Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Starting a club is never easy. You need to get things approved by ASB, you need to get people interested, you need to find a club advisor, and the list goes on. But once your club is official, then what?

Activities are the backbone to any club. Think about the clubs you’re currently in. Why do members join that club? In fact, why do members stay in that club? Often times, you will realize the answer lies in their activities. Having a lot of activities keeps members active, and active members make for an exciting club to be a part of. However, activities are hard to plan, and there are several types of activities.

The most common activity is a social. Socials are common, because, to put it bluntly, they’re easy. Find a location (community parks are usually very popular), publicize, bring some food and drinks, and you’ve got yourself a social! They’re great, because it gives time for members to bond with icebreakers and really get to know one another. Successful clubs always have a family atmosphere, and this is a huge step into creating that type of atmosphere for your own club. If you’re looking to step it up from the regular social, try adding a dress-up theme and awarding prizes for Most Spirited or Best Dressed!

The main type of activities in the clubs that I’m in (which are mostly community service clubs) are service events. Service events can range from cleaning up your neighborhood park all the way to volunteering at the senior center. However, finding these events can definitely be tricky.

Here are some tips for finding service events:

1. Find organizations in your city. These organizations will often need volunteers to help out on a weekly basis or to help out at a special event they’re sponsoring. For example, I live near a zoo, and every Christmas, they hold a Christmas-themed event which some of my clubs participate in. Even if these organizations don’t publicize their events, don’t be afraid to call them and ask if they need any volunteers! More often than not, they’ll be extremely accommodating and find something that you and your club can do.

2. Volunteer at runs. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like all these different themed 5Ks exploded within the last few years. The Color Run, the Bubble Run, Run or Dye. These are all examples of 5Ks that often need volunteers. These events are extremely fun to be a part of, as you get to interact with the runners and have a blast!

3. Plan your own activity! Although it may seem intimidating to plan your own community service project, it isn’t that difficult. Talk to your club members, and identify an area of your community that you would like to contribute to. If your members are interested in promoting literacy, start a book drive and donate all the books you receive to your public or school library! There’s so many different possibilities out there. All you have to do is take the initiative.

Another big category of activities is of the fundraising variety. If you’re in a club like Make-A-Wish where the specific goal of your club is to raise x amount of dollars, then these will be the activities that you need to be focusing on. I was Activities Chair of a fundraising club, and let me start by saying it is not easy to find fundraising activities (at least it wasn’t for me). I have a list of events that you can use as jumping points. They’ve all worked out really well in the past, so hopefully you’ll be able to take these ideas and make them your own!

1. Car washes and bake sales. These are all very typical suggestions, but they work. They really, really do. They’re a lot of hard work, but the reward is great if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you have no idea how to go about hosting a car wash, it’s actually pretty simple! Around the area where I live, all you have to do is contact a gas station, reserve a date, and make a deposit (usually around $50) for their water pump. Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to have your first car wash! A fun way to get members involved is to ask them to bring in car wash items (towels, soap, a hose, etc.).

2. Dine-outs. If you live in an area with a Chipotle, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes, BJ’s, Ruby’s, or anything of the sort, you’re in luck! These types of restaurants usually allow clubs to have dine-outs during the week (Mondays through Thursdays). If you don’t know what a dine-out is, it’s where people bring in your club’s flyer to the restaurant, and a certain percentage of their payment goes to your club! It’s a fun way to raise money and to grab dinner with your friends at the same time.

3. Hot chocolate/lemonade stands. I’ve always grown up wanting to have my own lemonade stand, complete with my $1 sign with a backwards dollar sign. If that’s your dream too, now’s your chance! On a hot, summer day, find a place where you can pass out lemonade. Or, on a cold, winter night, find a place where you can pass out hot chocolate! My club has done this before, and we’ve made a lot of money. A clever way to do is to ask for donations, instead of having a set price. This way, people will be more appreciative of what you’re doing (and possibly donate more).

Although starting your own club can be a daunting task, it’s the months following that really count. Now that you know the different types of events that you can have, go out there and have lots of events! Never forget: Happy members are active members, and in order to have active members, you need to have an active club. Happy planning!

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the author

Benjamin Din is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he is studying journalism and the mathematical methods in the social sciences (what does that even mean?). When he's not writing for The Prospect, he can be found on Twitter as he tries to build his social media presence. For more information, check out his website.

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