Setting Up a Bi Group – Part 1

Originally published in January 2014

I’ve decided to write about the process of setting up my new group for bisexuals so I have a record of what happened when and gain an idea of how much time and work I put into this project. I also hope it will inspire others to do something similar if there is a need for it within their own communities. (Be it netball, knitting, Doctor Who fan clubs…not just bisexuality, anything!) I would also like this blog to be a useful resource for people in the future who are thinking of doing the same but don’t know where to start…

Disclaimer: I’m not saying this is THE way to set up a group. This is just an account of what I’ve chosen to do.

Background: In the process of moving to a new city I discovered there are currently no active groups solely for bisexuals in Nottingham. I bravely/foolishly (delete as appropriate) decided to start my own!

1 – I decided what I wanted to do.

Main Goal: Set up a group for bisexuals in Nottingham.

At first this will involve social meet ups in a pub. In time I’d like it to involve discussion and support based meet ups in somewhere like a community centre too.

Secondary goals:

  • Everything has to be free for both myself and event attendees.
  • Every event has to be held in a venue with disabled access.
  • Events should be held in an independent venue where possible, rather than one belonging to a nationwide chain.
  • The group must strive to be as inclusive as possible for people regardless of income, gender, ethnicity, nationality, ability/disability or sexuality (i.e. whether someone identifies as being into BDSM or not, or is bisexual or questioning).

2 – I got support and advice from an existing group.

Before moving I mentioned in a BiPhoria meeting (a group for bisexuals in Manchester) my plan to start a new group and asked for advice. I felt very empowered and motivated by people’s encouragement. The main message I took away was that despite lacking in confidence and feeling very nervous about it, I could do it. I was also reminded that I needed to be patient and work really hard. Dream big but start small. My first few meet ups would probably involve me and Joe Bloggs sat in a pub wondering if anyone else would turn up, but the group would grow over time!

The organiser of BiPhoria also happens to be a prominent bi activist and editor of Bi Community News magazine, so I was able to get a lot of bisexual propaganda leaflets and magazines to take with me to the East Midlands.

3 – I thought up a name.

After spending several weeks trying to think of one I sat down one evening and researched bisexual group names on the Internet. I then tried to come up with a name that:

  •  Showed it was a group relating to both bisexuality & its location
  •  Was different to group names already in existence
  •  Was not immediately obvious to those outside of the bi community in order to avoid potential unwanted attention and biphobia
  •  Sounded good!

This I knew would be one of the most difficult things about starting the group and I wasn’t wrong. It took about 4-5 hours! I chose Nottingham BiTopia in the end as it met all of the above requirements and was also a nice tip of the hat to sister group BiPhoria.

4 – I started to create an online presence.

Over the course of the next few weeks I started creating a Facebook group, Twitter account, FetLife group, Yahoo profile and email account whenever I had the time and energy after work. I’d say this took about 20 hours of work in all. I had to think of group rules and descriptions, find relevant groups & individuals to follow & interact with and learn how to use sites I hadn’t used before such as Yahoo! groups.

I also designed a logo and taught myself how to use free photo editing software (GIMP) in order to create the logos and banners.

I got a notebook and began writing down what I did when. I wrote down the passwords to all the accounts and the number of followers/group members each time I checked so I could track the group’s growth. I also linked up all the accounts to apps on my iPad and iPhone for convenience. This has been a great help as it means I can respond to emails, tweets, requests etc. immediately no matter where I am. It also means it’s really easy to post regularly to all the accounts as I can post updates or search for content during my commute and whilst I’m at work.

I’ve also been taking screen caps of the group profiles on social networking sites so in the future I can post a picture and go “Awww, look at what it looked like in the beginning!”

That’s all for now. Part 2 on the way. 🙂

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