This guide documents the relationship between TechSoup and NetSquared Local organizers and helps new organizers set up their group. It goes into detail and expands on the NetSquared organizer agreement.

Our Shared purpose

TechSoup joins together with NetSquared organizers to work towards our mission: advancing towards a time when every nonprofit and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on the planet has the technology resources and knowledge they need to operate at their full potential.

What do NetSquared Organizers do?

NetSquared organizers are volunteers who convene in-person gatherings for members of a community’s nonprofit and technology community to share best practices, learn from one another, and collaborate on projects for real world impact. The organizer determines the best format and topics for their group based on their personal interests and the needs of their local community.

We believe that in-person meetups are among the most effective ways to support technology capacity building in the NGO sector since it allows us to build strong self-supporting local peer networks that can provide ongoing support and training.

Time commitment

This varies a great deal depending on how deep you want to go, but a good estimate is one hour per week.

NetSquared Local Recipe

NetSquared Local events should have the following ingredients:

Our meetups are:
  1. Recurring (monthly ideally)
  2. Face-to-face
  3. Serve the nonprofit and social benefit community by increasing the tech skills of local organizations
  4. Accessible (free or low cost)

TechSoup's NetSquared team

NetSquared is a project of TechSoup Global, which provides software donations and training to charities and nonprofits. TechSoup operates in almost every country in the world. Find our local partner here: http://TechSoup.global

NetSquared operates globally and currently has over 70 active groups based in over 24 countries.

The entire TechSoup team supports NetSquared. Your primary contact is:

elijah
Elijah van der Giessen, NetSquared Community Manager
Eli is your day-to-day contact person for NetSquared Local. He is there to support organizers manage and grow their local groups and help develop new event formats and best practices.

In addition to supporting the NetSquared community Eli is the organizer of NetSquared Vancouver, one of the older NetSquared groups. Eli is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Email: eli@techsoup.org
Twitter: @elijah
Phone: +1-604-719-1079
Skype: elijah.vandergiessen
Schedule: http://calendly.com/elijah

RESOURCES OFFERED

TechSoup offers the following supports for NetSquared organizers

Meetup.com and Online Registration System

TechSoup Global covers the cost of hosting the organizer’s local meetup group on meetup.com (valued at $144/year). TechSoup acts as the account owner and gives the organizer “Co-organizer” status on meetup, which confers full administrative access as long as the organizer remains a full and active member NetSquared Local organizer.

If Meetup.com is not appropriate for your group (doesn’t have language support, etc.) we recommend the use of free event management services like eventbrite.com or a Facebook Page with Events.

NetSquared Website

http://www.NetSquared.org is the international hub of NetSquared Local and helps connect NetSquared’s global audience with the work of organizers.

TechSoup Global asks that organizers create a profile and a group page on the site and are given additional roles and permissions, including preferred posting privileges on our community blog. Organizers need to keep their profile and group page up-to-date (don’t worry - it’s easy! Once you’ve set-up your page it will automatically feature your meetup events, social media updates, photos and more!)

The organizer group page have the following features for the benefit of local organizers:
  • Integration with Meetup.com to automatically promote organizer events to all users of NetSquared.org (include geo-targeting to ensure we are sharing events with appropriate audiences)
  • Links to your group’s key social media presences


Support of the NetSquared Community Manager

NetSquared organizers are supported by TechSoup'a NetSquared Community Manager, who is tasked with onboarding new groups, offering guidance and best practices to the community, animating the mailing list and maintaining the NetSquared social media accounts. Basically, if you’ve got a question, the NetSquared Local Community Manager is there for you!

The Community Manager helps organizers build and growth their local community and will offer assistance to organizers seeking presenters, new co-organizers or tips on events. If the local organizer is struggling to hold frequent events the community manager will reach out and help the organizer develop a plan to reactivate their group.

NetSquared Email List

TechSoup maintains a Google Group for use by the NetSquared Local organizers. The list is where the community comes together share share best practices and where organizers offer their feedback to shape the direction of NetSquared.

All NetSquared Organizers are strongly encouraged to join the group, since it’s the primary way TechSoupkeeps in touch with organizers.

Connecting Organizers With the NetSquared Global Community

NetSquared works to connect organizers around the world through direct referrals and regularly scheduled online community calls. As resources permit we also bring organizers together through shared events, conferences and other meetings.

Organizer’s Handbook

TechSoup Global maintains the NetSquared Organizer’s Handbook, a public wiki created with contributions from NetSquared Local organizers. The handbook offers templates for events and tips for success. There’s a lot of content in there, so we suggest that new organizers begin with the quickstart guide.

Highlighting Your Activity

NetSquared Local events and projects are frequently featured across TechSoup Global media. Organizer’s activity and blog posts are included in the weekly By the Cup newsletter (over 90,000 subscribers), on the TechSoup and NetSquared blogs, and on NetSquared’s social media accounts. TechSoup Global is always looking for ways to make you famous!

Community Calls

We hold quarterly community calls.
This is your chance to share your local successes, surface emerging trends and let TechSoup know how we can improve your experience as a local organizer.

Benefits of Being a Local Organizer

NetSquared organizers find that hosting events is among the most satisfying volunteer projects they have ever taken on - because you’re in charge! Organizers become a vital connector for the social benefit and technology communities and build a reputation as an expert in their field. Being an organizer is a highly skilled and self-directed volunteer job that enables you to build your skills through the support of a network of similarly-minded community-oriented organizers.

