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Meetup Organizer Timeline

A meetup event for 10-100 people can be organized in just a few weeks. Here’s a suggested timeline to help make it easy to plan.

3-4 weeks before:

  • Check out existing meetup groups in your area. Should your group be independent, or does it make sense to present at an existing group’s meeting first?
  • If you’re starting your own, find a place to host the meetup. Tech companies are often willing to host meetups in their offices after hours for free; bars or restaurants with meeting areas are also a good choice. Be sure they have the AV setup you need (projection, audio, etc.) or be prepared to rent or borrow the necessary equipment.
  • Pick a date and time. Weekday evenings, excluding Friday, are popular.
  • Reach out to people who may be interested in speaking at your meetup. If you don’t know who might speak, try:
  • People who are active in online forums relevant to the meetup subject area.
  • People who work at companies that use the technology or product.
  • Having your first meeting be a working group, where people bring their projects, collaborate, and ask questions.
  • Create an event page on a site like Meetup.com, Eventbrite, Splash, or Facebook to let people know about the event and gather RSVPs. Include information like:
  • What topics the group will cover.
  • Who is speaking at the first meeting, with details about their talk.
  • Location, date and time information, and agenda.
  • Any expectations about what people should know before coming.
  • Once the event page is in place, begin working on outreach.
  • Invite people in related meetup groups.
  • Ask any local partners or groups to invite their networks.
  • Post announcements on event boards.
  • Ask the event host or other relevant groups to tweet or blog about your meetup. For example, an independent Parse meetup would get a shoutout from @ParseIt on Twitter.

One week before:

  • Check in with speakers that their content is ready; offer help if needed.
  • Post more information to the attendees through the registration page or group; encourage people to post questions for discussion and introduce themselves ahead of time.

2-3 days before:

  • Send out a reminder Tweet, Facebook post, or email to registrants.
  • Think about and produce any necessary signage for the space. This may include directions to the check in area, bathrooms, or the food. It doesn’t have to be fancy—a sheet of paper with an arrow will do.

Day of:

  • If you’re tracking attendance, print a list of the people who have RSVPed so you can check them in. Some event organization tools offer this checklist as part of their apps.
  • Make sure you have registration materials you need—do you need name tags? If you’re in an office, will people need to be chaperoned?
  • Order food and drink, if needed.
  • Get in the space early to check on setup and connectivity.
  • Make sure wireless information is clearly posted in a place that is easy to see and will not move

Post-Event followup (within 1 week):

  • Thank people for coming, and your speakers for presenting.
  • Gather feedback on the content quality and suggestions for next topics in the group.
  • Set a date for the next meeting.