This page explains why and how approved AMC trip leaders may use MeetUp to advertise their trips.
The Leadership Requirements and Guidelines (LRGs) set forth by Appalachian Mountain Club require that all trips must be posted to the Activities Database (aka, the “ActDB”). By doing so, trip leaders and participants are covered by AMC’s liability insurance. If trips are not posted, they are not considered to be official AMC trips. The current LRGs can be found here (follow this link). Further information on the ActDB, along with extensive training materials, can be found on the Volunteer Resources page on AMC’s official website, Outdoors.org (follow this link).
Why Use MeetUp?
Although trips must be posted to the ActDB, the more effort that trip leaders invest in advertising their upcoming trips, the greater the likelihood that they will get a satisfactory number of participants. MeetUp is a well-known online platform where groups sharing common interests can “hang out a shingle” and post events for group members to join. In order to help chapter trip leaders advertise upcoming trips beyond the ActDB, the Berkshire Chapter operates a MeetUp group here (follow this link).
MeetUp is generally considered to be easy to use, and offers us an opportunity to bring in new people (who may or may not be AMC members) to our chapter trips and programs. It is especially good for evening events or 1-day “show and go” trips. For trips where you want to screen participants, or that involve money (like multi-day trips), if you use MeetUp you should clearly state that attendees will need to register in advance with you. Meetup can be great at getting the word out--as of June 2019, the Berkshire Chapter’s MeetUp group had 2,250 members. But using MeetUp means that you have to do some work twice: first, you need to post your trip in ActDB as required by AMC policy, and second, you need to post your trip on MeetUp.
- First, you must create a MeetUp account for yourself if you don’t already have one. Do that at MeetUp.com. After creating your own MeetUp account, we recommend you setup a basic profile for yourself.
- Next, while logged into MeetUp, visit the Berkshire Chapter’s MeetUp group using this link. Click the button “Join this Group” to become a member of the Chapter’s MeetUp group.
- Before you can start posting events on MeetUp, you must be granted “Event Organizer” privileges. To do that, send an email to email@example.com providing the email address you use for MeetUp. Identify yourself as a chapter trip leader and request event organizer privileges on MeetUp. These requests are typically addressed within 24-48 hours. You will receive a notification when you have been given the necessary privileges.
Once you are an event organizer you can post your trips whenever you want--but again, please remember that AMC policy requires that trip listings be posted (and approved) in ActDB .
Posting Your Trip on MeetUp
Go to the chapter’s main page on MeetUp (use the same link as above).
- Click the red “Create Event” button, then click on “Create a new event”. Note that if this is a repeat of an older trip, you can copy from past events.
- Enter the trip title, date, start time and duration or end time.
- You can upload a stock or trip photo if you have one. An appealing and engaging photo increases the chance that someone will give your listing some attention.
- Enter the trip description. We recommend copying the description you used for the trip when you posted it on the ActDB.
Because MeetUp reaches a very wide audience, and many think that it is enough to just RSVP within MeetUp in order to be registered and approved for the trip (it rarely is that way for AMC trips), we strongly recommend adding something like the following statement right at the top of the description, before your actual trip description (to make sure that people really read it):
“This trip is sponsored by the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. For more information on Chapter programs, visit us at amcberkshire.org. All participants are required to sign an AMC Liability Waiver to participate in this ride; you can view this at: https://www.outdoors.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Volunteer-Led-Activity-MemRelease-17.pdf.”
If you want to screen participants, and/or it’s a weekend trip with fees for lodging, etc., we recommend that you also add a statement to this effect:
“You must register in advance with the leader by email to [address] for this event. Note that an RSVP “yes” on MeetUp is not sufficient for you to be registered for the trip.”
- We recommend that you set the “Location” of your trip to be the city and state where the trip starts. We recommend that you do not post the exact starting location, to prevent unapproved participants from showing up.
- When you set the Location, you will then see a “How to find us” box appear. We recommend that you use that box to say something like, “Send email to [address] for starting location details.”
- Some of the Optional Settings can be helpful:
“Ask Members a Question” will automatically query members if they RSVP. Good questions to ask here are:
- I am able to complete the trip of X miles at the advertised pace of Y
- I understand that I need to register with the leader at firstname.lastname@example.org (you can also repeat the AMC listing url here).
- “Event Fee” - Here you can indicate whether the event has a fee, what your cancellation policy is, how to pay, etc.
We hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to email questions to email@example.com. Also, feel free to suggest revisions and improvements to this document!
Page steward: firstname.lastname@example.org