What exactly is the party format?
Mid-Year Party in Phoenix, AZ (USA): Summer 2016
Community Parties are an excellent way to broaden your reach in the community and reach out to more people. The event feels more social and like less of a time commitment, so we often see a surge in attendees. This is a nice boost to your mailing list and helps support your other events throughout the year.
When to Host
Parties are designed to fill what would have otherwise been your slowest months - likely December + either June, July or August. Different parts of the world are experiencing mid summer or winter at these times and that combined with the holidays would often mean your attendees are distracted from their regular routine. Hosting a big community party where they can simply pop in works very well on those months.
The format often simply feels like a big happy hour. As an organizer you can keep it as simple as arranging a location where everyone can show up and you have negotiated special pricing for them on drinks to an all out hosted party with a DJ and other fun activities (like a toy drive around the holidays or some form of lawn games in the summer). The key is simply to keep it very social. While you can still host some sort of fireside chat at the event, know that even something with no agenda at all will be very successful as a party.
Ticketing a Party
We always aim to have parties be free, or as low cost as possible. This may mean more work on your end to get sponsors. Or, as mentioned, you can keep it very simply and almost zero cost by partnering with a venue and letting attendees buy their own drinks. It is often helpful to create and share a Facebook event to promote the party, but still encourage people to visit your chapter page to RSVP for the event. You are also welcome to partner with other organizations for a bigger party, but always do be sure the ticketing goes through your chapter site.
A SG community party can really become the central event of your startup community. The end of the year party becomes that occasion where all the hardworking startup founders come together to celebrate their year of hard work and milestones. Many large corporations host some form of holiday party and summer party. Startups don’t typically have the resources to do that, so the SG community party becomes that for them. Encourage them to bring their entire team! Then your event is truly a celebration for the entire startup community in your city.
Remember, there is no fireside chat (just networking!) and the event is free to attend.
This makes it easier to plan for directors and easier for entrepreneurs to attend. These two parties are the only exception to the “fireside-chat-only” rule.
However, if you wish to do a panel discussion... this is the one event where you can do so. But it may not be a mini conference, or full day conference - It's a party event to celebrate with your community and take a break from the usual format.
Here's a tweet from Cape Town in 2017 with 1000 people at the event
— StartupGrindCPT (@StartupGrindCPT) August 30, 2017
Here's a tweet from Cape Town in 2016 with 600 people at the event (we did a standard fireside chat):