1 2 Previous Next 26 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2016 10:43 AM by sreese

    Starting a local FileMaker group

    sreese

      Greetings,

       

      I am working on getting a FileMaker group up and running locally. There are a couple an hour or two away, but where I live is large enough to support its own group I am certain.


      Does anyone have advice on how to make a successful group? I have already started a meetup, and I have our first meeting scheduled for next week.

       

      Thanks!

       

      Scott

        • 1. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
          TonyWhite

          Hi Scott,

           

          Where are you located, and do you have a link to the meetup page?

           

          Here is the web page for a group that meets on a small island in the North Atlantic and still has pretty good attendance...

          New York FileMaker Pro Developers' Group

          ...no need to RSVP, all are welcome.

           

          I joined a bunch of the meetups around the country...

          http://www.meetup.com/find/?allMeetups=false&keywords=filemaker&radius=Infinity&userFreeform=Brooklyn%2C+NY&mcId=z11201&…

          ...to get emails and ideas from others.

           

          Not sure why meetup stopped sending emails. Off to work on that issue...

           

          Tony White

          • 2. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
            taylorsharpe

            I recommend you align yourself with the official "FileMaker Pro Users Group" organization at www.fmpug.org.  Andy Gaunt heads things up there and I suggest you give him a call or contact him on their web page. 

             

            I run one of the local chapters and we are in Dallas, Texas.  Finding a time and regular schedule is always a challenge at first.  My group has chosen to meet at lunch on the first Friday of each month.  Many groups meet in the evenings.  The lunch group during the business week probably draws more professionals and the evening times are more likely to draw casual or new people to FileMaker.  So when you meet might depend on who your target audience is. 

             

            Find out who the local FileMaker Business Alliance companies are and see if they will help with presentations or maybe even a meeting space. 

            • 3. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
              sreese

              I'm in Grand Rapids, MI. Fortunately I work in a facility with several large rooms that we can use, but I just have the meet and greet scheduled at Panera and trying to get some input from the other people who have joined the meet up.

               

              I will have to post the meetup link while I'm not at work though. They block meetup as a dating website.

               

              I thought about joining FM Pug but there isn't a group anywhere near me (3-4 hours away), and I don't know that I want people to have to pay to join and or attend. Unless I'm misunderstanding how FMPug works.

              • 4. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                beverly

                Howdy, Scott! Here are my tips:

                 

                1. don't do it all by yourself

                 

                2. provide a mix of newbie and expert topics.

                ... AND ... let the newbies know that if they don't quite understand the topic, they will "get it" when they need it later & and the expert can also benefit with the newbie topics as you can sometimes glean a 'different' way that you may not have thought before.

                 

                3. provide remote access to sound and/or screens, as you can often get members that just can't make it for valid reasons AND you can then also provide a way for remote presenters (always good!)

                 

                4. have a way to communicate (newsletter, blog, email) between meetings &

                provide a way to get demos, if available

                 

                5. have a registration system, as head counts help

                 

                6. advertise your group here and through fmpug

                 

                7. develop a relationship with your FMI reps, as they may be able to assist you with presentations (new product rallies, etc.)

                 

                beverly

                 

                p.s. my experience? co-founder of: DigFM (Santa Clara, CA), FM SIG of CapMac (Austin, TX) and assisted with KY_FMPUG (Louisville, KY)

                • 5. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                  monkeybreadsoftware

                  How about you join the PauseOnError 2016 in Cleveland?

                   

                  http://pausecleveland2016.wikispaces.com

                   

                  even if you can't come for all days, you could join and discuss a local user group for the area between Chicago and Cleveland. There are probably a few locals on that conference, too.

                  • 6. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                    taylorsharpe

                    Actually, I was thinking about your starting an FMPUG chapter yourself in Grand Rapids.  Andy would be able to help out and it certainly is easy to do.  Your Meet Up group would become an FMPUG group then, but nothing else would change about it except you would get some of the assistance of FMPUG and also FileMaker recognizes FMPUG as the official Users Group and often reaches out to the local chapters.  In fact, FileMaker Inc usually comes to and gives a presentation at one of our meetings about once a year. 

                    • 7. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                      sreese

                      Those are some good ideas Beverly. I don't know how much of that I can do by myself, but I will keep it in mind.

                      • 8. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                        sreese

                        Cleveland is 8+ hours away from me. I won't be making it down there. Plus I do the whole single parent thing so I have to plan in advanced to do anything. I had thought of going, but sadly it just isn't feasible for me at this time.

                        • 9. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                          sreese

                          I will check into it. I just don't know that I want to force people to join FMPug to be a part of the group. I am certain that there is a lot to help though with things they have to help get a meeting going.

                          • 10. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                            beverly

                            I repeat:

                            1. don't do it all by yourself

                             

                            the rest is with help!

                            beverly

                            • 11. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                              BruceRobertson

                              I've tried; but I've never had any luck at all contacting FMPUG.

                              • 12. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                                jormond

                                Also, reach out to FileMaker...make friendly with the Business Account Manager ( BAM ) for your region. They could be a big help in getting the word out. I don't remember off the top of my head if Mia Roop handles that area, or if it was someone else.

                                 

                                Either way, FMI can be a valuable resource to help get started, along with FMPug.

                                • 13. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                                  sreese

                                  I work for a government entity so we have our own rep. I'll reach out to here tomorrow and find out what she knows. I know we have a new one. I just received an email from here a week or two ago.

                                   

                                  Thanks for the advice Josh.

                                  • 14. Re: Starting a local FileMaker group
                                    taylorsharpe

                                    sreese wrote:

                                     

                                    I will check into it. I just don't know that I want to force people to join FMPug to be a part of the group. I am certain that there is a lot to help though with things they have to help get a meeting going.

                                     

                                     

                                    Ahhhh, well, you also can't force people to come and participate either, but you can encourage them to.  To be honest with you, only a handful of our most regular members join FMPUG as actual dues paying members, but I encourage them to join as a way to support the organization and help make things available to members.  We invite people to join, but we never ask for their membership status when they come to meetings.  Actually, we don't even have access to that information.  So we are loosely affiliated with FMPUG, but find it a beneficial relationship.  And if there is a FMPUG chapter that tries to force people to do anything, I doubt it will survive very long.  This is about sharing and educating and supporting each other, not forcing something. 

                                     

                                    You certainly do not have to use the umbrella of FMPUG and can just hold your own informal meetings.  But if you want to inquire on the benefits, Andy Gaunt is the main FMPUG contact and you can reach him at andy@fmpug.com.  Feel free to ask him such questions as why would it be beneficial to be under the FMPUG umbrella.  And if not, just have your own informal user group meetings.  Remember it is about fun and learning, not organizational structure. 

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