Featured Group Friday: Le Petit Chien … the small dog!

For this month’s Featured Group Friday, we’re talking to Susan of ‘Le Petit Chien … the small dog!‘

Susan has been an active member of our community as a manager, beta tester and regular contributor of feature requests and bug reports through our helpdesk. We spoke to her about running her group and what she enjoys about using GroupSpaces to do it.

Hi Susan, can we start with you telling us where you and your group are based? 
Le Petit Chien … the small dog! is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) and has been serving the Greater Philadelphia area since 2007. We also welcome virtual members, many whom are located throughout the United States and Canada.

What is the purpose of your group and why did you first start it?

Le Petit Chien is a not for profit organization that has been providing education and support since 2007 for the Greater Philadelphia dog community. We also offer adoption assistance, educational seminars, dog training classes and socialization opportunities for small and toy breed dogs. Our meetings feature off-leash play along with discussions led by veterinary professionals. We also hold several fundraisers a year for local rescue groups and area shelters.

In 2007, my husband and I added two Chihuahuas to our family. When looking for socialization opportunities for our puppies, we were unable to find a suitable organization that provided a safe and friendly environment for our tiny dogs. Dog parks were not a viable option, so we organized Le Petit Chien … the small dog!

What is the best part of running Le Petit Chein?
Meeting and socializing with other like minded pet guardians. Over the years we have formed many wonderful friendships while supporting our local dog community and area shelters.

What is your top group management tip for other group managers who may be reading this?
Have a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish with your organization. Differentiate your organization from any other that may be located in your geographic area and finally, listen to member feedback.

Why did you choose GroupSpaces as your management tool?

Le Petit Chien … the small dog! was originally located on another online social networking portal. Over the years, Meetup’s vision changed, their platform became too restrictive and their customer service severely deteriorated. During January 2010 we began beta testing alternative platforms and discovered GroupSpaces. We found GroupSpaces to be highly customizable while offering many of the tools that we required to manage our organization. GroupSpaces’ management was also open to developing new subscriber requested features and their platform was virtually bug free.

What has been your favourite part about using GroupSpaces to manage your group?
Interacting with GroupSpaces’ courteous customer service department. The customer service representatives have been very prompt in helping me to resolve any problem that has arisen. Their courteous and friendly assistance is a refreshing change from the poor customer service that we experienced at our former platform provider.

Any final thoughts?
Moving Le Petit Chien … the small dog! to GroupSpaces has been one of the best decisions I have made for our organization.
Take a look at Susan’s Group here. 

Featured Group Friday: Sketchy Doodle

Every month, Featured Group Friday will showcase a group that we feel is doing a great job whilst getting the most out of the group management tools GroupSpaces provides. In the first ever Featured Group Friday, we speak to Annie the manager of Sketchy Doodle Drawing Group!

Hi Annie, can we start with you telling us where you and your group are based?


We are located in Tempe Arizona, USA. Our group members are from all around the Phoenix area.

What is the purpose of your group and why did you first start it?
Our purpose is to get together for group drawing sessions. These are not art classes, just people who like to draw or paint as part of a group. I started the group because this is kind of a niche activity and it can be difficult to find people who have the same interest.

What is the best part of running Sketchy Doodle?
As the organizer I get to meet pretty much everyone, even those people who aren’t very active in the group. I’ve been able to get to know a lot of really great people this way.

What is your top group management tip for other group managers who may be reading this?

It really helps to have a clear vision of what you want before you start the group. It’s important to listen to feedback, but you can’t please everyone, so knowing what you want to accomplish really helps to maintain focus when making decisions about the group.

Why did you choose GroupSpaces as your management tool?

We were part of the big migration from Meetup. I choose GroupSpaces because the site is highly customizable but still easy to use. We can present whatever information we want on our pages to show the unique characteristics of our group.

What has been your favourite part about using GroupSpaces to manage your group?
The friendly and helpful people who run GroupSpaces! I’ve received an answer every time that I’ve asked for help. That kind of personal attention is hard to find.

You’re too kind! Thanks Annie!

Make sure you check out Annie’s group at http://groupspaces.com/sketchydoodle

Do you think your group is worthy of being featured in our Featured Group Friday? We are always accepting nominations, so feel free to email me on sam(@)groupspaces.com

A Free Alternative to Grouply

*Updates on 27th April 2012 to reflect GroupSpaces’ new pricing plans.
In light of the recent shut down of Grouply, we realize that many group managers have been left looking for a suitable alternative! If you were a Grouply user looking for a replacement, we think we have the perfect solution.

In response to all your enquiries, we’d like to say hello, welcome and tell you more about how GroupSpaces can be used for running your group with a quick guide to using our site; we truly believe GroupSpaces is the best alternative to Grouply and will solve all your problems!

