Here are some hints we hope will be useful. But every city is different, so find what works best for you and trust for judgement as to what is best for your location.
Find a convenient, central location that is free. A pub or bar for example. Booking a private room usually means the organiser has to incur cost or risk of not enough people turning up to cover the cost of the room. However, a private space is the best choice in the end.
Choose a fringe downtown location (accessible for bikes and or buses and/or parking) Choose a night not normally busy ie Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night
Select a venue and location that might be struggling a bit and in need of customers. Be sure there's good "mingling space" for standing around and chatting.
Roger Colwill started the Victoria, BC Green Drinks. He chose a cafe which has a liquor licence and great mingling space. Normally on a Tuesday night the cafe would be quite dead. When he approached the Cafe owners he said "I can put your cafe on the map by bringing 50-70 people here from 5-7pm once a month" They got excited. The deal is there's no room charge. Drinks are on special. We order finger foods (paid by sponsors)
Watch out for the sound build up. Greendrinkers tend to have a lot to say and they say it with such passion. It gets quite noisy- but its a great energy
"Seattle GD began having different businesses host it. It is now bigger than ever, averaging around 60 per event. Hosts get to show off what they are doing, talk to people in their own space -- GDers get to learn more about the hosts, as well as getting to be hosted." (Gabriel Scheer of Seattle)
Have a sign or a person assigned to welcoming new people.
Having a speaker seems to to work well for some cities, but not all by any means. It seems that keeping it short helps (20 mins or so), but it gives a good theme to the evening as well.
Here's what some of the Green Drinks organisers recommend:
"The predictability of time and place is one of the keys to a good Green Drinks event. And also being able to easily find fellow Green Drinkers. At our first event, once inside, the group was able to find others near the indoor Green Drinks blimp and members who wore 'Fight Waste' temporary tatoos..." (Jean S. Waters of Omaha/Lincoln )
"I really love how we have three distinct waves: the early, the peak and the latecomers and how this altered the evening and the experience for all." (Bernie Lynch in Pittsburgh)
"I would say the best thing was ceasing the announcements/thank you component of our events in lieu of just keeping it casual. We learned that Interrupting loads of conversations to make announcements actually detracted from the experience. Better to communicate in small conversations." (Jordan Daniels, Green Drinks Monterey)
"We have been fortunate here to be in our 5th year now, with an average of 50-70 folks/gathering. We think some of our success beyond your good leadership and names- is consistency, of place, time/date and leadership. As a programmer, I know those things make a difference -- and we are very grateful to have Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen as a committed partner and committee member to host us. Additionally we found a local non- profit environmental group- Environmental Defenders of McHenry County,( that we are all a part of anyway!) willing to take care of the PR and email list. So we are consistent on most fronts. Even our committee has stayed the same-- which means folks can count on familiar faces on a regular basis." (Leslie Krebs, Green Drinks McHenry County/Crystal Lake)
"Green Drinks Saskatoon has been consistent in the fact that it is on the second Friday of every month, but different as we try to go to a different location each month. We have had 77 Green Drinks in Saskatoon so there has definitely been repetition of venues. But by going to a different place around the city each month gives different people the opportunity to walk/bike/bus and gives us the opportunity to support/explore a lot of different great local pubs and restaurants around town. This helps us find the perfect places that will be on the regular rotation.
The best places are great for mingling and conversing, places that have local beers, local food, veg and vegan options, with adequate bike parking, good transit access, locally owned and environmentally conscious operations. The most important thing I have found when continually switching venues is to try and pick next months venue during the current Green Drinks." (Dave Palibroda, Green Drinks Saskatoon)
"The thing that has worked best for both Oakville and Burlington, Ontario, Green Drinks has been consistent time and place. That coupled with great partnerships from each venue." (Andy Stark, Green Drinks Oakville)
"For Erie County it has been keep it simple & keep it casual. Folks are really looking to network & learning as they go is a bonus. We have been doing a lot of tours lately & everyone has enjoyed them" (Lisa Beursken, Erie County)
"After almost four years in Elkhart, we have come to a point of not worrying too much about how many people participate. We almost always have someone new attending - but keeping them is another story... Last night was "free-wheelin" time where everyone can bring a particular topic/discussion point and share for a few minutes. It goes around until everyone has there say on whatever they want to say. It really brings up some great topics for the future, too. And the crowd loves the discussion. So mix it up, have some fun (emphasis on "fun" is what ours is about), and learn a lot and meet many new people in the community. The journey is the reward, (Burne Miller, Elkhart)
Start with maybe 10 keen people you already know, and get them to each invite 5 others the first time.
Post details in the usual places, like with any local green magazine or in the lobbies of local env groups.
The spirit of green drinks is that anyone can come, and this makes for the interesting interactions. Check how you have made sure that people are invited from:
Freelancers and consultants
Young'uns as well as Oldies
Its all important that the quality of people invited to the launch involve community leaders and high profile individuals. And that each of them know that they in turn can invite their friends. You can focus on people who already have their own networks so they in turn could broadcast the launch event. That said ensure that everyone is welcome. Green Drinks is inclusive and not exclusive.
We spent a long time using a different venue and time each time, and calling round people. We tried faxes and printed invitations, and they were a lot of work. The lesson - EMAIL and FIXED RULE.
Email invites means that people can foward the invite to friends easily. This is the core for exponential growth. Obviously, the email has to have all details on. You can build up a list very quickly and then just send out a reminder the week before to everyone.
