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How to Start an NTEN 501 Tech Club
NTEN 501 Tech Clubs are informal, local groups that meet monthly in many cities. These meetings allow people interested in nonprofit technology to meet local colleagues, develop professional support networks, and talk shop in a relaxed setting.
All clubs are organized at the local level by volunteers in the NTEN community, and priority consideration for new organizers and new clubs is given to NTEN members who have been active participants in the community and to communities that can sustain ongoing activities.
Meetings are open to anyone interested, and typically include staff from nonprofits, technology support organizations, consultants, and vendors. Meeting formats vary - from social hours at a local pub for networking to workshops in community conference rooms.
We want your 501 Tech club to be successful, so we’ve got your back every step of the way!
- Online space and email list. We provide an online group for every 501 Tech Club to build up the local community and keep people connected in between events. The online groups include discussion forums, events, and resource libraries, and gives you access to moderate the email group and update the online content.
- NTEN support. We want your club to succeed and will provide communications, incentives, and organizing support to the extent that our staff bandwidth and budget can accommodate.
Ready to get started?
If you'd like to start a 501Tech Club for your community or find out more details about starting one, email us and tell us where you’re located, why you’ll make a good organizer, and what your connection is to the local nonprofit technology community.
Whether you’re organizing your first event or your 50th, here are some basic steps to putting together a successful event:
- Select a meeting location. Finding a location is one of the most important parts of your organizing responsibilities. Many clubs meet at a restaurant or bar. Your meeting location should be centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation, have a separate room or area that can be reserved in advance (for free!), be willing to keep separate checks, and have vegetarian food options.
- Choose a meeting time. Many clubs meet on the same day every month, such as the third Thursday. Others vary meeting times to allow people with standing commitments to attend at least some of the meetings. We encourage clubs to meet monthly, but some meet less frequently. Most meet after work around 6:00 pm, but some meet during lunch. You can decide what’s right for your club. Consistency is key, however, to establishing and growing a successful tech club!
- Promote the meeting. Once you have the meeting time and place set, update your group blog with the details, submit the event to the NTEN event feed, and promote the club to your personal and professional contacts. You may also want to use event organizing and promotion tools like Eventbrite.com, MeetUp.com, Facebook, etc.
- Lead and document the fun! Arrive a little early and place NTEN materials on a table to help people find you. Bring a digital camera if you have one so you can post pictures in your group after the meeting and add them to our Flickr photo library. You might also post a summary of the meeting in an email to the group list to aggregate and share the resources shared and lessons learned.
- Give us feedback. Once your club is up and running, we want to hear about what’s working, what’s not working, and any ideas/suggestions to improve your club. And if at any point you are no longer able to organize regular meetings, please let us know so we can find a replacement to keep the club going.
If you have any questions or comments about NTEN 501 Tech Clubs, please email us.