Have You Thought About Starting Your Own Club?
Joining a social club can be a great way to boost your mood, make new like-minded friends, improve skills and knowledge, and ward off boredom. In fact, social connectedness has a range of health benefits as good as quitting smoking or taking up exercise, according to recent research. While social media and the internet make it easier to stay in touch, catching up in person is still vital to your mental health!
That said, it can be tough to find a club catering to your specific tastes, or that meets at the times and places convenient to you. So have you considered creating your own?
Here are some practical steps to starting your own club:
Choose your activity
First, hone in on what you want your club to be about. Do you want to start a social club based on your hobbies or interests, such as a book club or wine society? A walking club exploring the best hikes of your local area can be a great way to stay motivated to exercise. Or perhaps you are trying to raise funds or awareness for a particular charity or issue in society? Whatever it is, get a clear idea of the type of club you want to put together. It also might be worth checking if there are similar established social clubs available in your area, so you can market your point of difference to new members.
Create a plan of attack
After you’ve figured out exactly what you’d like to do in your group, visualise how you’d like to make it happen. What’s your new social club trying to achieve, and how will it be led and organised? This will be helpful when it comes time to plan and look for people who might like to join your club. Social clubs don’t necessarily need a comprehensive plan or structure, but putting together a ‘mission statement’ will ensure you’re attracting members that are aligned with your vision.
Some other questions to consider when creating your own club:
- How often will you meet? Exercise clubs might be once a week to ensure consistency, whereas book clubs should be monthly to give people time to read.
- Will it cost anything? Will all the members of your new social club be responsible for their own items – e.g. books, wine or national park entry – or will you be creating a kitty that members contribute to?
- What are the prerequisites for new members? Can anyone join your new club or do they have to fit certain criteria?
- How will you brainstorm new ideas? How will you be choosing the next book to read, wine to purchase or trail to walk? Will you put a social calendar in place for the next six to 12 months, or will it be an adhoc decision on a monthly basis?
- Who will queries be directed to? Having a specific person or email address for new members to direct queries to is key.
Find a place to meet
One of the trickiest parts of putting together a group is finalising your meeting location. Whether it’s a public venue such as a library, a member’s house or a hired space, be sure it’s convenient, with public transport and/or ample parking nearby. If you’re hesitant about inviting people into your home, try to arrange your first few meetings somewhere public and easily accessible, such as your local coffee shop, a community centre, or your favourite restaurant.
You also need to think about the facilities and space needed – are you going to cap numbers on the group or simply move to a different space if your club takes off? Is there adequate benches, crockery or other equipment needed for your group or club to flourish?
Finding new members
Word of mouth is often how social groups and clubs grow, but you still need a starting point. It can be helpful to build a profile of the type of members you would like to attract. For example, how are your ideal members most likely to find a club? Would they search online, or perhaps respond to community flyers or a sign posted on the noticeboard at your local shop? Social media can be another great way to advertise your club and build a following. You could start a Facebook group, or join an existing one to connect with people in your local area.
Once you’ve rallied up a fair few members, you’ll need a platform to keep in touch with everyone. You might like to create a Facebook Messenger group to remind members about upcoming events, share photos, and get suggestions on topics or talking points.
With just a little bit of pre-planning, pursuing a passion project can be a fulfilling and successful venture, with a range of mental and physical health benefits.
For more ideas on how to live your best life post-retirement, including tips for your finances, independence, and health and wellbeing, download The Guide to Living Well.
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