On Thursday, June 4 2009 we had a CiviCRM meetup in NY. We set up this event via CiviEvent a couple of weeks prior to the event. Cynthia T managed to get us a room at the American Friends Service Committee building near Union Square. We filled up the 28 open slots for the event fairly quickly. We had a pretty good mixture of people. From experienced users to a folks who were just getting started with CiviCRM and wanted to learn more. There was also a large group of folks from different food cooperatives who were interested in using CiviCRM to manage the coop.
We started off with a round of introductions (name, organization, CiviCRM user, main thing you want to get from the meeting). Since this was our first meetup, it enabled us to get an idea of where folks were coming from. Following this was a presentation by Alice Aguilar from Progressive Technology Project on PowerBase and the reasoning behind using CiviCRM. This was followed by an extended Q&A session across a variety of topics. Some of the questions were: Drupal vs Joomla (the room had an approx 70% Drupal - 30% Joomla breakdown), 2.3 features and schedule, how things make it into core, usability, CCK integration and how the community can help / contribute code / patches to the project.
We then split up into two groups. One group continued with more Q&A. The folks (sacha, jane, joseph) from rayogram described some of their client implementations and some of the limitations they encountered. They have done a lot of interesting work including moving data from Blackbaud/Raisers Edge to CiviCRM and a comparison of CiviCRM vs some other commercial tools. We plan on working with them and getting a lot of the work they've done documented and distributed. They have also started using Personal Campaign Pages (PCP) to manage fundraising for a large national organization.
Since there was a lot of energy around food coop + CiviCRM, the co-op group (Bay Ridge, Clinton Hills, Park Slope, and the East Village (4th street?)) decided to get together and discuss, plan, strategize what each co-op needs, where they are, and next steps to move to a civiCRM / drupal installation and hosting options with MayFirst. They're looking at civi to help manage their volunteers.
The next meetup will be on August 6th at 6:00 pm. You can register for the meetup here. The location will be determined soon. We are also planning a training camp in the NY area on September 8-10. We will have a registration page for this in the next few days.
Finally in the spirit of eating our own dog food, we've been using CiviEvent to manage all our meetups and training events. The two missing pieces (in my opinions) for meetups are automated reminder emails at a frequency decided by the admin (default: 3 days and 12 hours prior to event start) and ability for a person to cancel their registration (not too hard, since meetups are free and we dont have to process refunds)