Author Topic: How to start a Furtopia Meetup.  (Read 1911 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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How to start a Furtopia Meetup.
« on: May 24, 2010, 01:38:12 pm »
Whenever a con is mentioned in this forum, there will always be the standard question of: "Will there be a Furtopia meetup?".
Having a Furtopia meetup at a convention and/or other social event is a great way to meet and get to know other Furtopians face to face rather than just talking to people in text on a forum. But how does one start a meetup? How do you plan for one? What should you bring? The answers to this can be easy or hard. It all depends on how organised and detailed you want the meetup to be.

For simplicity's sake, let's focus on talking about meetups at cons only in this thread. Though the advice and suggestions presented in this thread can also help for non-convention meetups at zoos, ball games, movie nights, camping outings, etc.

1. Plan early! If you want to start a meetup at a con, then start planning for it early, such as a few months in advance of when the con takes place. You need to get a "preliminary" plan together to figure out where you want to meet, How many people are coming, Activities to do or see during the meetup, etc., etc.
2. How many people are coming? Find out how many Furtopians are coming and if they might be bringing any guests along. However.......the more people that are coming, then the harder it might be to arrange logistics such as transportation to travel someplace for an activity or find a room/hall or other space to have a gathering. Try to keep the amount of people to a reasonable level. If someone cannot make it to the meetup for any reason, then they need to tell the organiser/leader of the meetup ASAP (As Soon AS Possible) that they will not be able to attend.
3. When should the meetup take place? There is no easy answer to this question. At cons, you won't know when you can plan the meetup till you see the con event schedule, which usually isn't posted until a few weeks before the con. Just from what I've read and observed in the past, a good timeframe is usually on Fridays around late afternoon or early evenings. When you do plan a meetup, try to pick a day or time that won't create too many conflicts with people going to other events.
4. Can ballrooms or other large spaces be rented out or requested for the meetup? At a con, the answer to this will probably be a No. Simply for the fact that the convention staff need every available space for panels, seminars, dances, etc., etc. You could possibly "try" to ask, but chances are you may get turned down.
5. Where should people initially meet? When gathering everyone for a meetup, try to pick someplace easily locateable, such as the hotel foyer area, a parking lot, or some other easily identifiable area where everyone can gather together before you head off to your planned activity.
6. Restaurants and Dining: If you're going out to eat someplace, then plan early. Make reservations with the restaurant perhaps weeks in advance. If any changes come up in the amount of people that can or can't make it, or if you need to cancel the reservation, then call the restaurant immediately! Make sure they are kept up to date on any changes! At the end of the meal when it is time to pay the bill, then do not split the bill into smaller groups/bills. At Anthrocon 2007, this was a virtual headache with the Furtopia meetup.  x_x If you're going to pay, then pay as a group with one large bill!
7. Any rules or guidelines to the meetups? At a con or other event, the primary focus is having fun. This is what members want. They want to share stories, see other people, and just have a good time. They don't want to be burdened by rules or other guidelines. However, whoever the organiser/leader of the meetup is, that person should be responsible and help to keep things in a respectable manner. But at a con or other place, the best course of action is to contact the convention staff and they will handle any problems. Do not try to take matters into your own hands. If someone or something is bothering people or the meetup in general, then politely ask that person to leave. If the person or action continues, then notify the convention staff. Please follow all convention policies and rules while at a convention.
8. How long should the meetup be? A meetup doesn't have to be too long. It can last anywhere from 30 mins. to perhaps a few hours. It all depends on what activities are planned and/or how many people can attend them, and also if there are any event schedule conflicts.
9. How do I identify other Furtopians/Guests? It might be a good idea for Furtopians to wear name badges or some other identifiable logo, etc. so that everyone knows who everyone is and where they're from.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated in this thread if members have other tips and suggestions to add. :)

Offline 489109

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Re: How to start a Furtopia Meetup.
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 03:04:43 pm »
In the immortal words of Charlie Papazian, author of The New Complete Guide to Home Beverages; "Relax, Don't Worry, have a Home Beverage". In other words, Keep is simple, stupid (KISS).

I've organised or helped to organise a number of events for small gatherings of people I've never met online. Such events are always fun and seem much easier in hindsight then during the actual planning. The ends however do outweigh the means though. So if you ever get the chance to do this, do it. You're going to love it.

If during the cross talk and planning you feel overwhelmed with the small details of things, just "Relax, Don't Worry and have a Home Beverage". Things will work out and the furries will toast to your honor for putting something together. Thats my pep talk for any future leaders out there. Now go out and have fun.

Offline Sky Striker

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Re: How to start a Furtopia Meetup.
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 06:48:48 pm »
Good post. Great guidelines for organizing a meetup. Definitely will follow these if I try to organize a meetup for Furry Weekend Atlanta. That isn't me volunteering to do so, I'm just saying if nobody else does. I've always wanted to meet the others who go here. Too bad FWA is in April of next year.  :(

Still, great rules here.
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Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: How to start a Furtopia Meetup.
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 04:48:54 pm »
Maybe it might be a good idea for one group member (perhaps the coordinator?) to distribute his/her cell phone number to the other group members by private messages beforehand.  This would allow any group member to meet up with the group if he/she got lost or missed the group's original meeting time.
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