Note: Ignore this section if you’re not getting started with a brand new club or reviving an existing club after a long hiatus.
Work through Steps 1-5 to help you get your new club off the ground. The goal is to work slowly and thoughtfully and have your first event within six months. There are several checkpoints along the way, however, please contact NTEN’s community manager at anytime with questions or concerns.
🚦🚦🚦 Step 1: Check in with NTEN 🚦🚦🚦
Once you’ve taken the time to learn more about NTEN, the Nonprofit Tech Club program, and the organizer community, send an email to NTEN’s community manager to check in. Checking in let’s us know you’re still invested and gives you the opportunity to ask questions. This also cues NTEN’s community manager to add your club to the NTEN website, and give you a Google Drive folder.
Step 2: Build Your Team and Research Your Community
Build Your Organizing Team
Focus on building the long-term organizing team and perhaps gather some short-term volunteers while you’re at it. Look for 1-2 other team members at first. Just don’t go at it alone.
1) Revisit the handbook section about Nonprofit Tech Club organizing teams.
2) Introduce potential co-organizers to NTEN’s community manager and have them fill out the volunteer application.
3) Once approved by NTEN, add them to the organizers and volunteers document in your Google Drive folder.
Research and Survey Your Community
Record your findings in the research document in your Google Drive folder.
1) Partners: Start looking for local organizations and groups that might help you promote or that might have potential co-organizers or presenters. Review the partners section of the handbook.
2) Venues: Where might you be able to hold events? What resources might they provide? Review the venue section of the handbook.
3) Topics: What might your community need and want? Review the topics section of the handbook.
4) Presenters: Who might be a good presenter? Who has volunteered to present? Review the presenters section of the handbook.
5) Survey: In addition to your independent research, ask your community what they want. Review the handbook section about surveying your community for more information.
🚦🚦🚦 Step 3: Check in with NTEN 🚦🚦🚦
Check in with NTEN’s community manager before planning and holding your first event. This will give you the opportunity to talk through questions and work out any potential issues and make sure you and the community has the best experience possible. Do not pass Go without checking in.
Step 4: Plan and Hold Kick-Off Event
Evaluate Survey Results
Record useful information in your research documents. Build trust and supporters by following up with anyone who indicated that they might be interested in volunteering or presenting, etc. Even if it’s to say “thanks, we’ll be in touch soon.” You do not want to ask your community to do something and then make them feel like you’re not listening. Know that you can and will collect additional feedback at every event.
Start Planning a Kick-off Event
We recommend that you organize something like a group planning session where you invite community members to join co-organizers and volunteers to plan the next couple events. This is a great way to get additional feedback, as well as create greater buy-in from your community. Even if you are already very connected with the community or you are reviving a group that already has a strong following, we suggest that starting slow is the best way to go. Build community and trust first, then start hosting more complicated events. Read more about group planning events in the topics section of the handbook.
- Start slow
- Don’t do it alone
- Give yourself at least one month to plan
- Post the event on NTEN’s event calendar
- Promote early and often, involve your community in promotion
Create Event RSVP Page
Use something free to get started. Eventbrite is a great option. Ask NTEN’s Community Manager to create an account for you. Look to the handbook for examples of what to include on your RSVP page.
Note: NTEN is in the process of selecting and testing a new community platform which will eventually house our online groups as well as the Nonprofit Tech Clubs. Through the platform, clubs should be able to build their lists, email list members, create events and track RSVPs, and share blog posts, etc. Ideally clubs will be able to phase out many of their external tools and have everything they need with this platform. The goal is to move over by Fall 2017 at the latest.
We recommend that update your accounts Google Drive document with any accounts you create as you go. Get into the habit of this. It will help make sure information doesn’t get lost as organizers come and go.
Request an Event Starter Pack
Fill out the materials request form to receive materials like name tags, markers, signs, NTEN stickers and literature, and more. (Clubs in the US should give at least two weeks’ notice. Clubs outside of the US should try to give three weeks’ notice.) This should help you with your first event. Use the event report to submit a request for reimbursement for any additional approved event-related expenses.
Hold First Event
Have fun! Know this is a learning experience and the first event is always the most difficult. Fill out the event report to let NTEN know how it went.
🚦🚦🚦 Step 5: Check in with NTEN 🚦🚦🚦
It should be about 3-6 months since you’ve first signed up to start a new club. Before working on additional events, reach out to NTEN’s community manager to schedule a check-in call. This your opportunity to ask questions, get feedback, and decide if moving forward is the right thing for you.