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Discussion on: Hello! I've been running developer events and building communities since 2012. Bring it on and #AMA !! <3

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humblefool_2 profile image
SangeethaKP

Thanks a ton for hosting the AMA Tessa. I have attended a bunch of events organized by you and they have been super fun, welcoming and informative.

I have the following questions regarding event/community building.

  1. As a meetup organizer without a lot of social capital, what are some good ways to secure sponsorship for the events?

  2. Have you faced a code of conduct violation from one of the meetup participants, how did you handle it?

  3. Having organized so many wonderful events, do you have a generic process or template for event organizing that you would like to share with the community?

Thank you once again for all the good work you do! :)

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tessamero profile image
Tessa Mero Ask Me Anything • Edited

Hi SangeethaKP, here are my replies:

Question: As a meetup organizer without a lot of social capital, what are some good ways to secure sponsorship for the events?

If I don't count my social media following for reaching out, I do more "cold calling". I list out companies that sponsored similar meetups or conferences and fill out their contact form or message them on social media, asking who the appropriate person is to connect with related to sponsoring an event. Once I connect with someone via email, I keep it brief so they reply. If I copy and paste a long email, my response rate significantly decreases. It's really about how brief and simple you keep your point, until the time comes to give them more detailed information.

When speaking to attendees at your meetup, talk to others about how you are looking for sponsors for the next meetup. I've had a pretty high success rate of people saying, "Here's my business card. Contact me and maybe I can get my company to sponsor".

Be very vocal with what you are looking for because things don't always magically happen. <3

Question: Have you faced a code of conduct violation from one of the meetup participants, how did you handle it?

Yes, two different times. And one resulted in a year long lawsuit that almost drove me to insanity, but I fought for my community and I won.

Situation 1: Someone with an unfortunate mental illness kept sending death threats to community members via the email thread claiming they are people he think they are, when they aren't. None of the things he said made any sense. I decided to remove him from the group from these complaints, especially complaints about his behavior that made attendees uncomfortable in person, and the death threats aimed towards me. I never replied to any of it, so he disappeared eventually.

Situation 2: I had several people complaining that a certain individual is stalking them and harassing them. I reverted the harassers attention towards me and tried to get him to leave these individuals alone. I ended up having to ban this person, which resulted to him harassing me, targeting my company, friends, and followers with false accusations and lies. Note that I found out he was doing the same to over 20 other people in the same community, and most have kept silent afraid of his reactions. I took him to court for online stalking and filed over 15 police reports on him so the court would take the situation more seriously. After a year of hearings, it finally came to a trial. After the trial, I won, and he stopped harassing me. After speaking to other people he was harassing, he also stopped bothering them (some of them dealt with his harassment over 4 years). I will reach above and beyond to help others be more safe. It's just in my nature.

Note that I've never once talked publicly about this, so I'm feeling a bit, weird.... But, for those who have been in intense situations or currently in a situation that involves death threats or your life in stake, feel free to open up to me about it. You can talk to me personally or anonymously at tessamero@gmail.com. I have so much experience dealing with harassment I know the exact steps to take to deal with the situation appropriately.

I want to really emphasize on the importance of keeping your attendees safe. You MUST take action and put your community first. :) If it's too uncomfortable for you, reach out to someone who can help. Like me :)

Question: Having organized so many wonderful events, do you have a generic process or template for event organizing that you would like to share with the community?

My brain is a very loud active place where I can listen to hundreds of tasks at once. I have it pretty clear in my head all the steps it takes to run a meetup or conference and have never really documented it. As for as spreadsheets/guides for smaller tasks of running events, I have created my own templates for everything. The most important for my conference is the Budget Spreadsheet, which determines whether you "make or break" financially and your reputation too.

If you want me to answer more questions, feel free to ask.

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humblefool_2 profile image
SangeethaKP

Thank you for the detailed answers Tessa!

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