We’re Free
Firstly, GroupSpaces is entirely free for groups with fewer than 50 members, and there’s no obligation to pay at any time unless you add more than 50 members, or would like to use some of our premium features. Even then, pricing starts at just $3.99 a month should you be willing to pay in advance up front!

Easy-to-use Group Management Tools

GroupSpaces helps you take all your group-management tasks online into one easy-to-use set of tools.

You can use GroupSpaces to:
• run your own free customizable website or integrate features with an existing website
• run a professional group mailing list with targeted lists and easy handling of subscriptions and bounces
• manage a membership database online, keeping everything together and updated
• organize and promote events – sending invites, collecting RSVPs and selling tickets
• take payments for different types of membership fees and set up an online shop
The best place to get started would be to create a group and play around with our different features to see what works best for you. We also have a tour of our features  and a support section to answer more specific questions.

Especially for Group Managers
While many other sites focus primarily on the users, GroupSpaces was built with the managers and organizers of groups in mind to provide a set of easy to use, comprehensive tools to manage your members, events and site all from one place. This is our speciality. If it sounds like something for you, then I hope you’ll check us out. If you already have your membership database exported and want to migrate from Grouply to GroupSpaces, it is extremely easy to get started right away and import your database to GroupSpaces.

Get in touch!
Thank you to everyone for the interest and messages we have received, please feel free to get in touch with us at helpdesk@groupspaces.com if you need any other help, information or to give us feedback.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Sam
Community Manager, GroupSpaces

A Free Alternative To The New Meetup

In light of the recent updates to Meetup.com, we realise that many organizers have been left with a site that no longer satisfies their needs. In response to all your inquiries, we’d like to say hello, welcome and tell you more about how GroupSpaces can be used for running meetups with a quick guide to using our site.

Firstly, it’s FREE to create a group on GroupSpaces: http://groupspaces.com/a/group/. Please create a group, play around and try out all our various functionality. We’re free for all groups with under 250 members & pricing starts at $8 / £5 a month for up to 500 members.

Similar to Meetup, we offer:
• A website/home for your site that is customizable. You choose the colors of everything from tabs, to background, to text. Our layout feature lets you pick from ‘recent forum posts’, ‘featured events’, ‘members’, ‘event calendar’, photos, videos and other content to display on your home page. You can also remove the adverts and use your own custom domain.
• Easy event management: e-mail invitations where members can RSVP straight from their e-mail as well as online, RSVP tracking, sending reminders/info to members who have RSVP’s ‘Yes’ / ‘No’, comment on events, sell tickets through paypal, limit event registrations
• Forum: Create multiple categories, opt-in to e-mail notifications of replies to your post or limit access to the forum to the organizers or a sub-set (list) of your members
• Mailing List: full control whether members can reply-all
• Member Profiles: members can message each other and link to twitter, linkedin and other pages
• Collect membership dues: integrated with the rest of the site, with easy tracking of who has/hasn’t paid
• Photo gallery – upload, comment on and view photo galleries. Additionally you can add photos and images to pages, newsletters, events and the homepage.

Extra features we provide which Meetup does not have, include:

• Facebook event integration: import or export events to Facebook easily for maximum event promotion
• Member database: store details & separate your members into sub-groups using lists
• Customizable newsletters: easy templates for a professional, consistent look
• Wiki: great resource for member driven knowledge base

Features Meetup has which we’re planning to add in the future:

• waiting lists: we have full RSVP tracking, ability to limit who can RSVP to events as well limited event ticket functionality, but no specific waiting list feature – UPDATE: coming very soon!
We’re working hard to make our site the best we can and we actively prioritise new development of our product in response to feature requests. So if there’s something you feel is missing, let us know and if enough people want it, we will try hard to make it happen.

HOW TO: Move your Meetup group to GroupSpaces:
1. Create and customize your group
2. Copy over your meetup information to pages in your group and your group profile
3. Invite your members to join by sending them the link to http://www.groupspaces.com/yourgroupname/join
4. Create your next event and add an event box to your group homepage
Members can quickly create an account by ‘Connecting with Facebook’ or by creating a full GroupSpaces account.
While many other sites focus primarily on the users, GroupSpaces was built with the managers and organizers of groups in mind to provide a set of easy to use, comprehensive tools to manage your members, events and site all from one place. This is our speciality. If it sounds like something for you, then I hope you’ll check us out.

Thank you to everyone for the interest and messages we have received, please feel free to get in touch with us at helpdesk@groupspaces.com if you need any other help, information or to give us feedback.

All the best,
Irina, Community Manager, GroupSpaces

P.S. We have a Meetup FAQ here in response to questions we’ve received & have noticed that there are discussions of new meetup and alternatives happening here: http://groupspaces.com/FormerMeetupOrganizers