Set-Up

Getting a local group set up should be easy, and we hope that we can help you set up a local NetSquared group quickly and painlessly. It’s exciting to bring community together and we are excited every time an organizer steps forward to get another city connected to the network of groups around the world.

Those interested in starting a NetSquared group usually submit via the online form, or contact us directly via emailor in person (at a conference or event). Eli van der Giessen is the primary contacts for all organizers around the world. They respond to all requests, provide information and answer questions for those interested in starting a group, via email, chat, and phone. Our goal is to be sure the organizer is confident and comfortable and has all the resources he or she needs before diving in.

You can find more information about tools that organizers use in the rest of this wiki, especially in the section titled Growing Your Community.

Available Resources

NetSquared provides a few different resources for organizers, including:

Case Studies

Creating Initial interest:

  • Surveying your community: London, UK – Amy Sample Ward – I’ve found that sending out an email to friends, colleagues, networks, and listservs with a short message that a group is starting, and an invitation to provide feedback via a survey (created for free with SurveyMonkey or other tools), can both start spreading the word about the group and create opportunity for participation right away as potential members are able to help shape the group. What helped me most was that the survey let me find people I didn’t already know, thanks to posting the message to related email lists and groups. The questions I asked helped me ensure that the group would attract the most people by identifying the times most were available to attend, the topics people were interested in so on. I’ve recommended it to other groups since and they have agreed it’s helped them, too! I’ve posted an example survey here.

  • Surveying the group and then reassessing: Baltimore, MD – Kate Bladow – In Baltimore, we surveyed the community and scheduled the meetings based on the responses. For a new group, our attendance wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. Mid-year, we realized that many of the people who were coming to the meetups were not the people we originally surveyed. We followed up with another survey. Based on those results, we changed both the location and the meeting times. Since then we’ve had strong growth
  • Getting people to actually respond to your survey: Boston, MA – Persistence is often the key to getting enough responses to your community survey to feel comfortable taking action on it. Kat Friedrich has shared her strategy and email templates for her 2012 survey.
  • Merging with a similar meetup group: Portland, OR, USA –Donna Arriaga – In 2009, Portland’s NetTuesday merged with the local Portland NTEN 501 Tech Club under the joint name PDXTech4Good. Ultimately, connecting NetTuesday with 501 Tech Club was a natural transition that allowed for greater collaboration and more effective use of resources. Three core factors contributed to the decision to merge these two meetups into one:
    1. There was significant crossover in NetTuesday and 501 Tech Club meetup topics.
    2. Many of the same community members attended both meetups.
    3. Meeting organizers were deeply invested and dedicated to the success of both NetTuesday and 501 Tech Club. In particular, Anna Richter of NTEN was already helping to co-organize both NetTuesday and 501 Tech Club events.

  • Co-presenting an event with another group: Vancouver, BC – Eli van der Giessen – the biggest bursts in growth for the Vancouver meetup have come when we’ve co-presented with other groups. The co-presenters bring their own networks and supporters, and once they’ve joined your meetup group, they’ll stay.

  • Spinning off from a nearby NetSquared group: Lafayette, LA, USA – Mike Baldwin – I initially met Jessica Rohloff (Net2NO organizer) at a Lafayette tech event and she invited me to start attending their meetings. After several months, I decided that Lafayette could benefit from having a monthly meeting as well. I consulted with Jessica and Damien Lamanna, who gave me great advice in how to start the meetings and some of the pitfalls (so that I could avoid them!) We have invited Net2NO members to attend our meetings as well as present which they have graciously accepted. At the time of writing we’re still working on how we can collaborate more but having a sister city definitely helps in starting a new chapter.