As a meetup organizer, I strive to be as inclusive as possible, but I struggle with picking a time that works for parents. I’ve surveyed the members to see if moving from a weeknight to weekday lunch time or weekend would work better, but there was no obvious time that works for everyone.
I was lamenting about this problem to Effie and she told me about Parents Night Out. Various companies and non-profits host evening activities where parents can drop off the kids and have some time to themselves. What about running a meetup on an evening when Parents Night Out is available?
I loved the idea, but I don’t know the options available in the Boulder area. I mentioned that during a meetup and Sepideh said she knows some. I looked into the places she mentioned and March 15 was a good date at Shredder Ski, so I scheduled our annual Women Techmakers Lightning Talks that night.
I managed to get some event funding from Google to pay for the child care. I set up a Google Form for parents to sign up, and purchased gift certificates for them. This way, the parents did not need to worry about payment at all. Instead, I submit the receipts for the gift certificates and get reimbursed by Google.
I am so happy to find out about Parents Night Out! If you run a meetup, or know meetup organizers, please try this idea. Hope this will help make meetups more inclusive.