The first Toronto CiviCRM Meetup held at the RNAO headquarters near King St and University Ave last night was a great success.
There were 29 registrants and about that many attended. (It seems like the small number of regrets and no-shows were canceled out by non-registered people showing up!)
Louis-Charles Lavallée, the Director Information Management & Technology at the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario welcomed everyone to the event. People introduced themselves, revealing a good mix of people wanting to learn about and currently using CiviCRM. There were a number of consultants, small and large non-profits, and several political campaigns and parties represented. I presented an overview of CiviCRM focussing on functionality and the strength and growth of the community culled from a couple of CiviCRM core team presentations (see attached). TechSoup Canada's great cookies and brownies fed the conversation and networking at the break, accompanied by fair trade coffee provided by the RNAO. The Q&A session lasted for a bit over an hour, and involved discussions ranging over a variety of use cases and technical and 'business' matters.
Everyone agreed on having case study presentations followed by discussions as the format for at least the next few meetups. At some point more developer focussed meetups may be arranged, but there is a desire to ensure that users and prospective users of CiviCRM remain a core focus of the presentations. Tim Haritun of the RNAO offered to present at the June 15th meetup on the pilot of their migration from AmSoft to CiviCRM, and Justin Lee suggested afterwards that he would be interested in presenting work he's doing for the Prader-Willi Foundation of Canada on a migration from Convio to CiviCRM.
With all of the exchanges of business cards and small talk, it was almost 9pm before the last of us got out the door. Some people headed to a nearby bar to see if they could catch the end of the Montreal-Philadelphia playoff hockey game.
The RNAO has generously agreed to look into webcasting future meetups, and to assist in setting up a discussion list for group members.