have 3 members or 300 members, keeping your members active is the best way to ensure your Meetup’s success. Here are some suggestions to keep your members engaged.

    Ask them to RSVP. It sounds simple, but it's surprisingly effective: ask your members to take a moment and RSVP for your next event. You can send an email to your members to let them know that there's an event coming up on the Calendar, or message some of your members to ask that they RSVP. Or both. Let your members know that you expect and appreciate their RSVPs.

    Set a limit on how many people can come. This one is a little sneaky: having a limit on the number of people who may come is a good way to put (gentle) pressure on your members to make a decision now. If they don't RSVP right away, they risk not being able to come at all. (Remember: as the Organizer, you can increase the limit you set as the date gets closer if you'd like.)

    Put RSVPs on a deadline. When you're scheduling your event, you can set a date and time after which new 'Yes' RSVPs are not permitted. This one isn't quite as effective as limiting the number of open slots, but it can be used to encourage folks to RSVP now and not later.

    Require a small fee. Some organizers find that if members are required to pay membership dues or a small fee for the event, they will be more committed to attending events. Even a single dollar can encourage a stronger commitment from members. 

    Let members know exactly what to expect. Clear descriptions for your events are important. The more details you can give your members, the more likely they are to RSVP. Some important things to include:

    - What will you be doing at your event?
    - Will it be an activity? A discussion? A presentation?
    - Do members need to bring anything?
    - Who should come? Are newcomers welcome?
    - How long will the event be?

    Diversify your events. Are there members who consistently can't attend Meetups because the recurring dates conflict with their schedules? Take them into consideration. If your Meetup usually meets on weekday nights, try scheduling a Meetup for a weekend to see how it goes. Are your Meetups usually lectures? Try having one Meetup that’s just an opportunity for members to socialize around their shared interest! Mixing it up a bit helps keep everyone engaged. 

    Schedule bring-a-friend events. Think of them as membership drives. Encourage your members to bring someone they know who may be interested. New members may feel more comfortable attending events with someone that they're already familiar with, and fresh faces can add new energy to a Meetup group.

    Decide what you will do if members don't RSVP. You may decide that inactive members should be removed from your Group after x number of months. Or maybe it's best for your Group if folks who RSVP 'yes' and don't show up more than some set number of times are removed.

    Whatever you decide, make your policy clear to your members, and stick to it.

    Need more inspiration for your group? Check out the Organizer Guide.

    How do I get members to participate?
Growing your group
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  • 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?
  • 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
  • As your community grows, it can be difficult to schedule events and manage communication by yourself. Learn how to add members to your leadership team.

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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.
    Building a leadership team
  • 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?
  • There is no big secret to improving your search rankings on the Meetup site or in search engines like Google. The best way to make your way to the top is by ensure your Meetup group's pages have interesting, relevant, and useful information about your group. Search algorithms base their results on things they think will be be the best and most useful match to someone searching a specific keyword.

    Using your group’s Topics section will help both the search engines and people searching know just what you’re about. Tagging topics that are relevant to your group will increase the chances of interested members finding you.

    You’ll find your topics on your group’s homepage, under the What we’re about section. Topics don’t have to be permanent. You can change the topics for your group at any time. Give your group some leverage by editing your Meetup group's topics.

    The more specific information you provide in your topics, the easier it will be for people and search engines to find you.

    We’ve thought of a few things you can do to make sure you're showing off what your Meetup group is most passionate about.

    Include your location and create your group’s name based off of your main topic

    We all like to be creative, but for search engine purposes, the ideal group name is super simple and reflects exactly what your group is about. We’ve come up with an easy formula to help get you started on ideas.

    Create a short summary in the beginning of your group description

    Think of it like telling a friend about something your really passionate about. Only summarize the most exciting and important parts.

    When we say short, we mean around 100 characters: "We are romance novel enthusiasts who meet at a local coffee shop to discuss books and authors we love." That's it.

    Keeping it short and sweet will help grab the attention of the user who finds you in a search, and they’ll understand what clicking on the link to your group will take them to. You don’t want anyone confused on their first impression of you.

    Flesh out your group description with good and thoughtful details

    The rest of your group description should include details about who should join the group, what members can expect, and what sorts of activities you do. Head on over for more inspiration of what makes a good group description.

    You don’t have to tell your group’s whole life story to the world. Make sure you've got relevant information in there, but there's no need to go overboard. This can cause potential members who come across your group to feel overwhelmed. You’re group description is not carved in stone, and you can edit it at any time.

    Bonus points: link to your group from other places around the web

    One way search engines decide whether any particular site is useful is by checking to see if other sites on the internet are linking to it. Post a link to your group from your blog, or get other folks to post a link to your group from their sites.

    Don't lose sleep over this step -- it's useful, but try not to go overboard. You don’t want people thinking the group to your link is spam.

    Don’t try to cheat

    There are people who try to game the system with things like lists of invisible keywords or repeating content. Don't be one of those people. Lists of keywords or garbled text are not helpful for potential members trying to figure out whether they'd like to join the group or not. Search engines want users to be happy when they click on the link to read more. They don’t want to see a user clicking, then hitting the back button because the link wasn’t relevant to what they were looking for.

    Repetitive content, 'non-human language', and other things designed just to trick the search engines can get your group de-listed and removed from the search results entirely. That goes for search engines, as well as the search functions on the Meetup site. We want everyone in our community to play fair and by the rules.

    SEO for your Meetup group
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
  • Create connections among everyone

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

    Meetup events that make an impact
  • Priya Parker, author of "The Art of Gathering"

    Use risk to sustain your community