Free venues are becoming harder to find for some Chapter Meetup groups. To help with this, we have started a Venue Assistance program that helps cover the costs. Here are the guidelines we follow.
Check the Reasons
First, check the answers to see if the organizers have looked for alternative solutions.
Next, look to see why they left the previous venue (if there was one) and whether or not they asked the group as a whole for alternatives.
- If they outgrew the previous venue, then check the attendance of their group on Meetup.com. Make sure the number of regular events and regular attendees aligns with a meetup that has outgrown its venue.
- If this is a newer group in their first venue, email them suggesting they make do with the venue they have or try to find another free venue while the group becomes established. It’s possible to have many attendees early on only to have attendance drop off quickly.
- If they have not emailed the group about venue options, then ask them to do that first.
- If they have emailed the group and there are no other options, then continue to the second round of checking!
A few exception might be:
- If this is a part of the world that has experienced unusual challenges and where we’re working to encourage activity and involvement.
- When the lack of a formal venue space has cultural implications.
Check the Venue
If the reasoning checks out, then it’s time to review the venue. We have the same expectations for Meetup venues as we do for other event venues, like WordCamps:
- Easy to access both from a transportation and human mobility standpoint
- In a relatively safe area of town (this is based on local sentiment, not US-specific sentiment)
- Has whatever tech requirements the group deem necessary
- Do not require the purchase of food or refreshments.
Note: You can ask the organizing team questions, but do your own online research or reach out directly to the venue to gain your own information.
Check the Cost
Below are a few guidelines and some best practices:
- We aim for under $10 USD per person per average meetup event. This is an average and doesn’t have to be exactly right for every single event.
- We want to make venue payments into as few payments as possible. Once or twice a year if possible.
- Ask the venue to bill in units rather than months. When events are counted as units, organizers have more flexibility if they need to skip a month.
- Ask for a 5-10% discount when paying in bulk (since it’s a guarantee of funds, most venues will be happy to work with you on this). If no discount is available, that’s okay. It never hurts to ask.
- Ask for an invoice that includes multiple events/months rather than an invoice for each event.
Submit for Payment
Submit the invoice for payment by sending the invoice and request for payment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the venue is requesting proof of payment, then make a note of that in the email request for payment. A Supporter or Manager with access can expedite payment through the WordCamp Central budget interface at Budget -> Vendor Payments.
That’s it! You’ve made a community’s life happier and healthier. Good work!