I know Werner DeGruyter will like the title of this post, so here’s a post dedicated to him as my last week at Oracle is off to a busy start…. 🙂
As I attempt to wrap up any open tasks at Oracle, I’m still Training Days 2017 Conference Director for RMOUG, have a planning meeting for the 800 member Girl Geek Dinner Boulder/Denver Meetup group that I’m the owner of, designing the booth and building out all the projects for the MakerFaire event at the Denver Science Museum next weekend and now have taken on the Summer Quarterly Education Workshop at the Denver Aquarium in the end of July. This is a bit much as I start a new job for the end of June, but there are things that need to be done for community organizations to survive and often not enough people doing it.
As I know that many other user groups are in the same boat, I come to you with pleading, open arms and say to you, as part of your community, volunteer your time. If all of us give a little, it really adds up to a lot in the end. As attendees at conferences, events and meetups ask what happened to this or that group and wonders why they don’t have activities any longer, it seems to always boil down to commitment from it’s volunteers. If it’s not fed and cared for by time and care, then it won’t survive. I have this conversation at almost every user group conference and hear similar stories from meetup groups and other event groups that you might think are no where related. It all comes back to the passion and commitment of those involved, along with the support of those that may not be giving as much, but ensure those that are, are well cared for.
So here are the rules for the survival of a group:
- Everyone do a little so no one is doing too much and you end up losing those valuable resources. I see volunteer groups and board of directors that are commonly unbalanced and that is expected- we all have lives and demands, but if it’s always like this with no check and balances, then it’s time to for people to step up and put in some time.
- If you aren’t doing, you don’t complain. If you do see something that isn’t working well and want it fixed, please be prepared to volunteer some time to help out vs. volunteering others to do the work. That’s just flaky and do you really want to be that flaky whiner at the event? 🙂
- Support the people who volunteer their time to your groups and defend them within an inch of your life. Without them you don’t have a user group, you don’t have new members, you age out and your user group dies a slow, quiet death. If you doubt me, just look at the strewn carcasses of user groups that were once impressive specimens in the event world.
- There is no magic formula. What works for one group might not work for another. There are some very impressive individuals that are working hard to create the newest, shiniest events that attract speakers, sponsors and attendees. This is how it always will be. The groups that have been around awhile just need to keep updating with the new and improved to stay on top of the game and compete.
RMOUG has an incredible board of directors and our volunteers are SECOND to NONE!! This has served us well all these years. I don’t know how I would survive the demands of Training Days if it wasn’t for the volunteers and those on the board that help me when the going gets tough. I’m quite aware of this need in other user groups as well.
So here’s the challenge for those of you out there- Reach out to your local user group and consider volunteering a little time to one of it’s events.
- Help with event check in.
- Help with setup.
- Consider sponsorship with your company.
- Consider helping with the board, (we have members at large on our board that is a good way to test out the waters as a board member.)
- Look at how to become a board of director.
Ask the user group or meetup what they could use help with and DO IT.
Here is the list of regional user groups from Oracle and from IOUG. Find yours and volunteer to your community. It’s worth your time, valuable to your career, and it’s the only way they can continue to be successful.