Meeting How To


Who can attend an FSFE / Fellowship meeting?

  • You should not restrict participation of your meetings to Fellows. Give interested people the possibility to participate. A lot of people join the Fellowship and get active in FSFE activities after they took part in a local group meeting.

What to do during an FSFE / Fellowship meeting?

  • If there's a talk at the meeting or something specific to do, more people show up. See the announcement section for more information about how to advertise your event
  • Depending on the people attending your meetings, try not to focus too much on technical issues. Political and social issues are FSFE's speciality and talking about it helps reaching wider audiences. Note that technical discussions can be very excluding for non-technical people
  • It is advisable to "embed" the Fellowship group in other local groups (hackerspaces, LUGs, etc) and network with them, gain forces and resources for events, talks and the like. Don't try to "compete" with existing groups, rather integrate and connect. Being well connected also helps in getting slots for talks to reach a broader audience for our message.
  • For the first meeting it may be a good idea to give a short introduction to the Fellowship and the FSFE. This presentation can be used as a starting point.


  • if there were problems or you have any suggestions please sent an email to <fellowship AT fsfeurope DOT org>.


To FSFE's network

  • You can send an e-mail to all Fellows in a certain ZIP code area. Include a planned agenda so people can imagine what will happen. Please send an e-mail to <fellowship AT fsfeurope DOT org> with a range of postal (zip) codes, subject and the text. Then we will send an e-mail to the Fellows in that area.

/!\ This should be send out at latest than 10 days before the event as it will also take a while until we can send it out.

  • Blog about your activities, if possible also in English to allow others to see what's going on and that something _is_ going on.
  • Feel free to make extensive use of this Wiki as well. All fellows have an account on the wiki, and non-fellows can request an account (Follow this guide).

  • You can have your posts added to Send your RSS feeds to <> so we can add your blog to the planets. It inspires other people!

    • Note: We try to make the planets language-dependant. Please try to make use of categories or tags which are language-specific so that we can generate language-specific feeds and add English posts to the English planet and other languages to each language's planet.
  • You can add the event on FellowshipEvents and if possible also on FSFE's event page: See FSFE's information page for webmasters to find out how to edit the web pages. Alternatively, you can send an email to <web AT fsfeurope DOT org> and ask our volunteers to put the event entry online for you. It might be a good idea to follow the style of existing entries on that list.

To your local network

/!\ Personal contacts are important! Check who in your network could be interested by Free Software, and make your event attractive to those people! If you are part of other organisations, promote your event on their usual channels, highlighting their link with Free Software

  • It is helpful to create a mailinglist before your first meeting, so you can just announce it. Please contact <system-hackers AT fsfeurope DOT org> if you need a mailinglist.

Design your announcement notice

  • If your announce your meeting via other means than email, have a look at the designer section of the website, you can find the official Fellowship colours and other designer guidelines.

Tips for your activities

Of course you are free to just meet, drink beer and other beverages, discuss about Free Software related issues. Here some tips gathered from experienced event organisers:

  • Do not try to make too complex activities. It is better to start with small tasks which you really can implement. When you have doubts it is a sign that it is too much for volunteers. You can discuss planned activities on <coordinators AT list DOT fsfe DOT org> and see what other group coordinators think about it.

  • Document planned and done activities in the wiki or on your blog so you can point others to it, and they can comment on it.

Activities ideas

(!) Issuing DFD awards is a lot of fun and rewarding. Every coordinator who participated in such an event described it as one of the most positive experiences with the Fellowship group. Which confirms that positive campaigning is a good thing to do.

(!) You can have a look at the recent archives of the discussion@ mailing list and the planet to see if there are any current topics that might be of interest

(!) Bug sprints are fun! pdfreaders,, maybe others... They don't take much time to prepare and are an easy way to get something accomplished as a group.

Know your group members

  • People who don't get our message need to have it explained. Don't be mad at them. That's our audience. Tell them where to go and how to get help. Distribute Free Software CDs/DVDs if possible (e.g. Valo-CD or FramaKey for Windows users).

  • To plan activities that are interesting the meeting organisers need to know their group members:
  • Some questions you might want to ask:
    • Does anyone know of Free Software being used by local government bodies? Do we want to support them? If not, do we want to lobby them?
    • ...or in schools?
    • Does the government have a policy on Free Software / Open Standards?
    • Can anyone help with webpage translations, design work, or other things?

    • Is anyone involved with related project such as OpenStreetMap or OpenMoko

    • What other groups and meetings exist in this region?
    • Is today's meeting format good, or what's the best way to meet next time?

Inclusive groups

Here are a few tips to make your group meetings / mailing list attractive and welcoming to new people especially if they are not technical:

  • highlight the link between Free Software and other topics
  • be very clear that newcomers are welcome to ask any kind of questions. Sometimes checking with them if they are lost can be a good idea.
  • beware of super technical discussions, it can be very excluding
  • careful with inside jokes - at least try to include newcomers by explaining your jokes and sharing your group's culture. Sexist, racist of homophobic jokes are not funny

How to get more women involved

There is no magical solution.

Being excellent to each other and welcoming in general is clearly the first step.

{*} 2 cents from a female fellow on this: try to avoid women specific behaviours, even if it's to be especially nice. What makes a group inclusive is a global atmosphere.


Group coordination

/!\ Coordinators, if you don't have a backup coordinator yet, get one! Spread the load on more shoulders.

Other ideas

  • The coordinator of the meetings can take orders for FSFE merchandise, send an omnibus order to be delivered to him/her, and distribute the items at the next meeting. This way, people can save shipping costs.