The SoftwareGR Alliance – Supporting Local User Groups

New user groups pop up all the time around new technologies and methodologies. Self organization around learning is amazing and powerful—having a community of smart people that self organize and improve the software community is vital for our long-term success.

The major roadblock that these groups commonly struggle with are the business aspects of running a group:

  • Setting up a not for profit
  • Tracking money
  • Setting up a board
  • Hiring an accountant to audit the books
  • Filing a tax return

They’re time consuming and often foreign to people.

Seeing this problem time and time again has inspired SoftwareGR (SGR) to help. During GLSEC 2015, SGR painted a vision of providing business structural support for various local user groups. The idea is that the groups could focus on what they do best—provide outstanding content—and SGR could help provide a business structure for the group. To give a web analogy: SGR would provide managed hosting for user groups across West Michigan.

The SoftwareGR Alliance

Immediately after GLSEC, SGR was approached by various local user group leaders. The leaders keenly understood the pain that was discussed at GLSEC, and were excited to help SGR craft an offering that made sense for their needs.

Working together, the SoftwareGR Alliance was formed. The SoftwareGR Alliance is a collection of user groups that leverage SGR’s existing business structure as a financial fiduciary. SGR provides financial controls, its existing bank account, and its non-profit status. To maximize leverage, the system is designed to be highly distributed. Each group in the Alliance is responsible for raising its own money and providing its own excellent content.

SGR is hopeful that the SGR Alliance will also help facilitate cross group initiatives and strategy sharing.

To be eligible for the SGR Alliance groups must

  • Maintain a focus on software creation, or enhancing the software community
  • Have no formal legal structure
  • Have open membership, not tolerate harassment or discrimination, and act ethically and with integrity

If you’re interested in learning more about joining the SGR Alliance please contact SGR’s coordinator John Rumery at [email protected].

More About SoftwareGR

SGR is a user group that’s dedicated to building and supporting the software community in West Michigan. We believes software expertise is a critical factor to a modern, diverse, and healthy economy. We provide opportunities for developers to learn from each other, develop close professional relationships, and bring experts from around the country to West Michigan to share their knowledge.

SGR is currently involved in the software community in 4 major ways. SGR organizes GLSEC, runs BitCamp, holds a monthly speakers series, and also financially supports a handful of other groups.

  • It’s good to see this sort of thing happening in Michigan. This is how we’ll move the economy of Michigan forward in the future.

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