Organize a release party Edit on github
Hosting release party or an offline meeting is a great way to promote your open source project. This kind of events provide an opportunity for users and contributors living in the same area to come together as a community. The event format is varied. It can be a small meeting in a local coffee shop, a larger scale event with more people in attendance, an installation party, a serie of workshops presentations, panels etc. Below is a step-by-step guide that aims to help you set-up a simple party in order to establish a closer connection with your colleagues, users and existing or future contributors.
Step 1: Set a clear agenda
Before you come up with an agenda for your event, you should set a clear goal of what you want to achieve or get out of this event. For instance:
- To raise awareness of an initiative or a project
- To present a new feature or announce a next gen. release
- To acquire new users or new customers
- To show people how to deploy an application
- To show active users how to contribute to the projects
- To get people together to do some coding and fix bugs.
15 mins Welcome & Networking
20 mins Announcement // Presentation No.1
10 mins Short break
20 mins Presentation No.2
Ends + Time to mingle
You could consider to invite a special guest (a famous speaker) to attract a wider group of audience.
Step 2: Select a date & time
It is a good idea to check out company calendar or local events calendar (meetup.com) to avoid a clash with any event on a similar topic. Schedule at the end of the workday, but also keep in mind that community members have family to get home to. We would recommend set the date of your event to be at least 3 weeks in the future.
Step 3: Lockdown venue, logistics, budget
This is the most important step to make your event happen. Look for a venue that is willing to donate their space to you for free. Office spaces, fablabs, hackerspaces, coworkingspaces are a few options that you might wnat to consider. Not sure where to start? Ask your friends who work in office spaces about if their company might be open to hosting your event.
And it is definitely a good idea to plan a budget for your event. So you can offer snacks and drinks to the attendees. What kind of food to offer? It really depends on your budget. It could be pizza, finger food, bread & cheese or just fruit & chips but it is important to provide vegetarian/gluten free options.
If you are a Zalando employee, Zalando’s Event Team is there to help you. Check out this article for more details.
Step 4: Assemble your organizing team
You should have at least 2 people in the organizing team. This could be a colleague, team member or one of your friends. When you begin planning, make sure to delegate tasks to different people so that each person can help make progress along the way. You should have people to fill-in major roles/responsibilities during the event such as:
- The host/MC
- Receptionist (take care of check-in)
- Caterer (take car of food & drink)
Make sure you keep documentation of the planning progress and share it with all the organizing team members. Remember to plan to back-up in case you or your colleague for any reason might not be able to run the event.
Step 5: Open up registration
Registration gives you an idea how many people might turn up and the profile of audience which could be useful for you to plan your communication strategy more effectively at the event.
For registration, you could use Google Form, Google Calendar, or open source solution Eventyay.
Send out personal invitations to people who have unique background that could be valued at the event. People often appreciate to receive personal attention.
Free events, no matter where in the world they take place, receive around 50% turnout is a good scenario. This means if you want 50 people at your event, you need to register 100 tickets. And don’t forget to record who actually show up at your event.
Step 6: Announce your event publicly
A few things that you can do:
- Create a facebook event including your sign-up form.
- Share a short announcement message on social media (refer to the social media tips).
- Send an announcement email to relevant mailing lists
If you are a Zalando employee, you can contact Zalando Community Management team and employer branding team, they can help you to promote your event.
Step 7: Send a reminder to attendees
Be sure to send a reminder email with event agenda to the registered attendees at least one time before the event. Some people might forget what they sign up for.
When to send out a reminder? 4 - 7 days before the event + 1 day before the event (optional). One might be sufficient if you don’t want to spam people. Some people do appreciate a reminder.
Step 8: Post event to-dos
Once the event is over, it is recommended that the organizers take some time to discuss the outcome and follow-ups. The following questions help you go through the post-event process.
- How many people did attend the event?
- Did you record contacts of attendees for follow-up?
- What went well?
- What should have been done better?
- Was there any interesting feedback/comments from audience?
- Was there any potential contributors/candidate?
- Did we send out thank you email with follow-up links, content?
- Did we share meeting minutes with our community (via mailing list)?
- Did we publish photos and videos if any?