We departed from a singleheaded user group mostly on the shoulders of a single volunteer. Prior to 2014, making things happen for the BRSSUG was mostly on William (me), with sporadic help from volunteers. Prior to 2011, it was mostly on Patrick Leblanc (now with Microsoft), who started the group in <2008, with sporadic help from volunteers like myself,
So the rest of this blog post is intended for the audience of user group leadership, no matter what structure (or lack thereof) your user group leadership takes.
We started electing officers in 2014 (after our annual SQL Saturday) in order to serve four goals:
- Capitalize better on enthusiasm in the user group
- Foster more ownership-type thinking about the user group, with the hopes of increasing volunteerism
- Allow others the career/resume/networking benefits that leadership of a user group can provide
- Share the load, Mr Frodo
To be honest, we had mixed results in the first year. We're still rounding out who some tasks should be owned by, and peeling more and more tasks away from myself, and finding the right sense of volunteerism between meetings.
If you're considering having "elections" for user group officers, it's worth a try. Don't be surprised if the spirit of hesitance and collegiality leads all officers to be elected unopposed, with humble candidates try to out-humble eachother to cede victory to the other, or for some folks to run in absentee, or both. And that's totally okay.
This isn't supposed to be competitive officership. And if someone doesn't "win" an office and still wants to help? Great! As a leader, never shut down this sort of enthusiasm. Find some way to involve and foster that sense of ownership. Then, trust them to get the job done. Trust, but verify.
Remember, enthusiasm is the primary job qualification for volunteer user group leadership.
I'm very excited about our new officers in 2015-2016:
Adrian Aucoin (@CajunSQL) - President
Matthew Tessier (@MatthewTessier2) - VP of Media
Me (@william_A_dba) - VP of Logistics
Kenny Neal (@KennyNeal) - VP of Education and Court Jester
If you're curious (and these aren't original to us), here's the officers we elected tonight. Our buddies in the Baton Rouge .NET User Group elected their four as well.
- SQLPass Chapter Leader and SQLPass Representative
- Scheduling, Event Planning and Facility
- Website announcements (cooperatively with VP of Media)
- Officer communication and commitment followup
- Social Media communication
- Website updates, images, photography and announcements
- Mailing Lists spamming
- Lead Social Media (especially Twitter, Facebook, new outlets, brand management)
- Host facility communication/logistics/cleanup organization
- Organizing/verifying Monthly Food order
- Swag/prize receiver and collector
- Purchaser/Accounts Payable
- Books requests from various book publishers or training providers
- Applications for freebees, sponsorships, giveaways
- Work with regional UG's to arrange speaking tours
- Organize study groups, certification prep groups, other learning opportunities
- Speaker recruitment and centralized scheduling
- UG sponsor recruitment and centralized scheduling
- Act as master of ceremonies for UG meetings, raffle giveaways