WooCommerce Meetup Organizer Handbook

A guide to organizing WooCommerce Community Meetups

Thank you for being part of the worldwide WooCommerce community

We’re excited that you’ve chosen to team up with us and grow your local community by organizing a Meetup in your area. We’re here to help you spread the word of Woo, and have some useful guidelines to get you started.

Getting Started

Five good faith rules to keep in mind

  1. WooCommerce Meetups are for the benefit of the community as a whole, not specific businesses or individuals. All actions taken as an event organizer are with the best interest of the community in mind.
  2. Membership in the local Meetup group is open to all who wish to join, regardless of ability, skill, financial status, or other criteria.
  3. All Meetups are volunteer-run with volunteer speakers. In cases where a modest attendance fee might be necessary, this fee should only cover the costs of the Meetup and shouldn’t be used to pay speakers or organizers.
  4. Meetup groups allow events to be organized by any reliable/trusted member of the community.
  5. Meetups are welcoming places where everyone works to foster an accepting environment which is free of discrimination, incitement to violence, promotion of hate, and general jerk-like behavior.

Meetup.com

We’d love for you to use the official WooCommerce Community Meetup cover photo on your group’s Meetup.com page – we’ve created one especially for you. You’ll receive this via email or the #meetups channel of the WooCommerce Community Slack.

If you haven’t received your cover photo at least 24 hours before your group’s first Meetup, please ping in the abovementioned #meetups Slack channel.

Not sure how to change this image on your group page? See: How do I set up my Meetup group’s photo.

Social media

We’ll share information about each Meetup via our official @WooCommerce Twitter account, including a tweet the week before your event and one on the day of your event. These tweets will also link to your event listing on Meetup.com.

Wherever possible, please do tag us in tweets, photos, or posts using @WooCommerce so we can follow what’s happening on the day of your Meetup – we’d love to see and hear how things went.

We’ll also supply you with your own unique hashtag – such as #WooCPT or #WooATX, for example – to include on Twitter and Instagram. If you haven’t received your hashtag at least 24 hours before your group’s first Meetup, please ping in the #meetups channel of the WooCommerce Community Slack.

This also helps us discover what subjects or content your attendees prefer, learn more about your community, and potentially show you off to the rest of the world via our social media accounts.

Rewarding attendees

Each Meetup group is entitled to one discount coupon* to the WooCommerce.com Marketplace per year!

We’ll provide you with a unique coupon code on the day of/day before one of your group’s Meetups. You can announce in advance that there will be a coupon code given at your Meetup, but you can only reveal the code to attendees during or at the end of the Meetup itself. You may not reveal the coupon on your social media accounts.

* Please note that coupon amounts and giveaway dates are at the sole discretion of WooCommerce. Coupons valid on new purchases only. Product subscriptions renew at regular price after the first year. Coupons cannot be used for renewals or in conjunction with other promotions.

Your first two Meetups

Your first two Meetups are on us. That’s right – WooCommerce will help to kickstart your new Meetup group by covering the venue and refreshments cost of your first two Meetups, up to the value of US$200.00* per Meetup.

How this works

Once you’ve hosted your Meetup, send the invoice and receipts for the amount spent on venue hire and/or refreshments to: meetups [at] woocommerce [dot] com.

Be sure to include WooCommerce Meetup Expenses: [Your Meetup Group Name] in the email subject line, as well as information about the Meetup date, venue, and refreshment supplier(s).

Invoices should be billed to:

Automattic Inc.
60 29th Street #343
San Francisco, CA
94110

Need an invoice template? You can use this free online Invoice Generatorhere’s an example of a well-detailed invoice.

Important: You must include related receipts for each cost listed on your invoice – venue, food, drinks, etc. as we cannot reimburse you without them. You can scan these, use a receipt scanner mobile app, or take a hi-res photograph. No handwritten receipts, please.

How we reimburse you

We make payments in two ways: Via check (United States only) or bank transfer. Kindly note that we are unable to reimburse using transfer services such as PayPal, Western Union or MoneyGram.

If you’re being paid by bank transfer, don’t forget to include your banking details so we can reimburse you.

Please include:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your bank account number
  3. Your bank’s name
  4. Your bank’s branch number
  5. Your bank’s SWIFT/BIC code

Check carefully and ensure all information is correct before sending us your invoice. Incorrect information can result in delayed payments and, at worst, payments sent to an incorrect bank account.

Automattic and WooCommerce cannot be held responsible for payments credited to an incorrect account due to erroneous information provided by the invoicer.

* Any invoiced costs exceeding the US$200.00 amount will not be reimbursed and will be for the organizer’s account. In the event that a Meetup’s costs are less than US$200.00 per event, the organizer is not permitted to claim the remaining difference for themselves. The US$200.00 reimbursement per event is valid for the first two events of a new Meetup group only, and does not apply to existing Meetup groups.

How-to’s

Meetup formats

Anything that brings together two or more people to share their WooCommerce experiences or expertise counts – there’s no minimum number of attendees or required format.

Some popular formats include presentations, lectures, social gatherings, hackathons, and workshops – you’re limited only by your imagination.

As long as the content is focussed around WooCommerce, you can do almost anything you like.

Finding a speaker

Where to look

Ask your group for volunteers – and keep asking. Over time, there will be new people joining your group or existing members who may be considering speaking. People learn and grow as time goes on, gaining insights that will assist them in giving a solid presentation. Keep asking!

Find local experts in your area and invite them to speak. Tap into your close network: colleagues, friends, or people you’ve connected with at other events.

