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Assessment of Meetup.com Accounts for Local Groups

By the Local Effective Altruism Network team

Contents

Introduction

Overall rating of Meetup

Number of members on Meetup.com

New group members from Meetup.com

Members newly engaged in EA due to attending a meetup

On the advantages of Meetup in contrast to other platforms and Facebook

On the disadvantages of Meetup in contrast to other platforms and Facebook

Useful observations

Suggestions from Meetup organisers

Introduction

LEAN sent a brief survey to all EA groups which had used Meetup.com to evaluate how useful it was and learn any best practices we could share with other groups. We concluded that it was promising enough for us to continue offering free Meetup.com accounts to local groups who want them - to get one, ask us here.


Note on graphs: Each bar in the x-axis represents a single group. Blank spaces represent entries of “0” by a group. Lack of response by a group was not recorded in any of the graphs.

Overall rating of Meetup

Number of members on Meetup.com

New group members from Meetup.com



Members newly engaged in EA due to attending a meetup

Each of our Meetup.com accounts is shared between different local EA groups, so each group costs $3.33 a month. At the moment, this seems like a valuable investment. We will reevaluate the numbers and the worth of people engaged with EA after analysing the results of our surveys of group organizers and the annual EA Survey.

On the advantages of Meetup in contrast to other platforms and Facebook

  • It opens access to a different network of individuals than those available on Facebook (especially as there are relevant people who are not registered on FB)

  • It connects you to people that are already seeking to get involved in something

  • The infrastructure of Meetups facilitates setting up ongoing and recurring events where FB does not

  • Facebook is blocked in China, while Meetup is not

  • Facebook events don’t work if a group has over 500 members. Meetup has no limit.

  • Meetup.com offers more ‘visibility’

  • Meetup makes it easier to get in touch with more categories of interested members than FB does

  • Meetup sucks less people into a ‘Facebook time waste trap’

  • Seems more professional than Facebook

On the disadvantages of Meetup in contrast to other platforms and Facebook

  • Meetup attracts more ‘random’ people who do not necessarily fit the profile of those that would be aligned with EA interests

  • There are a lot of individuals who show up to one meeting and then never return

  • It can be an administrative burden for organisers listing events on Facebook and Meetup jointly (and Google)

  • There might be ‘risky’ individuals who could ruin an event if there aren’t enough dedicated EAs present (e.g. people who show up expecting so mething to do with New Age, or try to push their own different agenda)

  • Facebook is better at getting relevant content to people, and communicating with them

  • Facebook is better for getting people to notice and attend an event, until groups reach the event limit of 500

Useful observations

  • The value of Meetup.com is very reliant on the quality of the network that a specific location offers

  • Students are more likely to use Facebook where professionals are more likely to be on Meetup

  • A successful strategy of a non EA Meetup organiser was to prepare reading and watching material, and to set up groups of 6 members with a co-ordinator and a brief to guide discussion

Suggestions from Meetup organisers

  • If you have a Facebook group, get your members to sign up on Meetup and RSVP to events there too. Otherwise strangers might think that only the organiser will be there, which may be intimidating

  • Send a message to welcome any new members - personal messages are most effective

  • Try not to spam members

  • Join other Meetup groups as this may attract members there to your EA group

  • Choose lots of popular interests to associate the group with

  • Use both Meetup and Facebook to benefit from the different advantages and benefits each offers

  • Take a sign to the meeting so that newcomers can find you. This is common pracitce in Meetup.com groups

  • Bring a friend to the meeting so that if only one person shows up, they can speak to more than just you. And so that you have a fun time with a friend if nobody shows up

  • Use ‘newcomer’ somewhere in the event title to reassure prospective recruits who might be shy

  • Choose locations with good transport links, plenty of seating and not too much noise

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