Blockchain meetups provide information and community to blockchain investors and enthusiasts.
Blockchain meetups are informational gatherings where people interested in cryptocurrency can meet and learn more about different blockchain-related topics. Running a blockchain meetup might help you connect with blockchain investors in your area, grow your email list, and promote your blockchain project to others one-on-one.
Getting Started with Your First Meetup
The first thing to do if you want to run a blockchain meetup is to make an account on Meetup.com. Next, you need a catchy name for your group–one that hasn’t been used in your area before. In the Boston area, for example, one group is called the Blockchain Investors Supergroup, while another is called the Boston Blockchain Association Presents.
Blockchain enthusiasts will find your Meetup group listing through the site, and you can also invite existing contacts to help grow and populate the group. When you have some group members, you can set up your first meetup. Just be sure to monitor your Meetup group for spam comments and trolls, which can make people wonder about your group’s legitimacy and keep them away from your face-to-face meetups.
Finding a Venue
WeWork may be a good place to start when looking for a space for your meetup since WeWork owns Meetup. Co-working spaces are good options because they provide space for as little as a few hours to a day. Your venue should be in a location with public transportation and parking nearby, and ideally near at least one restaurant or bar where an afterparty might take place.
Structuring the Meetup
The schedule for a meetup will probably look something like this:
- 6:30 Food and Drinks
- 7:00 Speaker or Panel
- 7:30 Q & A
- 8:00 Networking
- 9:00 Afterparty
The structure can vary depending on how long you have the space rented. For instance, if you only have until 8:00, you can suggest networking and mingling at the afterparty location. Your setup crew of at least two to three people should arrive about an hour-and-a-half early to move chairs into a circle or other configuration conducive to discussion and mingling, get tables out of the way, and set up the food.
It is also a good idea to have a Bluetooth speaker to play music during the gathering, eating, and networking times because, as veteran meetup facilitator and Media Shower CEO John Hargrave says, “It can be awkward if people are mingling and it’s really quiet.”
It is important to have food at your meetup. If you feed them, they will come! Good food may bring more people because they figure even if the speaker is not on their top ten list of folks they want to hear, at least they get to eat a decent meal. Even basic food and drink will be a draw. If you want to have beer or wine as part of your meetup, that’s fine. Just don’t mention it on Meetup.
Speaker or Panel
Having a speaker who is recognized in the blockchain community is important for turnout. If people don’t think they will learn something new from an expert, they will be less likely to give you their time. For a panel of several people discussing a topic, you can go with lesser-known participants because expertise will be more assumed.
Getting speakers for your meetup can be time-consuming and can involve much research on LinkedIn as well as many phone calls, emails, and instant messages, but it will pay dividends in getting more people to come and keeping interest in the meetup high. Informal blockchain discussion meetups do exist, but they tend to be small (a core of maybe 12-15) and can fizzle out over time.
Q & A and Networking
Many people value meetups because investors can learn from each other and discover what kinds of questions people have about blockchain topics. Networking can also help blockchain entrepreneurs find new investors and others interested in their projects. A strong Q &A session along with adequate time for networking helps to ensure that your attendees will be engaged and excited about the topics you are covering.
You will probably only have the room until a certain time, so it may be helpful to suggest a nearby bar or restaurant for those interested in further discussion to gather for an afterparty. The afterparty can help to develop relationships between group members that can turn into business relationships or just keep interest in the meetups high.
What Are the Costs of a Meetup?
Costs of a meetup can range from a little to a lot, depending on your resources and how much you are willing to spend. Unless you already have centrally located office space, your space will cost about $125-250. Food for about 50 people can run $250-500 or even more if you are in a space that requires you to use their catering services and doesn’t allow outside food. Speakers may charge a fee as well, particularly if they are well-known.
You also have some other needs like simple signage and materials duplication, a Bluetooth speaker for music and the speaker, and nametags. These costs may be a few hundred dollars, but most of that is for the initial equipment with ongoing costs for each event being minimal.
What If Your Budget Is Small?
One way to keep costs low is to see if the co-working space provider has any initial offers for a free night. You can keep the food really simple by making it yourself or only having pizza and soda, and you can decide to only use speakers and panelists that will come for free.
Another way to cover costs is to find a sponsor for the meetup, such as a blockchain startup or other company that will pay a set amount toward the costs of the meetup. While you don’t want to let the meetup become simply an advertisement for a sponsor, you can thank them from the platform and allow them to hand out flyers or cards to your attendees. You may also give them a brief time to talk about what they do if you think it’s appropriate.
Finally, you can try to cover costs by charging a small amount for admission to the meetup. Charging admission may work if you have a robust group of regular attendees who see the value in the meetup, but it can keep a lot of people away from a newly forming group and have a definite dampening effect on your numbers if you’re just getting established.
An alternative to charging admission is to make a basket available at sign-in and at the end of the meeting so people can donate if they want to do so. It’s hard to tell how successful this will be until you do it, but it gives people a way to show their appreciation if they feel the content is valuable. Just monitor the basket so the money doesn’t “disappear” when it is unattended.
Other Pro Tips for Meetups
The meetup can easily exceed its time limitations if you allow introductions to go on too long or don’t let the speakers know how much time they have. Besides the speaker, you need an emcee that has a high degree of respect for the schedule and can move things along with a brief introduction of the speaker, make sure the Q&A goes smoothly, and offer concluding comments that dismiss people and let them know about networking or afterparty opportunities.
You will need to give a risk disclosure and personal disclosure as part of the presentation. This is to avoid liability both personally and as a blockchain entrepreneur. People need to know that they shouldn’t rely on anything presented in the meetup for professional advice or financial planning but that they should use the ideas presented as part of a discussion with their personal financial advisors to help them make investment decisions.
You will need someone near the entrance to get people to sign in so you can collect their email addresses. You can use emails to keep people updated about your meetup activities and to promote your own blockchain projects, preferably through an opt-in format to avoid the appearance of spamming.
Using this guide, you can run a successful blockchain meetup to raise awareness about blockchain topics in your community and help meet your goals as a blockchain entrepreneur. Download our ICO marketing spreadsheet for more information about blockchain marketing.