Starting a User Group, Entry #4

by Jason Haley 14. March 2009 08:19

Last entry in this series (Starting a User Group, Entry #3) was before the first meeting.

The other day, I had someone email me about finding out more detail on what it took to get the first meeting to happen … after emailing her back I figured other people might also want to know, so here is the raw details of getting to the first meeting of Seattle.Net (some of this repeats items listed in previous “Starting a User Group” entries):

  1. Found a couple of good connections to get speakers at Microsoft
  2. Picked a name for the group and got the url
  3. Started looking for locations (costs are a bit tricky downtown major cities) – got a good idea of the costs of at least 3 locations
  4. Setup the email and web site
  5. Emailed several user group leaders I know for advice
  6. Setup a group on google groups
  7. Contacted other user groups in the area to introduce my plans and make more contacts
  8. Set a date for the first meeting
  9. Finalized the location
  10. Finalized the speaker
  11. Talked with some people I know who organize meetings on how measure food and drinks for a group (~5-6 people = 1 2liter of soda and 1 large pizza)
  12. Gathered support for donations on the pizza/drinks through some contacts I had made
  13. Once the speaker gave me the presentation information – put together the announcement for my blog and the site’s blog
  14. Emailed at least 100 people invites (people I know and other developers at my company) … asking for an rsvp for pizza count
  15. Talked with the local manager at pizza place to get me a good deal on pizzas
  16. Calculated from the rsvps and rounded up to end up with and estimate for 20 -30 people (so I ordered 5 pizzas)

Total days between start and actual date was something like 3 months.  I spent a couple of nights a week writing emails to user group leaders, possible attendees and possible speakers during those 3 months … so the tally is something like this:

  • My time spent: ~140 – 160 hours of emailing, phone calls, general networking, putting website together
  • Facilities cost: ~$100 for first meeting HVAC cost only (getting work to pay for it if all goes well)
  • Food/Drinks cost: ~$80 for 25 people (getting sponsors to pay for it if all goes well)
  • Web site hosting and domain for 1 year: ~$100 (mostly out of my pocket currently)

Some links I found useful:

Tips and Thoughts on Founding A User/Developers Group
Start and Build A Successful User Group
my 21 thoughts on starting a user group
Start Up! Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Computer User Group
The User Group Community Activity

Comments (0) | Post RSSRSS comment feed |


Comments are closed