NetSquared State of the Union: Annual Report for July 2018 –> June 2019

elijah's picture

NetSquared State of the Union FY19

NetSquared's fiscal year begins July 1, so every summer I look back at the previous year of the community's activity to identify trends and lessons learned. This time I'll be looking at FY19, which covers July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

NetSquared is TechSoup’s global network of volunteer-led nonprofit technology meetups. We're the answer to the question “where can I get support to use technology effectively at my nonprofit?” Event attendees build their networks and learn practical digital skills to support their programs, marketing and fundraising.

NetSquared by the Numbers

Untitled

Here's all the numbers for July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

  • # of events: 1,154 (vs 1,119 previous year) ⬆️3%
  • # of RSVPs: 10,279 (vs 11,529 previous year) ⬇️️11%
  • # of active groups: 125 (vs 120 previous year) ⬆️14%
  • # of countries with active group: 41 (vs 34 previous year) ⬆️4%
  • # of meetup.com members: 68,154 (vs 58,212 previous year) ⬆️17%
  • # of new groups created: 48 (vs 30 previous year) ⬆️60%

Two things stick out for me:

  1. The number of events is basically flat, as is the number of active groups. Based on my discussions with people who do similar work we are coming close to the natural limit that a single community manaager can support. NetSquared may need more staffing to keep growing.
  2. The number of RSVPs is down even while the number of new groups created is up. This can be explained by the fact that several larger groups shuttered this year and were replaced with new groups based in smaller cities, so they aren't drawing the same number of attendees.

Untitled

Highlights from the Previous Year

New Organizer's Documentation

The Organizer's Handbook wiki, more than eight years old, was desperately in need of a refresh. This year we re-wrote all the documentation and are now using Zendesk. So searchable! The Handbook includes new event formats like an introduction to TechSoup, Google Analytics, and the Technology Show and Tell.

Open Collective

Groups with local sponsors can now use Open Collective, a virtual bank account and expense management system that simplifies all the $$ questions.

Monthly Training Webinars

Monthly Organizer webinars are back! Local leaders co-host discussions on topics like event marketing and event reporting.

NetSquared Values & Ground Rules

NetSquared Community Values + Ground Rules Slide

We worked with the local group leaders to distill a set of "ground rules" for event attendees. In five short points they are:

  1. We welcome everyone
  2. We put community first
  3. We build stronger nonprofits
  4. We invite participation
  5. We treat each other with kindness and respect

We'll build on this next with with a formal Code of Conduct and documented process for complaints and concerns.

Sense of Community survey:

Membership

We've learned that approximately 80% of group leaders are "satisfied" but this number wasn't allowing us to determine how we can make the NetSquared organizer experience better. So we turned to the industry standard Sense of Community Index (SCI). Learn more about what we discovered and the steps we're taking to create a better experience.

Event Topics

NetSquared Most Popular Topics for FY19

NetSquared doesn't have a set curriculum, so every group develops their event topics based on their community's unique challenges. This allows us to listen to the needs of local nonprofits globally, which informs the work of TechSoup and the entire NetSquared network. When we categorize the events the most popular topics are:

  1. Social media
  2. Techsoup & free/discounted tools
  3. Fundraising
  4. Staff adoption of technology
  5. Creating apps and other mobile tech

In the coming year we will increase support for our community of NetSquared groups. Together we can serve TechSoup's mission of putting technology tools and skills into the hands of nonprofits and charities so that they be more effective in delivering on their mission.

If you want to join our tribe find your closest group on NetSquared.org or apply to start your own group.