How to Organize a Joomla! User Group Meeting
For the Polish Joomla community, last year was a revolution! From December 2013 to June 2014 our community organized six new Joomla User Group meetings. I want to share our model of creating awesome JUG meetings so that it can help others, and for them to see how to do JUG meetings for free (without any cost).
Every JUG meeting is different and everything depends on the creativity of organizers and members to try all ideas and see what works for you. This article explains what worked for the Polish JUG. If you are just starting a JUG, or thinking of doing so, the following steps may help you.
Visualize how you want your meeting to look and be organized. If you want to have lectures with speakers, see below for more steps that may be useful for you.
- Find people who are interested in Joomla! in your area (city, region). You can use social media to find them.
- Find somebody to help you. Having a co-organizer is helpful since there are many logistics to plan. You will need a second contact in order to register your JUG in an upcoming step.
Consider a venue where you can have the meeting. Maybe you are have graduated from or a student of college in your area? Perhaps you work in office and the owner will allow you use of a room for x number of people? Or maybe you are affiliated with a school and can get a classroom for a meeting? Whatever venue you find, you will need a slide projector and internet connection. If you think you will have a large group attending, you should find a larger venue. If this is the case, then you will need a microphone and sound equipment. You may choose to meet in a restaurant or a pub, however this may create some cost (but perhaps not).
Create a website for your group. Design doesn’t matter, but content is important. You should include:
- The mission or vision of your JUG
- Notes on lectures
You will need some means of posting events and having members have the ability to RSVP/sign up to attend. You could use a third-party extension on a Joomla! site or Facebook or Meetup.
Once you have your venue, some members, a website or meetup.com established, register your JUG at community.joomla.org/user_groups. You can follow the FAQs for instructions and more information. You may want to have a small number of meetings first to make sure it takes off before registering.
It is sometimes a challenge to find speakers. They may approach you to speak or you can ask colleagues from your local community or the Joomla! community. Or you can do the speaking! You know you will be there and it's a great way to learn a topic well.
Usually we don’t want to go home directly after a JUG meeting. So beer is in the plan. You can reserve a place in your favorite pub or restaurant to eat or drink together. You can also be spontaneous, because you don't know how many people will come to after party.
When your meeting is planned, you can submit your meeting at the Joomla! Events site so that the whole world will know about your meeting.
The Polish JUG meetings are usually attended by 20-80 people. These are great results for our local JUG meetings. As you go forward starting a JUG, I wish you good luck. Do not be afraid. Organizing JUG meetings is very easy and you can do it! I hope this article will be helpful for you.
May the Joomla! (force) be with you!