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Announcing Annual Membership Beta

We sent this note to our members just a bit ago to announce our new Annual Membership Beta...

Hi NYTM Members!

Today, we’re announcing something new. It’s in response to requests from many of you to offer a different way to purchase tickets to our monthly event and be involved in an even deeper way with the NYTM organization.

You can skip ahead to see what the announcement is…but this first bit is important too, so we hope you take a minute to read it.

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BACKGROUND
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In 2008, it cost $10 a ticket to attend NY Tech Meetup.

Today, that is still what our members pay.

We haven’t changed the price despite increases in venue rental and overall production costs, or to cover our expenses in becoming a non-profit organization, hiring our first employee, introducing monthly simulcasting, launching the Made in NY program, and a whole host of other projects we’ve implemented to do what we can to support the growing NY tech community.  

People tell us we could charge twice as much (or even three times as much) and that we’d still sell out each of our events. They’re probably right. We could. But we don’t want to.

As our Executive Director Nate Westheimer explained in a recent blog post, we don’t really believe in doing things just because we can. We want to try to do things because it’s the right thing to do. We have a strong philosophy that the general price of admission to NY Tech Meetup shouldn’t exclude anyone for financial reasons, that it should be just as accessible to a college student as it is to an angel investor.

One could argue that raising ticket prices would actually benefit our members – it would help us build our organizational capacity to provide more services and do even more to support the community.

And while we agree with that, we’d like to find more creative and equitable ways to achieve that goal without raising the price of tickets to our main event. We believe that we can find solutions that don’t just help build our capabilities and improve our financial sustainability, but that also directly support and add value to the lives of our members and the community as a whole.

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THE ANNOUNCEMENT
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Today, we’re launching Annual Membership (Beta) and we are offering limited number of Annual Membership Beta spots that give members a guaranteed seat at every monthly Meetup, access to exclusive events, and early access to other NYTM events and programs. We’re also asking our Annual Members to give something back.

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HOW IT WORKS
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You sign on to be a part of Annual Membership Beta for $300 a year and receive: 

*A guaranteed seat at every monthly Meetup through an exclusive early access ticketing process. (You will have two weeks after each Meetup to purchase your ticket for the following Meetup before the tickets are made available through our two main general releases).

*Access to exclusive events just for Annual Membership Beta backers (like smaller networking events and events with specially curated speakers).

*Early access to other NYTM events throughout the year (like our Women’s Demo Night and other events we’ll be adding to the calendar).

*The opportunity to give us input into what other benefits you’d love as an Annual Member, from nice discounts on services you need to a special place for you to connect online with other Annual Membership Beta backers.

For us, this initiative is also about giving you a new way to work with us to support the tech community as a whole as it grows.

If you sign on as part of Annual Membership Beta, we’re asking that you pledge to give something back to the community. Host an Ohours session to share your experience with someone new in the community. Offer a free class to share you expertise. Volunteer some time to a non-profit who needs advice on a better digital strategy or a small business that needs a simple web page. We’ll ask you to submit the work you’ve been doing and will share it with the broader community.

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HOW TO SIGN UP
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We will be making 200 Annual Membership Beta passes available.

*For Members Who Have Attended 15 or More Meetups*
To give a bit of a nod to the members of our community who have been loyal supporters of NY Tech Meetup, we will be releasing the first 100 Annual Membership Beta invitations to members who have attended 15 or more NY Tech Meetups. We will use Meetup.com data to make that determination, and if you fall into that category, you will receive a personal invite through your Meetup.com account today. If you fall into this category and we sell out before you are able to sign up, you can enter the main lottery below.

*For All Other Members*
We also respect the fact that there are many members of our community who are newer or haven’t been able to come as often but just as committed, and we want you to have an opportunity to take part in this as well, so we will be doing a lottery for the other 100 Annual Membership Beta spots, which you can sign up for HERE. Deadline to submit interest is 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 26.

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DISCLAIMERS AND FAQS
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*The new Annual Membership Beta ticketing process will be first used for the September 2012 Meetup.

*In signing up for Annual Membership Beta you are not pre-buying all of your NYTM tickets for the year. You are signing up to have early access to tickets over an extended period prior to each Meetup so that you don’t have to wait by your computer at 1 pm on ticket release days to get tickets.

*We are limiting the number of Annual Memberships available. We still want the vast majority of seats every month to go to people who are purchasing tickets through the regular ticketing process.

*If Annual Membership seats go unclaimed for any Meetup, they will be released back into the general ticketing pool.

*Annual Membership Beta is beta – it’s an experiment. As such, we could decide at some point that it’s not working so well and cancel the program. In that case, we’ll give you a refund pro-rated for however many days you’ve got left in your membership.

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FEEDBACK
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Whether you think this is an awful idea, the best idea ever, or somewhere in between, we’re happy to get your feedback, which you can send to Jessica at jessica@nytm.org.

The New York tech community is at a pivotal point of growth and we’ve heard from many of you about all of the ways that NY Tech Meetup has helped you along your tech startup journey. We are ramping up to do even more of that. And we’re looking forward to working with you to make that happen.

Best,
Jessica, Nate and the entire NYTM Board of Directors

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