Reviewing Meetup Venue Requests

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From time to time, WordPress Community Support will receive a request from a Meetup group to assist in paying for their venue. To review venue requests, you’ll need the following things:

When a request is received, check the following:

  1. Why the Meetup has left the previous venue (if there was one)
    • If they outgrew the previous venue, then check attendance on Meetup.com. Make sure they are doing the things we would expect to make outgrowing a venue reasonable (regular events, engaging with members, etc).
    • If this is their first venue (and perhaps first event at all), then email back to suggest trying out a low key and free venue while they pick up speed. Exceptions include areas where we would like to see more community involvement and the lack of a formal venue is a cultural hindrance.
  2. Whether or not the organizer has asked the group as a whole for alternatives
    • If they have not emailed the group about venue options, then have them do that first.
    • If they have emailed the group and there are no other options, then continue to the second round of checking!

If the reasoning behind needing funds for a venue checks out, and the organizer did the necessary background work, then it’s time to review the venue. Meetup venues have the same guidelines as WordCamp venues:

  • easy to access both from a transportation and human mobility standpoint
  • in a relatively safe area of town (this is based on local sentiment, not US-specific sentiment)
  • has whatever tech requirements the group deemed necessary (internet access, power outlets, projectors/beamers are common requirements)
  • food/refreshments are not a factor for Meetup event spaces. That’s a nice to have, not a must have.

Note: You can ask the organizing team questions about it, do your own online research, or reach out directly to the venue. It’s your call!

If it all checks out, it’s time to check the pricing! When at all possible, we want to group venue payments into as few payments as possible, in order to keep bank fees to a minimum. Below are a few guidelines and some best practices:

  • Aim for 3-5 USD per person. This is an average and doesn’t have to be exactly right for every single event.
  • Ask the meetup organizer/requestor to work with the venue for the following:
    • Try to work with the venue to get billed with events as units rather than months as units (charging per event gives organizers flexibility and doesn’t force anyone to lose money if a month has to be skipped)
    • Ask for an invoice that includes multiple events/months rather than an invoice for each event.
    • Ask for a 5-10% discount when paying in bulk (since it’s a guarantee of funds, most venues will be happy to work with you on this). If no discount is available, that’s okay. It never hurts to ask.

Once the venue is approved for an acceptable rate, tag the email in HelpScout as `needs-payment` and include all pertinent notes. A deputy that handles finances will then pick up and process the request.

That’s it! You’ve made a community’s life happier and healthier. Good work!