I want to share my experiences with the first community meetup in Vienna, held by the Austrian Fairphoners on 17. December 2014. Please imitate us!
Find people, who want to organize a meetup with you. It is always easier together! Then invite as many people as possible because only a small precious amount of people will go to your first meetup! We invited Fairphone users and also people, who did not own a FP at that point, but were interested in the movement.
- You could, e.g. create a topic here in the forum, asking if there are people in your area, who want to meetup. Bear in mind most forum visitors aren’t here as frequently as you are, so make the topic return to the top of the forum a few times in order to bring the topic back into attention. Your topic will get to the top again whenever the latest reply is (even just slightly!) edited or a new reply is added.
- Also friends and family are always a good target group.
- For future meetings, it can make sense to team up with an established local organization that might be willing to adopt a Fairphone meeting as their event. This way it will be shared on their own communication channels and attract much more attention.
- Post the invitation (more later) in various groups on Facebook (local community, collaborative organizations, voluntary groups you are part of, study program, …).
- Edit: Make a newspaper announcement (more below).
Find a place, where you have one big table for your meetup, preferably in a quiet and neutral location, like a restaurant on Mondays or Tuesdays. A Christmas fair is definitely not a good idea! (This was our big mistake).
- You should not hold a meetup before Christmas. Holidays are also not a good idea. And possibly exam season (late January/late June) should be avoided. The best months to me seem to be March to May and September to November. Generally choose a time, where collective work load is low and few people are too busy for a meetup.
- We held our meetup at 6 pm, which seems a good time of day.
A little time line:
- We fixed a date about a month earlier so that there was enough time to prepare everything and invite the people.
- Communicate your date here on the forum and on the Fairphone webpage.
- As a tool for invitations we used Facebook only to find out, that half of the people at the meetup do not have an account there.
Great tip from @urs_lesse:
- Two weeks before the meetup I drew up a plan consisting of three parts:
- Contents of the meetup (e.g. information you are going to provide, experience you are going to share, …)
- Organizational stuff (e.g name plates, contact list (!!!), camera, …)
- Things to do after the meetup (e.g. tell us here in the forum how it went ;), send an email + photo to the people who attended, …)
- One week before the meetup my friend and I met to go through everything again and think up a schedule of the meetup (what comes first, what happens when, …)
- Meet with your organizing team an hour or so before the actual meetup to prepare everything and get accustomed to the location. In this hour you should also take time to write a little post on the forum, to make your thread appear further up in the topic list (so that people, who are searching for your meetup, can find it more easily).
Things you should keep in mind during the whole process of planning your meetup:
- Always assign every task to a specific member of your organizing team! If nobody feels responsible for e.g. bringing a camera, there will be no camera at your meetup!
- Be in contact with the Fairphone team (@rae) and let them know about your plans.
- Bump your topic in the forum! (See above: “Who”)
- At the actual meetup you will throw your whole plan overboard and improvise because nothing will be as expected. (At the day of our first Austrian meetup there was a minor traffic accident and trains were not going. I arrived 5 minutes before the meetup started…)
The purpose of our first meetup in Vienna was to meet other Fairphoners and have nice talks with like-minded people. Also we wanted to spread Fairphone’s word and raise awareness for its cause.
- Do a round of introductions (Where do you come from?, What is your fair background?, Is the FP your first smart phone?, …). Be creative; we, for example, had a map, where everyone indicated there place of origin with a little sticker.
- Talk about your experience with the FP, what do you think about it? What are the things, which should be improved, in your point of view? (Be controversial, FP exists to bring up discussions!)
- Watch videos and share materials provided by Fairphone and their partners.
- If attendees are willing, ask them to add their email address to a list (I do mean a pen & paper list) you can use to invite them to a future meetup. Don’t forget to include people in your list who inquire about the meeting, but cannot make it for scheduling reasons. Build your email list from meeting to meeting, but treat the data confidentially (send invitations using BCC: addresses, not TO:).
Discuss ideas below this post and if you have helpful improvements feel free to edit this post (Wiki Posts Explained).
I hope you find this useful and it motivates you to also hold a community meetup in your area!
PS.: Some ideas are taken from Mashable. You should definitely read this article to gain a first overview!