Starting a User Group or Special Interest Group

Don’t forget there are a few UG / SIG leaders on the list have can give you some insight on starting/running a UG /SIG. As a User Group leader, one thing that I will always suggest is to create a Special interest group under a bigger group, this has many advantages.

First off it allows you to send about broadcast emails to their group list thereby allowing for a bigger audience right for the get go, plus it has a lot less work for the executive board.
As for you first presentation.
 Find a presenter
  o   Local MVP
  o   Regional MVPs
  o   Local MS IT Evangelist
  o   Local TAMs
  o   Local Trainers
  o   Vendors (but be careful as you don’t want a sale presentation)
  o   MVPs
  o   Product team
 Pick a date
  o   Midweek, I find work best (Tuesday – Thursday)
 Pick a time
  o   Daytime: remember that day time presentation may give you a bigger audience,
   plus some people will be able to convince their boss for time off for the event.
   Plus it can be easier to find a boardroom to use, like the local MS office.
  o   Evening: you will get more Consultants and local presenters like this time because it does not interfere with their “day job”
 Pick a venue:
  o   Free parking & close to buses routes help drive attendance
 Find a sponsor for food and door prizes
  o   MS options
   TAM
   Product Team
   Local IT Evangelist
  o   CPLS’ (Training Centers)
  o   Vendors
   SCCM Expert
   1E
   Etc.
  o   Event Drop of rates
   I go with a 35% drop of rate for most events
   However some event like this one, I expect  only at 10-20% drop of rate.
 Get a web presents, this help for other to find your group (Ron tell me that he has something in the works that might be cool, so Bug him to give you a preview! J , Sorry Ron)
  o   Make sure that Live and Google have searched your site
  o  Use Clicktoattend.com for registration for the event.
 Have business card printed with UG/SIG details, give these out to everyone.
  Give extras to Executive members to hand out
Ongoing ideas:
       Try for quarterly meetings
  Make sure to announce your events to:
   o   Myitforumo   FAQShop.com
   o   All the UG /SIG
    executive
    TAMs
   o   To other UGs in the area.
  Associate with other UGs
   o   Locally (exchange, widows, Server, Storage, etc)
   o   Asked to have you UG added to a list like this one http://owsug.ca/content/usergroups.aspx on every other group that you know of. This helps with Google/Live ranking
  Blog you events
  Get a Domain name!
  Create an Executive committee
  Setup roles for each executive
   o   Maybe have business card printed for each executive
   o   Give the executive an email address to use
   o   President, VP, Marketing, Web master, etc.
  Talk to local CPLS’ about your UG/SIG they can help direct new users to your UG
  Talk to the local College, so that their students know about US/SIG
  Consider NOT calling you group a User Group, use IT Professional group/association instead.

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