How do I start a Joomla User Group?
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There are some basic requirements to start a Joomla User Group which include:
- At least two people to run the group as leaders (minimum)
- A place to meet in your town - for example a meeting room, a bar, restaurant, office space etc.
- A name which represents a town or city (not a country, state or large region)
- An online place to promote your group and allow people to find out about the group (e.g. website, Meetup.com, Facebook group, LinkedIn group, Google+ Community, etc)
How do I find someone else to lead my group with?
There are many ways to find other Joomla users in your local area:
- Joomla! User Group Forum
- Localised forums (e.g. Afuj, JoomlaCommunity.nl, Joomla.it)
- Local networking
- Approach other website designers who want to learn about Joomla!
- Social media
How do I find a venue?
It is best to try and find a venue which can be used free of charge, or at low cost, so that you do not have high expenses in starting your group.
Some ideas for places to meet could be:
- Company meeting rooms or showrooms
- Bars, restaurants and cafes
- Community meeting rooms/Village Halls
- Coworking spaces
Should we charge a fee?
As a Joomla! User Group organiser you may wonder whether you should ask visitors/members/attenees for a financial contribution. A contribution can be useful to get the facilities like a beamer (data projector) or to pay for the drinks/snacks during the meeting. If there are speakers invited, funds could be used for a gift or travel expenses.
An important point is that Joomla! User Groups are not in existance to make a big profit. Charging for meetings is so that you can meet expenses of the Group. Your financials should be transparent and anyone, including the JUG Team should be allowed to see them.
Some groups are completely free and funded by sponsorship. Other groups are free to attend, but have an optional fee for food and beverages (e.g. pizza and beer!). Some JUG groups charge a fixed fee per meeting.
When there is money involved is good to have a treasurer and be transparent with your financial records.
How can I find/attract new members?
Some JUG groups have found that meetup.com is a good way to attract new members from outside the Joomla Community since they do well with search engines. The main disadvantage of meetup.com is that it is a paid service and is not free, however it does handle meeting announcements, RSVPs etc very well.
You can also work on developing your own Group website, and you can list events if you are a registered Joomla User Group you can list them on events.joomla.org.