Organizing Basics

Help with creating your Group name right through to scheduling your first Meetup

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

    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 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
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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
  • You’re in. It’s time to make IRL plans.

    What are you loving right now? What do you want to do? Your first Meetup event is where you make it happen.

    The steps to scheduling an event are easy, so keep your momentum going and get something on the calendar. Find inspiration from your surroundings, other Meetup groups, or ask your new members if they have any cool ideas. Getting them involved from the beginning creates trust, and they’ll be more likely show up when the time comes.

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    First events don’t need to be hiking Mt. Everest. It’s fine to keep it low-key while you’re still getting to know each other.

    • Select Create event from your Meetup group’s homepage
    • Name your event (be clear and concise!)
    • Select when the event will start
    • Pick where you’ll be — you can choose from your fav venues or look up a different one
    • Upload a photo (choose something that captures the spirit of your group!)
    • Let your members know what will happen, what to bring, how they’ll find you, etc.
    • Decide who will be hosting
    • Select Publish
    • Select Announce — your members will receive an email encouraging them to attend!
    Scheduling your first event
  • 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?
  • If you decide to close your Meetup group, all group history and information will be completely removed from the platform. This includes photos, discussions, and member lists. We encourage organizers to let members know ahead of time about a group closure. That way, everyone has time to preserve the memories and friendships they’ve made along the way. Alternatively, organizers should consider nominating another group member to take their place as organizer. Then interested members will have the chance to continue meeting up.

    While Meetup does not accommodate exporting group information, members and organizers are welcome to save content manually.

    • For written content, such as group or Meetup descriptions, welcome messages, discussions, and mailing list messages, we recommend copying and pasting the content into a document, either onto a cloud storage program like Google Drive or into a file on your own computer.
    • For photos, you can download them or take screenshots from a group album and save them to your computer or device.
    Saving content from a group
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