Fixed Rule means that old emails are still valid if they get passed around, and that people can book ahead in their diaries. You have the same venue and something like the first tuesday in the month. Fridays and Thursdays tend to be busy for most people, so Tue or Wed is best.
Building and maintaining and email list is key. But it does not have to take time.
Mailchimp is also excellent though has a learning curve to get to grips with it.
You can make a direct link to your page by the following method, using underscore '_' if you have a space in your city name:
Note that there are a few clashes, like London, England and London, Ontario, so please check your short URL works before your deploy it, and use the state if you need to, eg: greendrinks.org/ON/London
We now have a cool new interface for editing your web pages so you don't need to know html code. Here are some hints on using it:
Use the headings style in the Format dropdown box. Heading 3 is a main heading and Heading 4 and 5 are good subheads to use. Headings 1 and 2 are a bit big.
Go easy on the colours -- red text on green background is bad news and not very inclusive for colour blind people.
You can still edit the html directly using the 'Source' button
To enter a break "
" rather than a new paragraph, just use Shift-Enter (twice if neccesary)
No problem, you can get a password reminder on the login page:
Once logged in, you can:
And much more ...
We recommend you use Flickr or imgur. You simply upload your pictures there and then copy and paste them into your page. Here are the things you need to do. It looks long when all written down like this, but only takes seconds once you've done it a few times.
2. Upload your photos
3. Open your greendrinks admin page in another window and in the Edit Your Page screen find where you want to insert your image.
3. Hop back over to the flickr or imgur window and right-click on the image you want to insert, and choose 'Copy'.
4. Come back to the green drinks edit page and go Paste (Ctrl V or Edit>Paste or click the clipboard icon).
5. Your image should appear!
6. Save your page.
If that doesn't work for you, then try getting hold of the img URL eg http://farm1.static.flickr.com/148/355621647_3acbaecb6d_m.jpg or http://i.imgur.com/B5JhObe.jpg and put that into the image insert dialog --- that's the little picture of the sun and mountains in the menu bar.
Facebook is very popular amongst Green Drinks organisers.
"In case it's interesting for you how I got the ball rolling here in Tromso: I talked to several people from several local organisations that were all like "yeah cool, go ahead and plan something", and suggested a date that seemed to work for most people. Set up a facebook group and event for the first meeting, and posted it in all the relevant local groups and pages (because that's just where they mostly plan their activities..). Within a few days the group had 30 members, and 15 showed up for an awesome and very promising meeting. Environmentalism is not big in Northern Norway (the oil industry is), so that was quite something." (Ulrike Heinrich, Tromso, Norway)
"Here in Munich we did two things: 1. we established a group page on Xing (similar to Linkedin, but more common in Germany) to increase comunication. 2. we have started to offer short presentations to introduce specific topics on sustainability leading to the socialising part. (Thomas Classen, Munich)
See the Mentor pages on this Admin section. If you would like someone to help you out, then a choose a person from the list and contact them politely.
We hope this service will be really useful, for established cities as well as those just starting out.
If you would like to be a Mentor, you can sign up in the 'Edit Mentor Status' section.
Have fun! This is compulsory ... ;)
There are lots of benefits to green drinks; they are hard to quantify, but when you have seen people come and make new links and learn and argue and set up new schemes and get new jobs etc, it is a good feeling.
Green Drinks are mostly free entrance and people pay for their own food and drink.
Roger ensured that Green Drinks in Victoria is free though he usually puts a Donations Jar on the reception table were there's also a sign up sheet for first timers ( up 30% are first timers so they get input onto the list straightway.)
Roger says, "I think organizers resist paying room fees for fear they will be left holding the bag if no-one turns up. I personally spent $100.00 a month to get the thing going but now with three sponsors I don't need to. "
Edwin has been left holding the bag once many years ago in London when far fewer than normal people showed up, on the first time we had a room booked exclusively just for us. From then on we simply would take over a corner of a public bar, until we grew to about 50 regulars and then could book a private room for free on the strength of numbers.
Some Green Drinks cities have charge on the door, and if that is needed to cover costs, that is perfectly fine. The charge should not be too high so that it prevents anyone from being able to come, so some concessions for eg students and unwaged is a good idea.
Some cities have two Green Drinks. One for downtown and one or several for the suburbs.
LONDON GREEN DRINKS DATA SHEET:
WHAT:___ The world-famous *** Green Drinks ***
WHEN:___ 6.30 'til late, Tuesday 14th March
RULE: ___ Second Tuesday of every month
WHERE:__ UPSTAIRS at the Fictional Pub in Soho.
HOW:____ Walk, cycle, bus, tube: Picadilly Circus. Taxi
OK if more than 2 passengers ;)
WHO:____ Anyone working on environmental issues
or studying them
WHY:____ Fun, contacts, alcohol, info, gossip,
inspiration, business and pleasure
NEW:____ Just go up to someone and say "are you
green?", and you'll be made welcome.
REMIND:_ To get on this email circulation list,
send an email to: SometownGreenDrinks@gmail.com
PRIVACY:_ This email list is ONLY for Green
Drinks reminders. We will not give your email
address to anyone else
STATUS:_ Informal, self-organising network.
Every month since 1989. Average attendance: 50
GLOBAL: Now active in 600 cities worldwide! UK | USA | Canada | Germany | Poland | Sweden | The Netherlands | Japan | Australia | Chile | Puerto Rico
Written by Roger Colwill (RIP) of Victoria BC and Edwin Datschefski of Green Drinks