How to make your club great (Part I)

Every high school has them: one or two clubs that everyone wants to be a part of. They have the most fun meetings, go on the most fun trips, seem to be a tight-knit group, and everyone wishes they could join. Creating one takes a lot of work but is well-worth the effort. The process is great fun and end goal will help you get into your dream college.

What is it about these clubs that make them so great?

1. Great clubs are active.

Some clubs simply don’t do anything. They have meetings maybe once a month or once every other month, but apart from calling each other “members,” there isn’t anything that ties the club together. They don’t make plans, they don’t do activities together, they don’t participate in fundraisers–no one really knows what they do or understands the point of the club even being together.

Great clubs meet often and participate in a wide variety of activities. It doesn’t matter what club it is–if it’s active in the school and in the community, it will be successful. It’s best to divide the activity into three areas: inter-club activity (like meetings), school-wide activity (like fundraising events), and community-wide activity (like service projects). A truly great club will offer its members chances to participate in all three types of activities.

2. Great clubs promote themselves.

High school clubs do not win points or popularity by being exclusive. To make your club shine, you will have to let as many people know about it as possible. Advertise your club around the school, with your friends, and in your classes. Take advantage of social media platforms to publicize your club. Let people know about all the fun activities you do or about that amazing trip you are holding a fundraiser in preparation for. Clubs are

useless without a strong membership base, and you can’t attract members without making yourselves widely known.

3. Great clubs raise money.

Even the smallest clubs in school can benefit from having a treasury. At the very least, you can raise money to buy pizza for one meeting per month, and “free” food can be an incredible motivator for people!

Not only does a healthy treasury enable your club to do fun activities, participate in contests, and go on trips, the fundraising events themselves can strengthen the bond of your group and get others involved in your club.

Here are some examples of fundraisers that really put your club on the map:

• Benefit concerts (local musicians or even student musicians)

• Battle of the Bands

• Anything involving food (like a school-wide spaghetti dinner where the club members do the cooking and ticket proceeds go to your club)
• Theme parties

• Dance-a-thons

• Benefit races (like a 5K where runners collect pledges)

• Intramural sports tournaments

• Selling coupons donated by local businesses

• Community car washes

There are so many possibilities. The more creative, and the more you can cater the event to your club, the better. For example, the Chess Club could sponsor a school-wide chess tournament with a small entry fee. The winner takes home a prize (maybe a gift card donated by a local restaurant), and the club gets the entry money. By opening the tournament to the whole school, you get others involved who may meet members of the club and then decide they want to join. If the tournament has a lot of other fun

elements (good music, good food), it makes the club that much more attractive.

Also remember–the more people who can get involved in your fundraising event, the more money you will raise!

4. Great clubs give back.

Your club does not have to be a “service club” to participate in service. Doing service work either at your school or in your community will give your club a sense of unity and a sense of purpose. The type of service does not matter. It can be related to your club (e.g. the science club taking a small group to an elementary school and doing cool science demonstrations for a 3rd grade science class), it can be responding to a need in the community (coordinating a food drive for a local food bank), it can be related to the school itself (planting a functioning vegetable garden on school grounds), or it can be a response to an event (coordinating a fundraiser to help the victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines). Any type of service will help your club members feel connected to each other and to the world around them.

5. Great clubs have membership benefits.

This simply means that the members get something out of participating in the club. It could be as simple as “getting a sense of pride from helping the school build tolerance between different ethnic groups,” or it could be that members actually get a physical token for being part of the group (e.g.

National Honor Society pins and graduation adornments). Either way, the members have to have something to show for taking part, otherwise there is no incentive. For some clubs, the incentive is being able to go to competitions or go on trips. For others, it’s being able to participate in certain service projects.

A club that doesn’t offer its members anything will likely not have many members.