Why January Matters at Meetup

January is a very important time at Meetup. Think of all the folks you know making resolutions to get fit, volunteer more, spend time outdoors, take on a hobby, travel or write.

It’s a time for fresh starts for organizers and members alike.

With so many people joining Meetup in January, the tone you set for your Meetup group now will resonate throughout the year.  

The most important thing you can do is get a Meetup on the calendar in January. Now is the time to capitalize on that momentum. 

It‘s also a great time to give your Meetup a makeover and energize your existing membership. Here are a few key tips:

Dust off your Meetup group descriptionReflect on how your Meetup’s focus may have changed over time, and update your description accordingly. Tell your Meetup story, and make sure it’s clear who should join and what to expect from membership.

Also, make sure any offsite resources or images you’re featuring on your homepage are up to date.

Freshen up your topics: Topics play a key roll in attracting new members. They also affect how your Meetup group is listed on the site and indexed by search engines.

Make sure they accurately reflect your membership base so we can recommend your Meetups to people who are mostly likely to join your group.

Reach out to your members: Set intentions for the new year by sending a friendly note to members about your plans. Encourage members to invite a friend by sharing on their social networks or through the ‘Invite Friends’ tool.

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Photo from Sydney Social Kayaking, NYE Fireworks Paddle on Sydney Harbor Meetup

Set your Meetup group up for a great 2016!

And for those of you just joining us, where’ve you been? We have over 200,000 ways Meetup can make your life better in 2016.

Resolve to Meetup.

Chrismukkah Meetups

Seeing that we’re in between Hanukkah and Christmas, we thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase a Meetup celebrating the spirit of both holidays—a Chrismukkah Meetup. 

East Valley Board Games recently hosted their 2nd Annual Chrismukkah Gaming Meetup.

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This year they doubled the fun with an optional gift exchange coupled with a game their organizer, Felicity, made up on her own.

The RulesEach participating member had to write down three surprising facts about themselves, then throw them in a container. While gifts were exchanged, members took turns taking facts out of the container and guessing who’s who.

“The gift exchange was very fun!” Felicity said. “We learned that one of our members kissed Scott Baio at a Happy Days taping when she was 4 years old, and one of our members thought reindeers weren’t real until her mid-20s.”

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Meetup HQ on the town

We’re always looking for unique ways to thank our organizers and connect with our members. Sometimes we take them by surprise on what we affectionately call ‘Meetup Crawls’.

It’s kind of like photobombing, only better. Meetup Crawls are for new and old Meetuppers alike to get together as a team, and spend an evening visiting local Meetup groups unannounced.

Crawls are important to us because it’s an opportunity to hear some great Meetup stories, shower our organizers with gifts and praise, and witness the diversity of Meetups in our hometown of New York City.

Here are a few highlights from our most recent outing:

Taco Thursdays (& Tuesdays)

Taco Tuesday

Taco Thursdays (& Tuesdays) welcomed us with open arms, as they do all new members. This Meetup group is all about sharing food and fun conversation. After just a few minutes it was obvious how open and inviting they were as a community. What a simple and brilliant idea! Provided you like tacos, of course. 

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The Force Awakens on Meetup

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Credit: Chicago Jedi Meetup (a chapter of the Jedi Federation)

The holidays are approaching. While some people will be scrambling to find last-minute presents, many Meetuppers are taking time out together to travel to a galaxy far, far away — to celebrate the premiere of the newest installment of the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens!

We chatted with some Meetup groups to see what they had in store.  Lightsaber freeze mobs, costumed premiere outings, and trivia nights galore — this is just a taste of the many varied Meetups happening to celebrate this epic event.

Johann from Austin Geeks and Gamers writes: 

Movie nights have always been a staple of the “Austin Geeks and Gamers” Meetup calendar. We have gotten together this year to see Mad Max, Avengers, Ant-Man, Jurassic World, Fantastic Four, Terminator, The Martian, and a few other geeky movies already this year, usually in joint events with the “Dinner and a Movie” meetup group. So of course we have a movie night planned for Star Wars.”

They even themed their regular board game night.

Nerd HQ in Burnaby, BC have extensively prepared for the occasion by scheduling a series of Meetups to watch all of the Star Wars movies through the course of December, finally culminating in their main event watching the premiere together.

The Chicago Jedi Meetup (a chapter of the Jedi Federation) are attending  in full garb, that is, with robes and lightsabers (not to mention the force within). The following day, they have combined efforts with E.D.G.E. Theater to stage a lightsaber flash mob Meetup.

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Credit: The Maryland/Virginia Jedi Chapter 

This is a cross generational fantasy film premiere, and there are so many ways to celebrate this epic moment in movie history. Listen to your inner Jedi voice, and find a Meetup where you can awaken the force with true fans.

*co-authored by Sarah Cassidy and Lydia Kopecky, Community Specialists, and Jedi masters for life

Random Acts of Kindness

The holidays are a natural time for people to look for opportunities to give back to the community and provide support for others who are less-fortunate. Some Meetups are built for these activities all year-round. 

Random Acts of Kindness Volunteer Meetup in Dallas, Texas is one of those Meetup groups. Since 2007, it has had one simple mission:

“To bring hope and a ray of sunshine to those who perhaps may be in need of some…”

Over the past eight and a half years, they’ve hosted over 1,660 successful Meetups, and unlike some Meetups that go on hiatus during the holiday season, they’re more active than ever.

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For Thanksgiving, Random Acts joined forces with local organizations TangoTab and Mission Arlington to deliver free turkeys and hot meals to families in need.

This month they’re bringing together dozens of volunteers to help with Love for Kids, Texas’ largest holiday party for disadvantaged children.

For Christmas Eve, they’re teaming up with another local Meetup group called Volunteer Love  to support a mission to house 500 homeless men, women, and children in a hotel to celebrate Christmas Day in a safe place with clothing, gifts, and “lots of love”. 

The generous spirit of the holiday season is alive and well all across the Meetup ecosystem.

In fact, did you know that Random Acts of Kindness is not a completely random idea? It’s also a movement.

Find, start or organize a local Meetup group, and you may find many great opportunities to partner with organizations to support these wonderful and not so random initiatives, throughout the holiday season and beyond.

VegasHikers celebrate 10 years of Meetups

VegasHikers celebrated three magnificent Meetup milestones this past weekend: more than 10,000 members, over 5,000 successful Meetups, and 10 years of creating wonderful Meetup memories together.

Their anniversary picnic and party was a huge success thanks to the dedication, enthusiasm  and leadership of Alan Gegax, their Organizer.

Pictured below are four couples who met through the Meetup group showing (and wearing) their Meetup pride on their hearts and sleeves.

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“When people share a common interest, it creates a foundation upon which a powerful and lasting bond can be made. Meetup helps people who share those passions find each other, and come together in real life. My wife and I (second from left) met at a Meetup, as did every couple in this photo.”

– Alan Gegax, Organizer

Cheers to many more years of creating life changing experiences for you and your members.