Lindsay
user 10964086
Wheeling, WV
Post #: 98
I have been the primary organizer for Ohio Valley Vegetarians and Vegans in Wheeling, WV, for over a year. For this length of time I have struggled to get people to our Meetups. I send out email blasts, put announcements in the newspaper, and hang signs in the relatively few public places that are receptive to such things. Our group isn't wanting for members--we currently have 143. Yet every time, the folks who actually show up to meetups is a tiny fraction. If five people show up to any one event, that's amazing.

I found your group and was blown away by the activity and participation within your Meetup. I thought you might be able to teach me something. Right now, I'm at a loss. So tell me: How do you do it, and what could I be doing wrong?
Leslie
user 7040073
Durham, NC
Post #: 6,287
I think it takes awhile to build momentum with any new meetup group. Our group is 11 years old and has over 500 members, so that's a big part of its success. I think restaurant events and potlucks are probably the most popular kinds of events. It can also help to crosspost events with other meetup groups that may have an overlap in membership/interest.
Vicki
user 4486774
Fayetteville, NC
Post #: 9
Hi, Lindsay! Leading a Meetup group is tough. I tried once for six months and gave up for the same reason you're having trouble. One thing to keep in mind is the population you're working with. The population of the Triangle area is about 1.2 million, while the Wheeling MSA is around 150,000. You might also want to see who's in your group and what they're looking for. This group tends to skew toward the childless people, the majority of whom are 40 and under, so there are lots of events that wouldn't really work well for people with children.
Stephanie H.
vgtrian
Group Organizer
Durham, NC
Post #: 442
Lindsay - hang in there! Starting a meetup can be very challenging. Like others are pointing out, we only have a small percentage of active members. This is common in meetup groups. A lot of people join and then I never hear from them again. I have no idea why. A lot of times I'll post events that is something I'm going to anyway. That way it's not a lot of extra prep for you. Also I often get a completely different set of people when I post something short notice versus a lot of notice. It's also helpful to have an event each month at a set time. For a long time this event used to have only a standing Thursday dinner. There seems to be a higher percentage of shy people in the veg community as well so I think this impacts things. Good luck to you - keep us posted!
Lindsay
user 10964086
Wheeling, WV
Post #: 101
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and info. The group actually started in 2009, and seemed to have many more active members during its early meetings. I took over after several of the original core members dropped out, moved away, etc. Since then it has been a struggle.

Many of our members do have young children, so I've tried to offer numerous family-friendly activities, along with some others that are more geared toward adults--I try to keep a good mix. Even so, getting people out is ridiculously difficult. For example, I have held several events in which only 2 people showed up.

I really do think part of the problem is that nature of our culture. Facebook has ensured that actually speaking with people is no longer necessary to keep up with what's happening in their lives. Activism, too, has taken a hit. Nowadays signing an online petition or putting a slogan on your Facebook page counts as activism; fewer people want to go out to watch a movie about social issues, attend a fundraising event for a cause or so forth. So I think we're battling a lot of things here as Meetup organizers.
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