With Ubuntu Global Jam events being scheduled for March this year I wanted to share my recipe for organizing memorable events. The methods I have deployed in the past and continue to use have so far been pretty effective and I’m sure as a LoCo Leader you could easily replicate the success of Ubuntu Oregon’s events by using some of these practices.
Finding the perfect time
While to most picking a date and time for an event seems like an easy thing this is something to be taken seriously because it can play a role in whether five people or thirty arrive to your event. Polling potential attendees for their availability is a recipe for success when it comes to planning a Ubuntu event and especially a Ubuntu Global Jam.
Some tools to use for find the best availability of your potential attendees:
Finding a venue
Once you have an idea of availability you should also have a good idea of how many people are interested in attending your Ubuntu Global Jam at that point you should reach out to potential venues. When seeking a venue you need to take into consideration what kind of amenities and capacity they can offer your event. I strongly encourage reaching out to venues such as local tech companies that might let you use their offices for the event or perhaps a co-working space or even a restaurant or cafe.
Tips for venue selection:
- Wireless Internet access with plenty of bandwidth is almost always a must for a Ubuntu event.
- Ensure that your venue will have plenty of seating and workspaces for attendees.
- If you are not having food and beverage sponsored ensure both are available for sale on-site or nearby.
Engage potential sponsors
Ubuntu LoCo’s may not always have the financial resources necessary to fund every event or initiative they hope for and as such it may be important to seek our local tech companies or even a bakery or restaurant to sponsor some of the related costs of an event. The easiest way to do this is make a list of local companies and identify their contact information and reach out to someone in management or if they have a community manager and explain your event to them and what you are seeking. In some cases a company may ask to have a sign next to some sponsored food or might ask to have someone from their IT staff available to network with your attendees and how you accommodate a sponsor is totally a decision you should make but feel free to seek guidance from the Ubuntu LoCo Council if need be.
Examples of success:
- In 2011 Ubuntu Oregon sought sponsorships and received them from PuppetLabs, Eucalyptus Systems, Rackspace, Rentrak, Linux Journal, ThinkGeek, Linbit, Ubuntu User and many more.
Setup RSVP and Announce the event
Once you have a Venue, Availability and perhaps a sponsor or two the next step is registering your event on the LoCo Directory and then announcing it to your LoCo Mailing List. In your announcement e-mail I suggest including a paragraph or two describing the planned event and focus and who the key organizers are and of course where it will be held and how to use the LoCo Directory to RSVP so you have a proper headcount.
Engage, Engage and Engage some more
Now that you have announced the event the job is not close to being over. You should spend the weeks before the event continuing to engage your community about how exciting the upcoming event is going to be and getting them excited. Getting people motivated, excited and ready for the event is a big role in keeping your community engaged and helps in making your community feel close-knit.
Tips for engaging before an event:
- Try and engage people who have been less active than others and encourage to step up their participation by taking part in the upcoming event and perhaps helping with the logistics of the event or using one of their talents to help make the event a success.
- Everyone wants to be reminded that their contributions are valued as such it is important for us to remind people of how much they are appreciated and how their previous participation at events made the event great and how much you look forward to future participation.
Thats a wrap!
On the day of your event I suggest always being at the venue 30 minutes early but also plan to go over all the details of your event the night before in case something doesn’t line up properly. If you have taken all of the above advice and used it then your event should come together quite precisely the way you wanted it to.
Remember organizing an event isn’t hard but it does require plenty of planning and several weeks of it if not months. If you have any tips you use for event planning with your LoCo do no hesitate to share your practices in the comments below so we can all learn from each other and improve our best practices for organizing events.