How to start a local AYWMC meetup group

Stourhead was the first AYWMC meetup I went to, with the Somerset AYWMCers

Stourhead was the first AYWMC meetup I went to, with the Somerset AYWMCers

How to set up your Facebook group

You have volunteered to get the ball rolling - thank you. It's a lot easier to do the initial set up on desktop, not mobile. Before you start, just check there isn't already a group for your area. Click here to check.

All set? No existing group? Follow these steps, including most importantly, the one about letting Emma know you've made a group:

1. Go to "Groups" and click "Create Group"

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It's better to set up a group rather than a community page for privacy reasons. Anyone in the world can see a page, but groups are limited to those who have been approved. Many people won't want to advertise where they are going to be at a particular time, or share their photos publicly. 

2. Follow the prompts

Name your group “AYWMC [location]”, eg “AYWMC Canada”. Please don't put a date in your group - just AYWMC and your location. Add at least one person to get started. "Closed group" is the privacy option to use.

3. Add screening questions

These are essential to stop non-AYWMC people joining the group. They won’t know what it’s all about and will make it harder to be an admin. When you are notified of a new request you will see their answers and can choose to approve or deny them. They aren't notified if you deny. Deny anyone who doesn’t answer.

Go to "Edit Group Settings", and then "Membership Requests". Finally, "Ask Questions".

group settings.jpg

This is very useful to stop spammers and bots joining the group. It will also stop speculative joiners who don't know anything about AYWMC. Most groups use something like: "1. Which county are you in? 2. Who runs AYWMC?"

4. Invite members

If you know people who want to join, you can invite them direct via the "Add Members" box at the top of the right hand column on desktop:

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Invite Emma to join. This is essential so she can reappoint you as Admin if anything happens to your Facebook account.

5. Approve new members

Facebook will notify you when you have a new joining request.

Don't be afraid to refuse membership to people who don't answer the questions. You don't want to group to fill up with people who don't know what they are doing. People can always request to join again, and answer the questions.

6. Tell Emma about your group

Emma will add it to the master list of groups, so we don't end up with 2 or more groups covering the same area. 

7. Complete the "Description" section

This is where you can set out what the aim of the group is, and lay down any rules you want to have for posting and commenting. Copy and paste the “Group Posting Guidelines” text at the end of this post at the very least, and then add any local rules that you want.

8. Add a cover image

The easiest way to do this is use the "use member's profile pictures" option, but you can design your own in the free software Canva.

9. Edit other group settings

Go back to the "Edit Group Settings" page and change these if you want to:

- group icon

- membership approval: change this from “anyone” to “just admins”.

10. Do you want other Admins?

Recruit someone else to help you run the page and upgrade them to “Admin” in the Members section.

11. Join the private FB group for AYMWC group Admins

Please answer the screening question and say which group you Admin to save Emma having to search all the groups to check.

Join here:

There is also some help here: Help for AYWMC Group Admins

And here: How to organise an AYWMC meetup

How to run your Facebook group

People doing AYWMC are generally very community spirited, so you shouldn't have any problems. You are in charge, so if you do get anyone posting inappropriately you can always ban them from the group.

Please remember that AYWMC is a non-competitive, supportive course. If anyone in your group is consistently aggressive or confrontational, please either raise it with them privately, or ask Emma to. Although your group is a private group run by members, it is Emma’s reputation at stake if people feel intimidated. 

Most groups share images, ask questions, and organise meetups. If your group is quiet, try asking general questions at least once a week so that it stays at the top of people's notifications. If people don't engage with the group, Facebook stops notifying them of new posts, so they might miss announcements about meetups. If you haven't heard from someone in a while you can always tag them (put "@" before their Facebook user name and they will get a notification). Use tags sparingly to avoid filling up their notifications.

If you don't want all the responsibility, ask 1 or 2 other people if they would be admins as well. You need to change their status to admin.

If you are ready to retire from AYWMC, please hand on the admin role to someone else before you leave the group.

How to organise a meetup

Please don't meet anyone you don't know on your own, or anywhere that's not a public place.

The most efficient way to organise your first meetup is for you to pick a place, and then run a poll of possible dates that you can make. People vote for the dates they can do, and then you pick the most popular. That will get the ball rolling.

Not everyone will be able to make every meetup.

For future meetups you can invite everyone to suggest a place, and/or let anyone add suggested dates to your poll. At some point you do need to have a cut off, and announce the place and the date.

If some people in the group can't make weekends, or can't make the dates most can, invite them to organise their own meetup on a date that suits them (or do it for them). 

Once the group has decided on a time and a place use the "Group Events" function to keep all the details of upcoming meetups in one place.

Bear in mind not everyone will have a car.

Group posting guidelines

Copy and paste the following:

Posting guidelines

1. Only post images you have taken unless you have permission from the photographer, and credit them in the post.

2. Think twice before posting anything the majority would find unpleasant, disturbing, or awkward if viewed at work - eg nudity, adult themes. No offensive, vulgar or obscene language.

3. If you are upset or offended by anything you see please report the post to an admin rather than engaging with the poster.

4. No sales in the group.

Admins may delete without warning anything in breach of these guidelines, at their sole discretion. They may remove repeat offenders from the group. If members post illegal, discriminatory or hate speech in the group or elsewhere, they will be removed without warning and reported.

Meet up guidelines

1. You attend meet-ups at your own risk. The person organising the meet up selects the venue, but does not do any safety checks. Please satisfy yourself that the venue is somewhere you are happy to visit.

2. Group members are not screened or vetted. Please take sensible precautions when meeting people: don’t meet anyone alone, only meet in a public place, tell someone where you are going, don’t accept lifts from people you don’t know, don't give out personal details.

3. Please help the organiser by replying promptly with a “yes/no/don’t know yet” when they ask for interest. A firm “no” is much more helpful than no reply at all.

4. Partners, friends and dogs (where allowed) are welcome if they come with a member.

5. The meet-up organiser will wait for a maximum of FIVE minutes after the publicised start time, unless you get in contact with them and they agree to meet you at a new time. Please let them know if you are going to be later or can't attend at the last minute.

6. Meet-ups will not go ahead if a minimum number (chosen by the organiser, usually at least three) does not turn up. Such meetups may be cancelled by the organiser on the day for everyone's personal safety. This is why it's particularly important to keep the organiser informed if you aren't attending.

Any questions?

Anything I've not covered? Drop me an email:

Emma Davies