Club Starter Guide

One of the best ways for youth to contribute to solving social problems is to start a club. A club offers many benefits, such as building leadership, teamwork and organizational skills and inspiring creativity. It is also a great way to make new friends. Anyone can start a club. All you need is time and passion.

To help you start, we listed questions and ideas to consider along with a sample club constitution and bylaws.

What is a YSE club?  It is any youth club that has a social entrepreneurship component. Here are a few examples:

  1. A high school club that fundraises for a cause or charity is interested in learning about social entrepreneurship techniques. The club joins YSEClubs for educational purposes, which will help achieve its mission.
  2. A new high school club is formed to focuses on social entrepreneurship education. The club mission is to invite guest speakers to its meetings and for club members to attend an annual social entrepreneurship workshop. The club joins YSEClubs in order to receive educational material and information on workshops.
  3. A community action club that volunteers at the local Senior Center is interested in incorporating social entrepreneurship to its mission. The club joins YSEClubs to learn about ways to get seniors involved in social impact causes. They come up with the idea of working with seniors on knitting hats for the homeless.

How will the club organize?  One option is to organize as a school club. This approach is preferred because you get access to school resources and the club may continue after you graduate. Another option is to organize as a community-based club and affiliate with a community or faith-based organization. The club could also be home-grown.

Will the club affiliate with a national organization?  A club can affiliate with a national organization and become a local chapter. Alternatively, a club can organize as a local service club and not affiliate with a national organization. Regardless of the approach, all clubs that are interested in learning about social entrepreneurship are welcomed to join YSEClubs.

Who will be the club advisor?  It is recommended that your club have an adult advisor. The advisor's role is to provide the club with guidance and support, when needed. A school club requires an advisor, such as a teacher. A community-based club may not have this requirement, but an adult advisor is recommended, such as a parent.

Will there be a club membership fee?  Some clubs do not have a membership fee. Some clubs collect a nominal fee from members to pay for supplies and other needs.

How will the club recruit members?  An open membership is recommended over a closed membership in order to increase the ranks and diversity of the club. You could begin by recruiting friends and like-mind people. The club could have an annual membership drive or several membership drives during the year. Some clubs advertise for members at the public library. Many clubs use social media to recruit members.

Where will the club meet?  A school club will typically meet at school. A community-based club could meet at a public library, town community center, an affiliated organization's location, or a welcoming business, such as a coffee shop. Clubs could also meet at a member's house and even a park during nice weather.

How often will the club meet?  A school club should meet once or twice per month during the school year. The meetings typically last 30-60 minutes and are held before school, during lunch or after school. Community-based and home-grown clubs could meet once or twice per month after school, on weekends or as often as the members decide. 

Will club meetings be formal or informal?  Meetings should be fun, but organized in a consistent manner. There should be an agenda prepared for each meeting. It is recommended that club operating matters are discussed in a formal way. For example, the Treasurer update on fundraising. A meeting agenda should also include time for open participation by all members.

Will the club conduct fundraisers?  A club could choose to fundraise for a cause, to support a charity or to help members pay for attending a conference. Alternatively, a club could choose to focus on activities that do not require fundraising, such as advocacy and education. School clubs typically need permission from the school administration before fundraising. The club advisor would help get this approval.

What are the club rules?  A school club requires a constitution and by-laws. A community-based and home-grown club may be organized in a less formal way, but having written rules on how the club operates is recommended. For a sample constitution and bylaws that could be tailored for any club  (click here).