How To Start a Social Club: The Ultimate Guide

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Whatever your hobby or interests, there is a club for you! No matter what club you want to be part of—from amateur dramatics to newbie painters—it is possible to find one or start your own.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on social bonding. Keeping in touch with friends and colleagues has been a massive challenge. This constant need for human engagement has led to a boom in social clubs—which seems like the perfect way to meet like-minded people. Typically, these meets happen at a pre-decided physical location, outside of your home, but admittedly, the period of lockdowns has changed everything.

On the flip side, the pandemic has also presented new opportunities to get creative and come together as a community. An online social club is a great example where members can meet through a virtual platform. This effectively means social distancing is no longer an excuse for missing out on the normal human connection.

Whatever your hobby or interests, there is a club for you!

Whether playing cards or hiking with friends on weekends, there is always a group with dedicated individuals who enjoy the same passion. No matter what club you want to be part of—from amateur dramatics to newbie painters—it is possible to find one or start your own.

There are several types of clubs based on an individual’s interests. Some clubs are for socialising, while others offer recreational activities to members. Working professionals can also use clubs to network and meet new people. All you need is a common interest or goal to get involved.

How to start a social club

Starting a social club is much easier than you think. It is a fun activity if you follow the correct process in the proper order. To help you, here are ten steps:

Ten steps to start a social club and manage it successfully

  1. What’s your “why”?
  2. Who are going to be the club members?
  3. Structure your club governance and assign responsibilities
  4. Decide on a mission statement and rules of the club
  5. Decide the membership fee (if any)
  6. Create your presence on social media channels
  7. Choose the right membership platform
  8. Acquire new members through marketing
  9. Engage club members through events, sessions, and other activities
  10. Run the club effectively

1. What’s your “why” to start a club?

First off, clarify the purpose of your club and identify why it exists. Some questions you might want to start with:

  • What is the primary long-term goal you want to achieve?
  • What do you want to do for your club members?
  • Is there a specific service you can offer to the members?
  • How will you raise funds?

You must answer these questions before moving on. Once you have all the essential details, start searching for similar membership clubs and understand how they operate. This way, you will also be able to know more about the kind of club that will work for you (hobby club, membership-based business, social club, membership sites, etc.)

To be fantastic at something, you need a reason. Start by thinking about your “why”, and everything else will follow. That is your key to making a club with members who help each other grow.

2. Know your (potential) members

How to start a private social club with zero chaos?

First, do some research. You need to know who your target audience is. Understanding demographics is only one aspect. Try to find out what makes them tick. Learn more about the interests and inclinations of the potential members. That is how you create a solid foundation. 

Networking is an essential part of the process at this stage. Most clubs or membership portals start with a small bunch of interested people. Reach out to colleagues, friends, and neighbours. Share your vision and spread the word.

You can also introduce an informal screening process for applicants so that only the most fitting ones make it through. Get to know them more and their wants, needs, strengths, and weaknesses. The more information you have on your potential members, the better.

3. Structure your club governance and assign roles and responsibilities

Depending upon the nature of the club, decide the key roles and the people who will be in these roles. Typically, a new club has a designated president, vice president, and treasurer. Then there is a secretary who keeps records and manages the member details. Additionally, you can have one PR person handle publicity, marketing, and approaching potential sponsors.

These are important positions and decide the course of the club in the long term. Every designated person must have good coordination with other team members. Do not forget to understand the nitty-gritty of regulatory requirements. Religious or political groups, for instance, usually require a more formal structure and may have to declare their team details to the government.

4. Decide on a mission statement and rules

Wondering how to start a private members club the right way? Start with a solid mission statement. This is one document that will help further consolidate your why.

Ensure the mission statement is simple enough to remember. For example, a potential mission statement might be, “We look to improve our cooking skills by trying new vegan recipes and sharing tips and tricks.” Putting this statement in words helps you set up tangible long-term goals for the club. That is how you’ll be creating a concrete roadmap to success.

Additionally, create a rulebook with clear-cut procedures about decision-making responsibilities, voting rights, events and programs, new memberships, etc. The list of procedures should be passed on to all club members.

Rules and guidelines are necessary for a thriving community

Forming guidelines to maintain decorum is a good idea, even for the most informal clubs. You’ll also need to include more stringent regulations like treating one another with respect and not tolerating discrimination against any group member.

All rules need to be updated with time. Make sure everyone knows how new updates might affect their experience with the club in the future.

5. Decide the membership fee (if any)

Money matters. No community, social club, membership portal can operate without adequate funding. Before building anything substantial, it’s crucial to understand how the operational costs will be covered.

That is where the membership fee comes in. Most social clubs run on a subscription basis, with a pre-decided fee paid per month or annually. Manage finances in 3 easy steps:

  • Draft a clear-cut financial policy statement for the club. This document contains the details of fees, sponsorship levels, ticket prices for events, etc.
  • Identify all sources of income for the club (membership fees, donations, fundraisers, any other way to make money, etc.)
  • Create a routine procedure to review this financial policy statement from time to time.

Managing finances comes down to planning the budget and deciding on the membership fee amount at the most basic level. You can also create different membership levels starting from free for beginners. Advanced memberships at various price points can help you keep up with the expenses and deliver an unmatchable experience to the members.

Do not forget that rules around finances must always be communicated clearly and concisely.

6. Create your presence on social media channels

Online clubs are all the rage these days.

How to start a membership club that won’t get lost in a sea of sameness? The answer is simple: build your online presence from day one.

