How to organise an AYWMC meetup

This advice is for AYWMC Facebook group admins wanting to organise an in-person meetup.

1. Remember what it was like to be a beginner, or meet a group of people who all know each other. 

Please be as reassuring as you can for new joiners. They may be worried that they need a tripod, or need to shoot on Manual mode, or will hold everyone up. They may be nervous about joining an existing group.

> spell out the fact that anyone can come, and it's more about the social than the photography

> remind everyone that they should shoot at a level they are comfortable with, and no one will see their photos unless they want to share

> say no tripods are required (and explain that Emma never takes a tripod to a meetup because she finds it gets in the way of chatting) (more confident people who want to use a tripod will bring one anyway)

2. Not everyone will come

You will get a lot of enthusiastic "Yes Please!" comments in the Facebook group when you first ask who wants to meet up. For every 10 who express an interest, expect 1 to actually be able to make the date and place you arrange. This is nothing to do with you. It is just life getting in the way. But once you have finalised a date and set up an Event (more below), you would normally expect only 1 or 2 people not to make it on the day once they've said they can definitely attend. 

3 people is enough for a meetup. I wouldn't recommend meeting just one other person you've never met before and only know off the internet. 

3. Picking a date and place

You can take opinions from your group, but at some stage you will need to make a decision, and choose a date and a place. If you are organising it and want to go, then it is fine to pick the date and place most convenient for you, rather than the one that is most popular. 

If you are organising and can't go, then pick the most popular choice.

Anyone else in the group is of course able to arrange a meetup as well - it shouldn't just be down to the Admins to organise, necessarily (although it often is, because people don't like to intrude). If you can't organise a meetup for a while, feel free to ask for volunteers. You'll get a better response if you make it a specific request, eg "Could I have a volunteer to organise one meetup in July or August, and another to organise one in September or October" will get a better response than, "Could someone organise the next meetup?"

If you have a definite time and place in mind, then just add it in as Event and share it in the group.

If you want suggestions, then you can use the Poll function to ask for votes. Admins often have Polls to ask:

- what days of the week are usually best to meet up

- once you have a couple of dates in mind, to ask for which one/s people can make

- if you have a few places in mind, to get views on which are the most popular

Some Admins like to plan ahead, and will first ask for suggestions of where people would like to go. They will then schedule these meetups up to 4 or 5 months ahead, so people can get them in their diaries.

4. Using the Events function

In your group there will be a section for "Events":

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Then just fill in all the details of your event, and in the description area add information like whether there is an entry fee, or any accessibility issues. 

If you are going somewhere with a cafe, it's a good idea to give a "meeting from" time, and a "departing" time, to give people a bit of breathing space. eg. "Meet at the cafe from 10am, and we'll set off at 10.30."

Everyone in your FB group will be able to indicate that they are definitely coming, maybe coming or can't make it. You can post updates to the Event if anything changes. 

Tell people to check the FB group Event if they are late and need to meet up with you once you have set off.

5. On the day

If anyone is late, maybe give them 5 minutes to arrive, but then post in the Event on Facebook to let them know you've set off, and what route you'll be taking. 

Have a planned route, and set off when everyone is ready. It is fine to take charge of the route and say where to go, but you shouldn't feel you need to act as a tour guide for the whole day - you have organised the meetup and that's your job done. You don't need to make sure everyone has a great time, or takes great photos. Hopefully everyone will mingle and shoot and eat cake, and enjoy the company rather than stressing about taking epic photos.