Take Your Group to 2.0: Meeting Days and Attracting Younger Members
Every user group leader, regardless of location or discipline, would like to see his or her group grow. More than that, however, they would like to see more young people involved. The greying of the user group community is a very real phenomenon. If a Mac User Group is going to be around to enjoy 2.0 status they need new blood to be ready to step up to the leadership plate.
We’ll look at ways to encourage involvement in future editions, but for now, you need to make sure that you have a decent chance at getting young people to your meetings. That means that your meeting time has to be convenient…and that doesn’t mean holding meetings on Friday night or Saturday morning.
In today’s world your meeting time is faced with competition from cable and satellite TV, videos-on-demand, instant access to resources from around the globe 24/7/365, social networks, online audio and video chats with friends anywhere and everywhere and more. That means you need to be convenient to your members and potential members. Can you think of a teenager or twenty-something (and even many 30-something, 40-somethings or more) who are going to give up their social life on Friday or Saturday night to come talk about computers?
OK, so perhaps there are a few, but not enough. And getting many of those same folks to wake up (or give up a spot on the first tee) is even tougher. That all means the potential members with the demographics that you seek are not even going to consider visiting the group, let alone joining or getting involved.
There are plenty of groups who successfully pull off Friday evening or Saturday morning meetings and have for a long time…but that was then and this is now. The world has changed, access to the information MUGs used to exclusively offer has changed and if you want your group to change it needs to evolve as well.
Maybe you can have a separate SIG or a secondary meeting on those nights if they really suit a significant portion of your membership. If a presenter is coming to town and can only visit at those times, that’s a great reason to have a special meeting or event. It is not an excuse to continue down a path that alienates the very people you are trying to attract.
Want young people in your group? Find a time slot that is less likely to interfere with their social lives or favorite activities. Your chances of success will greatly increase.