Running a Joomla User Group
From Joomla! Documentation
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There are many aspects and questions which need careful consideration when running a Joomla! User Group. Here are a list of common questions you might need to address further.
Should we accept corporate sponsors for our group?
Yes it is ok to allow corporate sponsorship of meetings to fund food, beverages, venue costs, and other expenses. That's not to say that every sponsorship offer should be accepted, the JUG organiser should use their discretion to ensure that the companies values are aligned with our open source community.
Some sponsors also wish to attend the meeting and present to the group, but you should ensure that this is not just a sales pitch for their product or service and is related to a topic of interest to your members.
How do we find speakers for our group?
Just ask local professionals, they often are happy to share their Joomla! knowledge. You can also see the User Groups Speakers page at https://docs.joomla.org/Joomla_User_Group_Speakers. Those speakers are happy to share and you can add yourself to the list too!
Ask your regular attendees, one of the topics most requested in the Netherlands is 'Docter Joomla' where the attendee's that have a problem or question can share their problem. Often that problem is solved on the spot.
You can also do extension potlucks (https://magazine.joomla.org/issues/issue-jan-2013/item/1025-successful-extension-potluck-jug-bay-area-california-usa) or case studies where multiple members of the group are involved.
How do we keep our meetings interesting for all levels of experience?
The skill level of attendees can vary from absolute beginner, through to experienced Joomla user or developer. To keep everyone interested, it can be useful to have multiple presentations at each JUG, with one beginner focused talk and one advanced talk, as well as a general discussion where all sorts of issues can be discussed.
How often should we meet?
Many JUG groups meet on a monthly basis, but you could also meet less frequently, such as bi-monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. It is often helpful to set a regular meeting schedule, such as the second Tuesday of each month, so that regular members will know when to expect the next meeting. Consistency is key for good participation.
What equipment do I need and how can I provide that equipment?
The main requirement is to have a data projector and screen or wall to project on to be used for your presentations. Many venues will be able to provide this equipment, however if not there are various ways you can obtain this equipment. One option may be to borrow the equipment from a member or business. If not, it may be possible to rent a projector for a small fee. Depending on the funding structure of the JUG group, it may be possible to purchase a projector with surplus funds collected.
An Internet connection is often required by presenters, or to show sites during group discussions. Some venues can provide an Internet connection, or you could potentially use a mobile broadband connection or mobile phone tethering to provide Internet access.
How do I manage people booking to attend my meetings?
Many JUGs use meetup.com for event booking and management. You can use a Joomla third-party extension on a Joomla site if you wish. If you are using meetup.com, this handles all the RSVPs and allows you to easily see who is coming and who cannot make it. There are pros and cons in using meetup.com. To many, the pros outweigh the cons. Meetup.com does cost money, so perhaps the members can donate toward funding it for the JUG.
You might also like to use a Facebook page that allows the creation and management of events. This too will allow you to collect RSVPs and contact those attending or not and without a cost. The drawback is that people would need to be on Facebook which some people don't like.
How do I communicate with my members?
Meetings should be announced on appropriate social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus.
If you are using meetup.com, it has inbuilt meeting announcement that will notify members when the meeting is scheduled, as well as an automatic reminder one week prior to the event and the day before the event.
Some JUG groups use an email mailing list to communicate with their members.
Adding your meeting to events.joomla.org is another communication channel, which has the added benefit of giving visibility to our PR Team.
How can I get support if I have a problem?
You can open a ticket in the Joomla! User Group Community Help Desk. Alternatively, there is a Glip chat group for organisers. Open a ticket so we can get you added if you are a JUG Organiser.
How can I restart an inactive user group?
You can open a ticket in the Joomla! User Group Community Help Desk and the JUG Team can help figure out what needs to happen to restart an inactive JUG.
What are JUG best practices?
Involve people, inform people, invite people.
Be consistent with your meeting dates and location (if possible).
Schedule and announce your meeting at least two weeks in advance for the best attendance. Summer is usually slower and less people attend. Consider doing a meeting that is mellow to prepare for like "Open Joomla" or "Case Studies" where members of the group can take turns talking about Joomla websites and how they performed tasks.
At the beginning of each meeting, do announcements both for your Group and for Joomla. By visiting the home page of joomla.org, you can see the latest announcements and blogs from Joomla. Let people know what events are coming up by visiting events.joomla.org. If there are large conferences coming up or a new release that people need to know about, tell your group.
Keep your groups interests in mind by asking them what they would like to learn about. Templates are always a popular topic. Releases of the CMS often need explanation that a JUG meeting would be perfect to explain.
Learn how to have a Pizza, Bugs, and Fun meeting where your JUG can do some bug squashing.
Keep communication lines open with your JUG. Each January ask them for feedback on what topics they would like to see throughout the year.
Refer people with complex issues to proper Joomla! resources like Trademark, the Forums, various working groups.
No, you cannot. Each JUG is different, each country culture is different and languages are different. Thus there is no resource or tool available that can give you all the assets needed.
Where are the official JUG lists?
You can view all the Registered Joomla! User Groups at https://community.joomla.org/user-groups.html. We do not provide lists of groups or organisers to anyone ever not even inside the Joomla! Project.