Looking for any and all suggestions for how to identify and snare sponsors and venues for meetups?
Start by thinking about who would have benefit from sponsoring such events, then present them with your plan for meetup and how you think it would benefit them.
In a city where I currently live tech meetups are mostly sponsored by tech companies that have offices here. Their recruitment officer usually attends meetup so they can look for next potential employee, and even if they don’t find anyone meetup will at least raise awareness about their company among those that might be interested in that field.
For meetup venue try contacting coworking offices.
You might find that recruitment agencies may be interested in sponsoring meetups. Here in the (UK) Midlands, our meetup has attracted attention from one agency because they genuinely want to understand testing as a discipline. This has a number of wins; we are finding that a lot of freelancers are coming to the meetups to keep themselves current with what’s happening, which is useful for the recruiters; whilst the sponsoring recruiter is getting a better idea of testing so that they can work better with clients who themselves may not have a good idea of what testing actually involves. (After all, once a job description has left the laptop of a test manager, it may be in the hands of a distant HR department who themselves know nothing about testing. If the recruiter they talk to has a degree of knowledge about the profession, then that is better for all.)
Thanks, Milos. I wasn’t aware of coworking spaces, so I’ll look into those. Are those likely to be negotiable on price (down to free!) for a couple of hours in the evening?
Thanks for the reply, Robert. I hadn’t even considered approaching recruitment agencies, but it makes sense. I’ll give that a try!
I believe so, especially if they are smaller or newer ones that still have enough room in their schedule. Meetups usually attract a lot of freelancers, and coworking spaces are mostly renting space to freelancers who do not want to work from home. So that’s a nice marketing opportunity for them.
I’ll try to get more info from organizers once I attend next local WordPress meetup (in about two weeks), they always use one of the local coworking spaces.
Richard, I think the approach to use would be to see if they have a specialist IT team and perhaps see if they have an understanding of what makes testing different. You may have to evangelise a bit about the craft first and you may end up rejecting some agencies before they reject you.
The profile of a likely sponsor will not necessarily be an agency that already specialises in testers (though that would be ideal if you can find one!), but one with enough insight to say “We’d not thought about that.” The key account person in our recruitment agency sponsor comes to meetups even when they aren’t being held on their premises and the agency puts their hand in their pocket to help with catering on such occasions. They have (as far as I can see) a genuine desire to understand testing and testers and the wide range of candidates they may encounter. The better they understand us, the better they will be able to represent us to their clients.