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Thoughts and experiences from meetup organizing

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.

  1. Fairphone Community Forum
    Create an event announcement in the Fairphone Community Forum’s Participate | Local section right after having set the venue and the date. Avoid incomplete announcements that only include a date – don’t overestimate how often others check the forum. In order to make your event show up in the Agenda and the Community Map (the following day), please don’t forget to “attach” date & time and venue to your starting post (if you don’t find the entry spaces from this screenshot, ask a “Regular” or “Leader” forum member for help with this. Edit by @Stefan: Most importantly, click “Find Adress” and choose one of the suggestions there. Otherwise your meetup will not have coordinates and will not show up on the map.):

    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.

  2. 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: lora :slight_smile: fairphone•com. 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 quite 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 Lora by email or @rae by a direct message.

  3. Social media
    Fairphone is happy to share or retweet your event announcement on their social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). Rae or Lora are your go-to persons here. If you create a formal „Facebook event“, Fairphone can add it to their own event calendar on Facebook which gives the event quite a lot of visibility on their Facebook page for the whole period until the event happens. 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.

  4. Local media
    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 :wink: ).
    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 :frowning: ).
    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).

  5. 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 and @Lora or @rae when it comes to Twitter (and with the latter two 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.

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Thanks for your advise and thanks for starting the discussion!

Although I understand and support the idea to keep this discussion here I still don’t know how to integrate all “primary organizers” into the discussion.
E.g. @MrsMorgendorffer organizes Múnich and is not in the angels group.

Regarding annoncement:
The Múnich meeting is also published in Meetup and various participants have said that they came after finding the meeting there.

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I think both @MrsMorgendorffer and @Marie1 could be included in the Angels forum section (without necessarily including them in the Angels group of the forum – see myself or BertG).

I added some more info on formal requirements of event announcements in the forum (point 1 above).

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Thank you, @urs_lesse for the thorough write-up! Just some quick thoughts from my side: Fairphone events page is indeed important. Many times people have told us that they saw the meetup on the events page when they were randomly browsing the Fairphone homepage.

What also draws a lot of attention to our meetups in Vienna is the Angels program, and especially @paulakreuzer meeting up with people and providing spare parts.


That would require making them @trust_level_4 , I think. :thinking: What do the @moderators think?

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Anyone got a good idea what location/venue to attach to a videoconference event so that the event shows in all calendars/event lists/maps (even where an event location is a hard requirement)?

EDIT: In the meantime:

I’m reviving this and making it a public topic because it seems to me we have quite a few Angels & Activists now who haven’t achieved the formal trust level yet and might like to join the (hopefully starting :wink: ) exchange of experiences. Think of this as an exchange of “best practices”.

I’ve also made a few edits to my first post, most importantly: There is no longer a website form for Events - Fairphone event submissions, you need to email Lora your event details instead.

P.S.: If anyone finds stuff in my first post that shouldn’t be out in public, let me know :angel:

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Handy local community URLs

A few of us recently had Fairphone set up easy-to-memorize URLs that redirect to our local community topics in this forum, e.g. hamburg.fairphone.community, aachen.fairphone.community, gothamcity.fairphone.community or grenoble.fairphone.community (just click to find out what the local community topics look like :slight_smile: ). If you are running such a local community yourself and want this for your community as well, just let me (or someone else of the usual suspects) know and I can arrange things with Fairphone. Just bear in mind you need a “home” topic in the forum first.

One suggestion: If your community’s place/town/region has more than one way to write it, feel free to include these alternative ways to write or spell it, too (e.g. nuuk.fairphone.community + godthåb.fairphone.community + godthab.fairphone.community or: saintpetersburg.fairphone.community + leningrad.fairphone.community or already existing: munich.fairphone.community + münchen.fairphone.community + muenchen.fairphone.community). I would still recommend to later use just one of these in public, the alternative ways are just to “catch” searchers trying the other ways of writing it.

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