Keep a lookout for out-of-town guests who might make good speakers. If they’re visiting your city for something else, they might be able to attend your event as well. Check your local conferences calendar as a starting point.

Ask the audience at each Meetup if they’d like to give a talk at one of the next events. Encourage people to do lightning talks – it’s less intimidating than a full-blown presentation.

Watch the blogs and tweets of your group members for ideas and then ask them to speak on that topic.

If finding presenters proves difficult, switch things up and go with a different format. Make your Meetup a social hour, demonstration, round table discussion, group project, or something similar.

Planning ahead

Don’t wait until the week before to try to get a speaker – it helps to plan in advance so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Planning ahead gives your speakers more time to prepare their presentations, you can announce the event earlier and build community interest, and it makes your organizing efforts far less stressful.

What makes a good speaker/talk?

A talk with good content is usually more important than the eloquence of the speaker. Not everyone is a born public speaker – the good thing is that it’s a skill that can be learned and perfected. A Meetup is a great place to practice public speaking and share knowledge with friendly, like-minded individuals.

The best presentations are sometimes only tangentially related to WooCommerce and WordPress. Think outside the box – perhaps a design refresher or a presentation on copywriting for eCommerce is just what people need. After all, WooCommerce sites need graphic design and copy. You don’t want to stray too far from WooCommerce, but occasionally it can be fruitful.

Sometimes you won’t find a speaker, or the speaker you have scheduled won’t be able to make it. Why not do a talk or presentation yourself? It’s a good idea to have a backup talk that you’ll be able to give in case of emergency.

Look after your speakers

Meetup speakers are not paid, but you can still show them that you’re thankful for donating their time and expertise.

Be sure to clearly communicate all the appropriate details and don’t leave your guest speaker wondering ahead of the event.

Confirm at least a week before that they’re coming, and ask if they need anything. At the event, anticipate any needs they may have. Ensure that the audio-visual connections are working, offer them water, and update them on the schedule for the event.

Afterwards, show your appreciation by sending a thank you message. It can be difficult to find speakers – treat them well when you do find them, and you may find that they’ll be eager to do so again.

Finding a venue

Logistics

Make sure your ideal venue helps you achieve the goals of your Meetup – you’ll want to consider everyone’s needs.

Things you’ll need to bear in mind:

Atmosphere

Select a place where everyone will feel comfortable. Decide which atmosphere matches the goal of your Meetup, and keep it in mind as you search for possible venues.

If you’re meeting in a business – such as a café or co-working space – connect with management ahead of time to let them know you’re coming. For smaller meetups just getting started, a coffee shop or a pub can be a good first venue.

Venue resources

Meetup.com and WeWork have launched a program to make space available, free of charge, for your next Meetup. Learn more about the program to host your Meetup at WeWork.

Yelp is a quick way to find opinions about local spaces. Yelp reviews often contain venue details you might not see on a space’s website. You can quickly crowdsource data about whether a venue accepts credit cards, has ample parking, and if it’s considered good for groups overall.

Crowdsourcing is a great option for finding a venue. The members of your Meetup are passionate about the same thing you are, so it’s likely that they already have some good ideas about where to go. Ask them to share their ideas — you may find someone with a connection to the perfect space.

You can use Google Maps to get a sense of the spaces in your local area. Read user-created reviews, see which times a place is busiest, and view suggestions for other similar venues in the area.

IRL

Whichever space you decide on, be sure to check it out in real life ahead of time. Pictures, reviews, and recommendations can’t replace an actual experience.

Organizer responsibilities

Leading up to the event

Be sure to set an agenda or a clear schedule in your Meetup description. If the Meetup has set activities, note when members need to arrive. If it’s more of an open social hour, let people know.

Secure a venue (see above). Contact potential venues’ management with your questions, and check if your members need specific accommodations.

Send a message to those who said they’re coming on your Meetup event page. Reach out personally to newcomers — developing a rapport encourages them to show up.

Be prepared. Create welcome or directional signs (if necessary), and ensure you have everything else you need for the Meetup to be successful.

On the day

If you’ve scheduled a Meetup, you need to be there. Please arrive a little early so that if other group members get there early they won’t feel lost. Greet people as they arrive.

Afterwards

Well done – you did it! What’s next?

  1. Thank everyone, send personal messages, and ask for feedback. Use event comments or discussions to start conversations.
  2. Update attendance. If anyone was a no show, follow up and let them know they were missed. Keep a positive attitude and invite them to your next Meetup.
  3. Schedule the next Meetup – get something on the calendar ASAP. If you don’t have the next one scheduled already, ask members to contribute ideas for topics. Encourage people to RSVP while you’re talking in real life.
  4. Notify everyone about what’s next. Send a mailing list message with any updates.
  5. Consider feedback – find out what attendees loved and what could be better next time. Was there too much coding and not enough coffee? Reevaluate and brainstorm on how to improve.

Resources

Content guides

We’ve put together a handy list of content and videos for you to use as a jumping-off point for presentation content, subject matter in panel discussions, or Q&A sessions for your Meetup group.

Slide deck

Here’s a blank slide deck that you or other speakers can use in presentations to your Meetup group:

  1. Keynote – download
  2. Google Slides – make a copy and download
  3. Powerpoint – download

Certain parts of this handbook have been adapted from Make WordPress, the Meetup.com Organizer Guide, Hugh Lashbrooke, Kevin D Hendricks, and Johann Romefort.

↑ Back to the top of the page

WooCommerce - the most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business.

  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Support teams across the world
  • Safe & Secure online payment