Running a meetup requires sponsors, speakers and attendees. What does each bring to the table and which is the most important?
This is part two in a series of posts about running meetups. If you’re late to the party, make sure to check out the first post and go from there.
Sponsors, or hosts, are the people & companies that offer you the venue, and maybe food and drinks. Just like you, the organizer, have a reason for running the meetup, they have a reason for hosting and it’s important to understand what that is. There are good & bad reasons for hosting meetups and we’ll talk about those later.
Speakers give talks and are why people show up for the first time. In addition to giving a brief introduction about the company, you should encourage sponsors to provide a speaker who can give a full blown talk. That way, they get more exposure and you have one less speaker to worry about.
Attendees are the people that take part in the events and make up your community. Speakers may be the reason why people show up, but other attendees is why they stay. As such, attendees are by far the most important part of the equation.
In fact, you don’t even need sponsors or speakers to have a good event (just don’t tell them that!). You can meet at the local bar or cafe & have a free-form discussion or just do demos. Having your events regularly is key to growing your community, so if on occasion you don’t have the time to find a sponsor and speakers, just put on one of these events instead.
At HelsinkiJS, we’ve organized at least one BeerJS a year. They’ve been great bang for the buck: super easy to organize and fun for everyone to attend. So, maybe all you really need to run a meetup is beer!
Update: the next post in the series can be found here.