One of the big goals for SQLSaturday was for it to be a membership drive. It’s worked hugely well in some ways; we’ve added tremendously to the number of PASS members, grown the size of the Chapter mailing lists (for those that held a SQLSat), and introduced a lot of people to PASS/Chapters. But has it translated into more people attending chapter meetings?
I’m working from a really small sample of Chapters that I visit/hear about, but I don’t think it has. Here in Orlando we’ve seen attendance remain fairly steady. It might be argued that it would have declined without SQLSaturday and I’d be inclined to agree, but it hasn’t grown attendance. We registered almost 700 for SQLSaturday Orlando last year, our mailing list for OPASS is round a 1000 addresses, and we still get 15-25 at most meetings. Maybe that’s just us? Just Florida?
I’m writing this not to criticize SQLSat or Chapters, but to point out the disconnect. Bigger lists should result in higher attendance. If it doesn’t, what does that tell us? That’s worth thinking about.