- Decide on a date, time, location, format. (If you wait for someone else to do it, it may never happen.)
- Date/time: Choosing a date several weeks in advance allows attendees to plan ahead and allows more time for publicity. Different days of the week work better for different locations. For example, Boston typically meets up on the week-ends, currently Saturdays (when people have time available), while London typically meets on a weekday evening (when everyone is in the city for work). You won’t necessarily be able to find a date that works for everyone, choose one that works for “enough” people and go with it. Those that can’t make it might be able to come to a future event (perhaps even one that they plan themselves).
- Location: for the first meet-up, more people will be more comfortable meeting in a public place such as a park, bar, or café. If the location is outside, have a backup plan in case of poor weather. Subsequent meet-ups might be held in someone’s living room or other private space.
- Format: for the first meet-up, a casual “meet and greet” format works well. The Financial Independence London group has used this format for years. Subsequent meet-ups might be similarly casual or take another format. Here are meet-ups that I have seen work successfully for different groups: a potluck, kayaking, hiking, running, a moderated discussion, a presentation followed by discussion, learning bike riding and/or maintenance, playing Cashflow/other board games, poker night. Keep in mind the values of financial independence—lower-cost activities that allow time for socialization are more likely to be well-attended (e.g. hiking allows talking while walking).
- Publicize (e.g. MMM forums, ERE forums, /r/financialindependence, /r/EuropeFIRE, Financial Independence Europe group).
- A few days before the meet-up, post (everywhere you have publicized it) to assure others that it is really happening. Add details of how to find the group (e.g. “There will be sign with ‘FIRE’ written on it, and I will be wearing a sparkling green leprechaun hat as well as purple sunglasses.”).
- On the day of the meet-up, arrive with enough time to get settled before others arrive. If possible, post online that you have arrived and any last-minute details (“I’m sitting on a red picnic blanket on the north side of the gazebo.”).
- Enjoy meeting other like-minded FI-interested individuals.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact an ambassador—they are happy to help! Suggestions for how to improve this guide welcome!