D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

How To Start A User Group

Sunday, November 16, 2008 12:38 PM


I’ve been involved with user groups for a number of yeas as well as INETA. One of the questions that I’ve heard over and over again through those years has been “How do I start up a user group?” Well my friends, below I’m going to share with you the secret formula…and you may be surprised.

Starting a User Group
1. Get a venue
2. Get some speakers
3. Set a date
4. Start getting the word out and building hype.

Those are the basic steps that you need to perform to get your user group up and running. Now, there are also other tasks that you should consider as well:

- Contact Microsoft and see what sponsorship offers they have in your area (in Canada, they give each user group a flat amount to cover the year, in the states and elsewhere it might be different).

- Get registered with INETA (Leave a comment or email me if you want more info on INETA and how to join)

- Set up a website for the group. There are many free hosting offers out there for user groups.

- Set up the group with Microsoft Events web site. This isn’t a must, but Microsoft does offer this service free for user groups.

- Get sponsors to help fund food and prizes.

- Get a bank account to hold your funds. In my experience, you don’t need to worry about the whole registering as a non-profit thing, but depending on the amount of money you’ll be holding you may want to check with your local laws. Also, check with your bank on whether they offer special accounts for clubs and associations, which typically have no service fees.

- Get a few people to help balance out the work. Unless you want to organize venues, order pizza, schedule speakers, recruit sponsorship, and manage funds yourself, you'll want some help

Remember that the important part of creating a community is getting that community together, and those first few steps that I mentioned are the basics for getting that started. I’ll be posting a case study of how we got our SharePoint user group up and running in less than a week in my next blog entry just to show how it can be done.

D




Feedback

# re: How To Start A User Group

Hi there,
I am currently working in the UK as .net developer and will be going back to Hanoi, Vietnam permantly (the capital and also my home town). I have been attending several .net user group here in the Uk and enjoyed every single one of it. I really wannt to start a .net user group up in Hanoi as there is none that I know of. Your blog post is really useful and I am really appreciate if you could give me more information please.
Thanks. 8/26/2010 8:41 AM | Tuan Truong

# re: How To Start A User Group

Thanks Darcy for the write up..

I have a few question for you.
1.Do we need to resgister somewhere to start a user group?If yes please provide the details
2.What are all the conditions to start a user group?


TIA 9/2/2010 11:40 PM | Ratheesh.K.Nair

# re: How To Start A User Group

Tuan - Sorry for the late response...I'm not getting email notifications when I get comments for some reason. Anyway, how has it been going getting the .NET UG up in Hanoi? If you haven't yet, you should contact INETA (International .NET Association) which has an Asia-Pacific wing - http://apac.ineta.org/ They can help you out with getting a group going or info on groups already existing.

Ratheesh - Nope, no registration needed for starting a User Group. There are many orgnization, like INETA (www.ineta.org) that can provide support in getting your group up and running, and many book publishers and component vendors have offerings as well. 9/9/2010 10:06 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipe

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