How To Start An Official Club: 5 Steps To Start A Membership Club In 2023
Starting a club is a great way to enjoy and share your passion with other like-minded people. Running a club can be an extremely rewarding experience, and it is one that we at Member Jungle would 100% recommend. In fact, several members of the Member Jungle team have started clubs themselves. Now I am a member of a club, but I have never started one, so I talked to the team members who have and here are their tips for starting an official club.
To make things a little easier to follow, throughout this article, I will use an example of three friends who want to start a fishing club. Everything will still be applicable no matter what kind of club you are thinking of starting. This will allow me to use consistent examples. Below we can see our three fishing enthusiasts needing all the help they can get.
Without further ado, let's get started on the 5 steps to start your own official club.
Step 1: Decide What Your Club Is Going To Be
It might seem obvious, but the first thing you need to do is work out what you want your club to do. Chances are you aren’t starting this club on your own. You probably already have a few friends who want to start this club with you. So gather them together, have a little informal meeting and work out the following.
What Is Your Club Going To Be About?
The first thing you need to decide is what hobby or activity your club will focus on. So for our three fishing enthusiasts, it will be about fishing. There is an extremely good chance you already have this sorted, so let’s move on.
Where Is Your Club Going To Meet?
So you know what your club is about now. You need to work out where your club is going to meet up. Will there be a “club house” where you and your members can meet? If you have events, will there be a regular spot where those events are held? Of course, you don’t need a regular meeting place or event location, but now is an excellent time to work all this out.
When Is Your Club Going To Meet?
You know where you and your club will meet, and you might even know where you plan on holding some of your events. Now you need to work on When all this will take place. Maybe you will have monthly meetings at your “club house”, maybe you will try to host one event every three months. All of this is up to you.
The advice from those I talked to is that you should aim to meet at least once a month to make sure you are all on top of what is going on in your club. When it comes to events, having events often, even one or two a month, may be a great goal, but remember to start slow and don’t over-commit until you’re sure you can handle events that frequently.
Who Do You Want In Your Club?
Working out who you want in your club is very important. You are going to want people who are interested in the hobby or activity your club is about. However, you are going to need to work out how specific or nonspecific you are going to be about that interest.
For example, our fishers are obviously going to want people who are into fishing, but will they accept all kinds of fishers? Will they want to open their club to spearfishers, fly fishers, deep sea fishers, or kayak fishers? This isn’t about any sort of snobbery between the different subgroups. From a practical standpoint, they just need to work out exactly who their club caters to.
Why Are You Starting Your Club?
Lastly, you need to work out exactly why you are starting your club. What is the goal or mission of your club? Is it simply to enjoy your hobby with like-minded people? To spread awareness about an underappreciated hobby. To hold competitions? To raise funds for charity? It doesn’t matter what it is; you just need to decide, write it down and keep it in mind throughout the setting up and running of your club. The good news is that you don’t need to pick just one. Your mission might be to hold fun fishing competitions that raise money for charity. So take some time and come up with a goal that you can stand behind and achieve.
Step 2: Work Out Your Club’s Structure
The next step is to work out the structure of your club. This means working out how your club is run, what leadership roles are there in the club, and how many levels of members there will be.
Will Your Club Have A President or A Committee?
You will need to decide whether your club will be run by a president and/or a committee. Also, how often new presidents or committee members will be elected. It may be that people hold these positions for years or only six months. That is up to you to determine.
Besides working out whether you will have a president or committee, you will also need to determine what other leadership roles your club will have. Will you need a treasurer, a secretary, or an event manager? You will also need to nominate someone to be in charge of the tech side of your club. It's 2023, and your club will need a website and an online presence to grow.
Does Your Club Need Membership Levels?
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, membership levels refer to the different options available for individuals to join a club at varying prices and obtain various levels of access.
For example, the fishing club that our three friends are establishing will have two membership levels. The first is a standard membership that enables members to access the club's website, merchandise, and fishing competitions. The second one is a premium membership that includes everything in the standard membership, with the added benefit of being able to register a boat with the club and receive discounts at nearby tackle stores.
By figuring out all the technical aspects of your club's structure during the planning stage, you will be in better shape to deal with any issues that arise in the future of your club.
Step 3: Work Out What Laws Apply To Your Club
When starting a club, it is essential to research the laws in your area regarding club operations. You will likely need to register your club with a local authority before you can set up a club bank account, organise your club's taxes or sell merchandise.
Many countries have government agencies that can assist with club registration. The easiest way to find what laws and regulations will apply to your club is by searching online for "Starting an official club in (your location)".
How To Start An Official Club In Australia
Here are the legal requirements for setting up an official club in all Australian States:
I found all of these extremely quickly, every state website had instructions, eligibility details, forms to download and basically everything else you will need to know.
Most countries and states around the world will have similar websites ready to assist you with setting up the legal side of your club.
Step 4: Get Your Club Online
One thing that every club needs to grow and flourish is an online presence. From a website to social media, you need to make sure that people can find your club online and that what they find looks amazing. For a lot of your new members your website and social media pages will be the first thing they see of your club so you need to make sure they set a good first impression.
The good news is it has never been easier to create a beautiful and functional website. There are websites like Wix and WordPress that offer easy D.I.Y website builders. Alternatively, there are companies like Member Jungle that can provide you with a website and a membership management system to make running your club easier.
Starting a club can be a challenge, but it is also a lot of fun. One of the most fun aspects is creating a website for your club. You get to come up with a club logo, club colours, and the tone of your club.
Step 5: Grow and Enjoy You Club
So, you've got your website up and running for your club. Now it's time to get the word out and attract new members. Remember that as your club gets bigger and busier, you will need a good system to stay on top of everything.
And let's not forget about planning events, hanging out with your fellow club mates, and sharing your common interests. It can be a lot of work, but using a good system that automates the time consuming process you can keep things organised. Services like us at Member Jungle, or alternatives like JoinIt and Bond Software are great places to start. Make sure that you won't lose sight of why your club was founded in the first place.
If you are looking for some ways to grow your club, have a read of: The Best Social Media To Use To Grow Your Club For Free.
Where To Start With Setting Up Your New Club
If you’ve followed these steps, looked up your local legal requirements then you should start looking into ways to promote and run your club better. Here are some great places to start:
Most importantly get out there and go enjoy your new club.
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