Roles

  • Set-up crew
  • Presenter wrangler (make sure they have what they need and know what to do)
  • Greeter (welcome attendees, give them logistic info [start time, what to do until presentation starts, snack and bathroom locations, etc.])
  • Connecter/mingler (help connect attendees and feel welcome)
  • Live-tweeter
  • Photographer
  • Clean-up crew

Supplies

  • NTEN literature, stickers, etc.
  • Introduction slides or notes
    • About the group
    • About the sponsors
    • NTEN monthly news
    • Group hashtag
    • Upcoming group events
    • Venue logistics, such as restroom location
    • Post-event survey
    • Community announcements
  • Name tags
  • Markers
  • Pens
  • Tape
  • Blank paper for last-minute signs, etc.
  • Sign-in sheets
  • Time countdown signs for presenter
  • Refreshments
  • AV equipment
    • Computer
    • Projector and screen (or blank wall)
    • Dongles
    • PA system

Snacks

Most organizers serve refreshments during their events, however you do not need to provide attendees with full meals. If you do plan to offer snacks, note it on the event RSVP page but let attendees take care of additional needs on their own. Even if your event is during the lunch hour, you can encourage attendees to bring their own lunch.

If you anticipate 20 or fewer attendees, we suggest that you purchase something like: no more than two 12-packs of cans of sparkling water and a container each of food items such as veggies, hummus, salsa, and tortilla chips. This amount should be a sufficient snack. These types of items are typically accessible to community members with special diets.

Alcohol

Many groups provide alcohol at their events or hold events at venues where alcohol is served. This is acceptable to NTEN, and organizers may use their $50 reimbursement to help pay for it.

It’s extremely important to us, however, that there are plenty of non-alcoholic options at events where alcohol is served. Make sure that non-alcoholic beverages are thoughtfully selected and are as accessible as any alcoholic options.

Know that NTEN does not extend any licensing or insurance to Tech Clubs. Unless an event is held at a venue with a licensed bartender, venue hosts (and potentially the organizers) assume the risk should an incident occur.

We have heard that many US hosts don’t mind if alcohol is available at their events, as long as attendees are serving themselves and are not being charged for it.

Note that laws are different in every country. Canada’s Nonprofit Tech Club Ottawa’s S. M. found:

“Essentially, as we’re not an incorporated organization, the group itself cannot be insured. It would fall to each of the steering committee members personally (often personal liability insurance is included in home insurance or contents insurance).

The permitting and restrictions around public events and alcohol are pretty strict here in Ontario. When we’re hosting an event ourselves, and it’s not being held at a bar (under their liquor license), we obtain a Special Occasion Permit (details: http://www.agco.on.ca/en/services/permit_special_gpb.aspx). There has also been a recommendation to obtain Party & Alcohol Liability insurance for these events as well, which we will do going forward. Further details can be found here: www.palcanada.com. It’s about $150 for each event, which we are now building into our budget.”

AV Equipment

Do not stress about AV equipment when you’re just getting started. Your first few events can be casual–you may not need anything other than butcher paper and sticky notes. A computer and projector are likely necessary only once you want to start having more formal presentations. Things like a PA system are helpful as attendance grows (or if the venue space is especially noisy), but they aren’t a have-to-have right away.

Unless you are using the venue’s computer and projector, connecting the presenter’s laptop to the other AV equipment is likely to be a regular wild card. Be sure to ask your presenters and venue hosts what equipment they have. Then ask the presenters or co-organizers or your community to bring the correct dongle to make sure the computer will connect to the projector.

Organizers should try to find venues that will supply any necessary equipment. However if it’s just not possible that month, perhaps you can check it out from a library or borrow from another nonprofit. Maybe ask your community for a volunteer to come early with a loaner from their office. Check to see if your town has an organization like Free Geek which may donate tech to your group.