For quite a long time, I have thought that it would be helpful to exchange and discuss experiences we have had with local Fairphone community meetups so far. I invite those of you who already organized and held meetups to contribute your own experience and impressions. What works, what doesn’t? Any ideas, any questions, any know-how that can be shared?
I want to start this with my own suggestions and experiences with one point that I find needs more attention:
Advertising your Fairphone meetup
If you want your Fairphone meetup to get noticed not just by the limited number of „usual suspects“, but to reach out to people who haven’t heard of your local group yet and might be interested, here are some ideas. On a side note, I recommend to spend more time on this than on scheduling votes and discussions.
Fairphone Community Forum
A forum event announcement has the major advantage that you can still edit and update the announcement later (which you can not or only with delay do on most of the following channels) and that you can include contact info completely according to your needs. I recommend to include an email address if you want to allow people without a forum account to get in touch with you – it’s the only channel of communication that every single forum visitor has access to.
For details of the forum event tool, have a look here: The forum’s new event tool(s) 2022
Fairphone’s events page
This offers an overview of upcoming events Fairphone staff will participate in, but also meetups organized by the Fairphone community. The page is relatively static and cannot be „subscribed“ to or fed into RSS feeds or the like; website visitors will only seldom notice an event there. However, it tends to be picked up by search engines and tends to rank high in their results, so it can still pay off to submit your event to it. Just submit your details (via email) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I strongly suggest you provide a link to your event announcement in the Fairphone Community Forum (see above). This allows people to find updates or alterations to your meetup in time, and it also allows people who find out about the event (too) late to get in touch with you and your group anyway.
Please note it can take a while until Fairphone staff finds the time to bring your event online, so submitting your event there should be the very first thing to do right after the forum announcement. If it’s not online after 3-4 days, contact [to be updated] by email.
Fairphone is happy to share or retweet your event announcement on their social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) – email@example.com is your go-to person here. If you create a formal „Facebook event“, Fairphone can add it to their own event calendar on Facebook. Fairphone will also (if you ask them to) share or retweet your forum announcement of your event if you don’t want to use social media yourself, but this will only feature prominently on their social media channels temporarily and sink down once other new posts are added.
I have made very good experience with announcing meetups in the local newspaper(s). It keeps bringing new people to our local group, even when they cannot make it to the meetup. I have had people contacting me days or even weeks after a meetup telling me they could not attend, but were still interested. Note: Newspapers almost exclusively reach people of middle or higher age, so be prepared that they often come with rather modest knowledge about smartphone basics (but also more funds to afford a Fairphone ).
Find out the email address of the newspaper’s local affairs department and send them a brief draft on what your event is about and the key facts (exact date and time and exact venue). Bear in mind: Once/if they print it, you naturally cannot change the announcement anymore. So if the basics of your meetup change later, readers will probably miss those changes. This is why you should always include a contact email address („for further information“ or similar) in your draft as well.
When formulating your text, I recommend to emphasize the original Fairphone „mission“ (tackling poor working conditions in sourcing raw materials and in the industry, conflict minerals, sustainability etc.) and rather not or hardly the phone as a „product“ – because the latter might make newspaper staff regard/treat your draft as commercial advertisement that would rather belong in their PAID advertising section (and thus require hefty payment). „Fairphone wants to offer an alternative to …“ is how I usually try to avoid such cliffs.
Last but not least: Make it as easy as possible for newspaper staff to take over your draft. Newspaper staff loves submissions they don’t need to work on themselves. So don’t forget the most important things (date/time, venue, contact info) and keep it short (unlike what you are reading here …). If you need inspiration, you can find a couple of these announcements (in the final shape that newspaper staff gave them) in the Aachen community’s topic (in German only, sorry ).
Many cities and towns also issue monthly or bi-monthly free magazines about city life, concerts and other events that include long event calendars. My experience so far has been that having a meetup listed in these did not seem to be noticed much (these event calendars often give just 3-4 or even fewer very short lines for an event). And given their release rhythm, your event can usually only be included when you submit it early in the month before release (sometimes even before the 1st of the month before release).
Reminders (concerns points 1 and 3)
Make sure your first announcement of an upcoming event is not the final one as well. You can never underestimate how few and rarely people visit the Forum and notice our posts. So I recommend to bring your event back into people’s attention or rather increase the likelihood they will notice it at all by a second, third or fourth attempt (depending on how much time is left until the event). It doesn’t take much to get your forum topic back to the top – if your own post is still the last one in your event topic, all you need to do is a minor edit of that post. You might want to do so at various times (i.e. sometimes on a working day, sometimes on a weekend, not always at the same clock time of the day). Of course it can never hurt if you have anything substantial to add to the post, but you don’t need to be afraid to just bump it to the top for the sake of having it back in the spotlight.
On social media, make sure to post at least one reminder a few days before the event. If you find the time, co-ordinate with @Ingo / @urs_lesse and firstname.lastname@example.org when it comes to Twitter (and with the Marta again when it comes to Facebook).
P.S.: I am not including these lengthy suggestions in the existing ✏ Tips on how to organize your (first) Fairphone community meetup for now because I think it’s a bit premature to generalize my own singular experience. I mainly want to start a continuous exchange of experiences between meetup hosts.