I have often been asked how to start a User Group. On this page I have compiled a list of information that I hope will be helpful to the community. If you have things to add please let me know.

Microsoft User Group Sponsorship
Microsoft sponsors local community user groups through three organizations. (GITCA, INETA, and PASS)

These three organizations all use the same fulfillment organization which is called the “Microsoft Technical Community” website. https://www.technicalcommunity.com

For this to work you need to apply for membership to both your primary group and UGSS.

Q: This is kinda a pain. What does it get me?
A: There are several benefits to belonging to one of the 3 organizations and UGSS.

  1. You can apply for funding on a quarterly basis. This funding is for food, venue, website, etc.
  2. You can request a user group kit quarterly. This is a box of SWAG that is sent out to your group for door prizes.
  3. a free web presence on Office 365
  4. access to speakers for user groups and access to places to speak for presenters

Office 365 for the group
First will need to setup a 30 day trial of Office 365. You will need to keep the account information handy and register the trial within the UGSS. DO NOT DELAY in registering the account within UGSS. It may take the full 30 days for our Office 365 team to upgrade the account. Once you finalizes the registration, you can begin to configure the Office 365 account to meet your user group management needs (accounts, SharePoint, Outlook, etc…). The Office 365 team will contact you when your account has been upgraded to an E3, 25 user 1 year license account within his 30 day trial period.

MidwestGeeks Live Group
This is the place for group leaders to talk to each other. It includes a monthly conference call to discuss issues and let others know what you are doing. It also has an email list so that group leaders can share information with each other. If you run a group – please join.

Microsoft News Letters:
Microsoft News Letters (I recommend the TechNet Flash and the MSDN Flash)

On Line Meetings:
Microsoft will give you free LiveMeeting service for you group. Get your free LiveMeeting service for your User Group so you can broadcast your meetings for those who can’t make it in person. You can also record meetings so that they can be watched later.

Here is a good doc titledRecipe for a Successful Users Group“: