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Application for Outside Online Community Events

You’re requiring an application to hold brand-sanctioned online community meetups because you have to protect the brand. Before approving outside meetups, your legal team will probably want to discuss all possible scenarios and situations and what the brand is liable for if an accident or negative situation occurs.

It may be a good idea to have organizers sign an agreement spelling out the brand’s involvement, liability, and the areas which members are on their own. This agreement should include the answers to these questions:

  • Who’s putting the meetup together? Find out which member of your community is handling the details and whether she will have help. If the organizer is someone whom you know is responsible and will act in the best interest of the brand, go ahead and approve the application.

    If the organizer is someone who causes trouble, picks fights with other members, and generally is a troublemaker, you may have to think about whether this person is acting in the best interest of the brand. If your name or your brand’s name is attached to the event, you have a responsibility to put on an appropriate event, not a drunken party.

  • Where will it be held? Members can hold meetups anywhere. They can have “bring your own” (BYO) picnics or barbecues at a park, or they can reserve a room at a restaurant.

    If you’re lending your brand’s name to an event, the venue is important. You wouldn’t want to approve an event held in the back room of a local “gentleman’s club” or a place that’s so exclusive that some of your members wouldn’t be welcome. For this reason, it’s important to research proposed venues.

  • Who’s paying for it? Assume that members are paying for their own food and drinks unless you want to offer a certain amount of refreshment funds to the event planner. The last thing you want to do is provide unlimited alcohol for a meetup because drunkenness can lead to all sorts of problems and complications.

  • What’s the purpose of the meetup? Find out whether the purpose is simply for community members who live in the same area to meet or whether the groups wants to bring in speakers or raise money for a cause.

    Be careful about allowing a meetup to turn into something else entirely. When you have to bring in the legal department, you’re probably starting to move into territory that’s more complicated than originally planned.

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