Make your meetups more sustainable

Sometimes our Write the Docs meetup organizers launch a successful meetup, only to find they struggle to sustain their meetup in the long-term. The hardest part in sustaining a meetup is organizing the events – especially as many organizers are also juggling a full-time job, families, and other important commitments.

Follow these principles to increase the chances that your meetup stands the test of time.

Minimal Viable Meetup checklist

  • Host a maximum of ten meetups per year. You can skip August and December, since most people are on vacation at that time, or taking a break from their usual activities.
  • Regular meetups help people plan their commitments. Host your meetup at the same time every month – eg the first Wednesday, or another specific date.
  • Try to host your meetup in a regular event space to minimize the need to spend time finding new spaces.
  • If you can’t find a local speaker for each meetup, consider screening a popular talk from one of our past Write the Docs conferences and inviting the conference presenter to call in for a live Q & A session.
  • Alternatively, consider hosting a regular informal ‘docs and drinks’ to keep the momentum going with your attendees – these can involve either alcohol or coffee.
  • Bring in at least two main organizers for your meetup (including yourself). This helps shoulder the burden of organizing and stops you burning out.
  • Check your scheduling won’t clash with an overlapping meetup that might attract away your attendees.
  • Even if you haven’t had a meetup in a while, just pick yourself back up and schedule another one when you can.
  • At each meetup, highlight the Write the Docs Code of Conduct. We have a short form CoC available for meetups.

Nice-to-haves

  • You can set up a twitter account for your meetup to help you promote it and engage attendees.
  • Promote your meetup at other related events. Send out reminders for your events through meetup, or over Twitter if you can.
  • Create a dedicated website to share information about your meetup.
  • Find the potential helpers in your group and make them volunteers. Give them jobs to do – eg welcoming attendees or fielding questions.
  • Partner with other parallel meetups to share resources – eg meetups just outside of your geographical area. You can also partner with crossover meetups in industry areas such as APIs, Agile, Programming languages, UI, Content Strategy or QA.