So an essential part of running a club is establishing your presence on social media. However, it’s important to choose the right channel since most people with similar interests prefer one social media channel over all others.

Create a memberships website

The next natural step is to create a simple website that conveys what your club is all about. A well thought out website will outline the benefits of different membership plans.

The website must outline what your potential members can expect. You could also present photos and imagery around how joining the club has helped all the members.

Deliver this information in an exciting manner. All prospective members should be able to see the benefits of joining the club right away.

Building a social club / memberships website with Eventcube is easy. You can book a demo with us here to find out more, or read on to find more details on how we can help you set up your member's club.

7. Choose the membership platform to run your club

The right membership platform helps manage the seasonal and ongoing payments, new member registration, etc. You can also handle the ticket sales for any events you plan to organise in the future.

We’re not ones to boast, but Eventcube is one of the most accomplished membership platforms out there. Several features add tremendous value, including, but not limited to:

  • Offering members exclusive access to an online portal
  • Storing each member’s data with detailed reporting about their membership status
  • Starting a members-only private club with membership software
  • A feature-packed suite of functionality for driving marketing and sales initiatives
  • Live tracking of membership status with automatic flagging of upcoming expiration dates
  • Offering customised membership discounts using the discount management system
  • Making design changes to the portal (to match the aesthetics of your website)
  • Tools to keep your members informed with regular updates on the status of their subscription and all related perks
  • Tracking the daily pattern of when people renew their registrations
  • Additional tools you need to create tailored membership plans
  • Option to host exclusive events and sell members-only tickets
  • Tools and workflows to reward loyalty by providing exclusive content to members

We’ve barely scratched the surface. Fact is, a fully connected membership management platform can improve club productivity by reducing repetitive tasks. It is effortless to automate most administrative workflows that take up unnecessary time, leading to more free hours.

8. Acquire new members through marketing

The recruitment of new members is always an ongoing process. After all, clubs that require a steady cash flow need a constant influx of new members. Reason: even the most active clubs will see some attrition.

So make sure new members come in every month to keep up when a few members leave for unexpected reasons. Only seek new members who need what you have. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Word of mouth is a great way to get your name out
  • Location-based audience targeting on social media channels works well
  • Get your club mentioned in relevant local listings
  • Get flyers around town so everyone can see what you’re up to
  • Discounts on membership fees at specific times of the year can help
  • Connect with local media channels to talk about your cause
  • Offer a ‘trial membership’ for new prospects
  • Set up automated webinars with a sneak peek into what's on the "other side"

The best way to grow any community is by bringing in new members. In fact, fresh recruitment is almost an existential factor for clubs based on social causes. The more people are involved with your club, the better.

So keep asking your friends and family if they know anyone who might want to get involved. Never stop the ongoing marketing and promotional activities at any given time. New members will always keep your club alive and kicking.

9. Engage club members through events, sessions, and other activities

The most crucial factor to keep a club running is to ensure that you always have a few activities lined up. Such consistency is good and keeps your club alive. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to attract new members and widen the scope of what you do.

In fact, the whole point of starting a club or a community is to host events, sessions, and other similar activities to achieve a common goal. Depending upon your requirement, you might have to rent venues and bring in distinguished speakers. However, everything is easier in the new online world. All clubs can hold events and meetings using virtual membership platforms to bring members together.

It is always advisable to start with the free event in the beginning. This will make sure that you’ll get easy sign-ups with an opportunity to showcase the club services. This virtual connection will give you tremendous flexibility. Use distinct types of content to engage with your audience before, during, and after an event. This could include quizzes & trivia, polls, stories about events, or other interesting topics.

It is also essential to take the time after an event to reflect on the proceedings. The goal of post-event analysis is not just to gather feedback from attendees but also to learn what they liked and didn’t like. This helps in planning future virtual events because you can focus on aspects that were missed or weren’t as successful.

10. Run the club effectively

The success of any club, irrespective of the niche, depends on three critical factors:

  • Timely meetings and events - People can find plenty of online communities across every possible human interest. All kinds of competing social clubs are vying for your audience’s attention. Regularly plan meetings, events, and sessions, so they choose your club. A roster full of activities is always a sign of a well-managed club.
  • Ongoing communication - Keep everybody in the loop all the time. If there are changes to the membership fee or an unexpected site maintenance session in progress, let everyone know as soon as possible. Members feel good about being involved in the grand scheme of things. It is a terrific confidence-building measure.
  • Consistent recruitment - You need to get new people on board constantly. Member retention is also a key factor in keeping your club running effectively.

Conclusion: Start a club and succeed

These steps are literally all you need to make your own club. Having said that, different clubs have different requirements. The concept and way of doing things may be different. For instance, fun-based clubs need more entertainment, while faith-based clubs need more meetings and one-on-one engagement.

Should you start a membership club for extra income?

A club is a great way to feel like part of something big and make extra money while at it. You get to be part of a community, plus gain an additional income stream—enjoying the best of both worlds. But money should never be the sole reason for starting a membership club. 

With all the craziness that has been 2020-21, creating clubs and private groups can be just the thing that could help you correct the course of action. If you have been putting off forming a club, then now is the time to get started. Monetary benefits aside, there’s something magical in connecting with like-minded people.

There are humans out there who share your passion. Hopefully, you can start with this 10-step action plan to get them on board. Good luck!

Tip: Make your entrepreneurial journey easy with this round up of the 10 best club membership management software in the market.

Looking for more advice to start a club?

Here are a few related guides that cover everything from virtual events, membership software to event ticketing: