1. Starting a club or interest group.
When you find that activity that makes you happy, it is very rewarding to be able to share your interest with other people who do, or would, enjoy participating in that activity with you. The easiest groups to form are usually location based. Arena’s, public trails, conservation areas and craft stores are all examples of locations where people meet for common interest events. Clubs don’t always have to have a home. Clubs almost always have at least some form of group event. Even if it’s just an agreement for two or more people to meet online to discuss their favourite topics, clubs are about bringing people together to share common interests. The next page leads to step by step guides and articles related to forming activity groups.
2. Communication is the key.
Nothing happens between people, unless they interact. Finding a way to remind people about the benefits of being aligned with like minded individuals keeps them coming together for common goals. Goals like getting together to have fun, developing an activity for increased participation and facilitating activities by removing barriers. At it’s simplest level, informing individuals of what needs to be accomplished to achieve common goals forms the foundation of club communication. A club’s communication officer plays a vital role in the success or failure of a club. The following page will provide links to discussions on means of communicating with group members and sample documents and systems for this purpose.
3. Trail blazers and leaders.
A club can be brought together by an individual, but bringing a club together and keeping a club together requires a lot of drive and devotion. Quite often the work involved with administrating and maintaining a club is too great for one person. This is why it is good for clubs to form a leadership board or committee. The format of this leadership board has been refined for ages. There is no sense in re-inventing the wheel here people. With every defined role in a board, there are specific job duties that support and drive the counterpart and complementing roles to ensure success. There is a science behind these roles that should be respected. Like the goaltender that decides to run up the field for no strategic reason, if a board member steps out of their assigned role, chaos ensues. This next page will lead you to sample club administrative structures and the principles behind their development.
4. The writing on the wall.
Once it is determined that a group of people have a common goal, putting it in writing is the next logical step. Whether it’s a simple facebook page or a fully registered non profit corporation with Charter, Code of Conduct, Membership Rules and Bylaws, having a plan on paper is often the key to success. Every group has growing pains and those bumps in the road are much smoother with a pre-approved plan of action for any event. The time it takes to formalize and agreement is well worth the investment. The format for these documents can be found in standard templates and sample documents all over the web. This next page will lead you to a variety of useful articles and documents.
5. Someone has to pay the bills. (Funding).
Rarely, does a person put a lot of their own money into creating fun for other people. Even when they do, this tends to run out. A club can achieve startup funding through various agencies and other organizations that may have a vested interest in that club’s success, but they aren’t likely to do so without being convinced that these funds aren’t being wasted. A club must have a sensible plan for financial longevity. The following page provides links to articles on applying for grants, fundraising ideas and creating that book of dreams….the business plan.
6. The future is in the membership cards.
What a wonderful world this would be if everyone in the Timmies club remembered their toonie. Membership is the reason for a club’s existence and is directly tied to it’s success or failure. Stay on top of setting appropriate membership fees and collecting payment when it is due and you may have smooth sailing for years to come. One might even go so far as to state that the entire organization and it’s offerings are directly tied to an earmarked portion of the membership fee. If you know what a club is charging for it’s membership fee in another region or city, with a little knowledge about what they are offering, you can reverse manufacture a budget for your similar startup club. The following page will link you to an assortment of knowledge documents on topics from creating an appropriate membership fees to methods for enforcing timely collection without ruffling feathers.
7. Don’t forget a risk management plan.
Strikers dive into goalposts, scrapbookers glue their hands to craft tables and sometimes cardboard larping swords do cut flesh. It…..will…..happen. Most common activities these days fall under the government of a larger association. Associations that have already planned for unfortunate events and can offer insurance coverage for clubs that register with them and agree to their established guidelines. There are even insurances available for individuals participating in sport activities that pose risks to their employability due to injury. A good risk management plan can help avoid ever having to consider using these insurances. The following page will link to articles and resources available to clubs that help lessen the repercussions of mishaps.