NetSquared organizers also often see these benefits emerge:
  • Speaking and teaching requests
  • Contracting, consulting and employment opportunities
  • Friendships and mentorships

Other Ways We Can Work Together

We love working with you! We understand that you are volunteers (thank you!) and that each of will want to engage with NetSquared in a unique way that fits your time and interests.

The most well-organized, effective cities may be eligible for additional activities budgets, stipends, and other operational resources as funding permits.

Speakers List

Sometimes it can be hard to find someone to talk at your NetSquared event. We want to help! We are working with TechSoup's partners and friends to surface local speakers and live streamed events for your local members.

Event-in-a-Box

TechSoup Global will create one or more pre-prepared events and invite local organizers to participate locally. Support slides and materials will be available, or local content and presenters can be sourced. Live or recorded video may also be available.
See the wiki homepage for the latest theme months.

Travel and Training Bursaries

NetSquared is based on the power of local peer-to-peer networks, and we want to give that same experience to our local organizers. To that end we are working to create an annual travel bursary fund that will allow us to subsidize travel that connects local organizers together for shared events and participation in conferences and other training events. The fund will prioritize connecting organizers in the same region and is administered by the Regional Ambassadors.

EXPECTATIONS OF ORGANIZERS

NetSquared Local organizers agree to the following as part of their participation:

Values

NetSquared organizers should demonstrate the character and values espoused by TechSoup Global. These are:
  1. Honesty and integrity
  2. A commitment to building the social, technical and economic capacity of civil society actors and local communities
  3. A commitment to open and transparent communications

TechSoup Global asks that NetSquared Local organizers commit to the following:

Meetings and Frequency

Organizers should hold regular meetings that bring together social benefit organizations (with a focus on charitable nonprofits) and the technology community. Monthly meetings are preferred, with a requirement that organizers hold a minimum of four meetings per year.

Reporting Back

We ask that organizers share event reports with the NetSquared community by posting on the NetSquared community blog. These reports can come in a variety of formats, including prose, video, social media, etc.

Organizer Survey

TechSoup Global will survey NetSquared Local organizers annually asking them to share their success, struggles and general feedback on being a NetSquared Local organizer.

An anonymized summary of the report will be shared with organizers.

This information will supplement TechSoup Global’s reporting which collects the date, title and # of participants for each of your meetups, which we use for monitoring the community’s health and reporting to TechSoup Global management.

Community Survey

An annual general community survey will also be distributed via the meetup.com group mailing lists to NetSquared Local members. The survey is intended to help TechSoup Global and NetSquared Local organizers determine the composition and needs of the community. Questions will focus on topics and services of interest, location, organization sector and title. An optional invitation will be included to be added to the TechSoup Global mailing list.

The scheduling of this message will be done in collaboration with the organizer to ensure that there are no clashes around scheduling.

The global results of this survey will be shared and local organizers will receive the data collected from their local group members.

Theme of Events

Events should be focused on topics at the intersection of technology and social change and should be aligned with our shared purpose.

Active Status

NetSquared Local organizers must meet minimum criteria to be considered active organizers and receive support from TechSoup Global.
  • Organizer must maintain the values of NetSquared and hold events that advance our shared purpose.
  • Organizer must hold at least one in-person public NetSquared meetup per year (previous 12 months)
  • Organizer must report back on their activity at least once per year (previous 12 months).

If the following are not true TechSoup Global will consider the group inactive and may stop paying the group’s meetup fees and remove the group from http://www.NetSquared.org
An appeal can be made to the NetSquared Community Manager, who will bring it to the Director of Community Engagement for adjudication.

APPENDIX

Onboarding a New Organizer

We follow this process when bringing a new organizer into the NetSquared community.
  1. Prospective organizer fills out application form.
  2. Interview is scheduled with the NetSquared Local Community Manager
  3. If approved the new organizer is given access to a new Meetup.com group
  4. Organizer added to the email list
  5. Organizer creates group page on http://www.NetSquared.org
  6. Organizer holds first event
  7. Follow-up interview held with NetSquared Local Community Manager
…. and we go from there!

Naming Your Group

NetSquared Local groups go by a variety of names. We encourage the use of “NetSquared [City name]” but several variants are used. The most common are:
  • NetSquared [City name]
  • Tech4Good [City name]

Key Resources

The Organizers Handbook has case studies and templates collected from the Net2 community

Social Media Profiles

We encourage NetSquared organizers to create social media profiles for their group.
These online spaces provide a way for groups to elevate their profile online while enabling the NetSquared team to integrate ongoing community feedback into our program development efforts.

Suggested hashtags and profile names:

Twitter

NetSquared maintains a twitter profile: @NetSquared and uses the hashtag #Net2
We share events and links from the NetSquared community and add NetSquared Local group profiles to our NetSquared Local list.

We encourage all groups to use the NetSquared hashtag (#net2) and also create their own hashtag or create a twitter account for their group.

Examples:
  • #Net2[City Name] ie. #Net2Austin
  • @Net2[city name] ie. @Net2Seattle

Facebook

NetSquared maintains a Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/NetSquared
We share events and links from the NetSquared community and Like the pages created by local organizers.