Starting a men’s social club is challenging, but the resulting organization can bring rewards for years to come. In order to maintain tax-exempt status, the club should have a limited (but nondiscriminatory) membership, exist for social or recreational pursuits, be sustained by dues, and involve face-to-face contact among members with shared interests. The social club may not provide profit for individuals (see Reference 1). There are men’s social clubs on college campuses (fraternities), glee clubs, religious social clubs and social clubs in retirement communities.
How to Start a Men's Club
Determine a mission for the club. Will it be strictly social, or will members undertake charitable or community service activities? Will the club welcome guest speakers or concentrate on social networking?
Determine leadership positions to be filled and solicit people to fill the offices. At the minimum, you will need a president to coordinate club activities, a secretary to record meetings and keep a calendar of events, and a treasurer to open a checking account for dues and expenses.
Plan social club activities by listening carefully to all ideas offered by members. These ideas may include fishing trips, golf outings, charitable functions or visits to local attractions. The person offering the suggestion can head up a committee and report on committee findings at the next meeting.
Appoint a meeting chairman who will be responsible for securing a venue for social club meetings. He will book an appropriate place, order refreshments, secure tables and chairs, and form a cleanup committee if necessary. He will also publicize meetings to the membership well in advance.
Hold a brief business meeting at the beginning of each general meeting to inform members of the state of the social club's finances. The treasurer can state the amount of money currently in the checking account, deposits expected, and anticipated expenses.
If there are to be guest speakers at general meetings, appoint a committee chairman to conduct a search for an interesting and informative speaker by investigating the Speakers Bureau of a local college or university. Guest speakers generally speak to the membership after committee chairmen report on the progress of planned activities.
Be adventurous! If there is some support for an idea, try it. You never know what type of event will be successful.
Use email to publicize events. It is easy, fast and inexpensive.
After each event, have the committee chairman fill out a report with suggestions for the future. For example, the report can say if there was enough food, if the venue was appropriate, and if the pricing was correct.
Contact similar clubs for ideas that worked for them. You may receive a recommendation for a guest speaker, like the football coach at the local college, or an event, such as a visit to a local attraction.
Be sure to review governmental requirements for nonprofit organizations periodically to ensure your social club is in compliance with the rules.
Keep careful track of club funds and report to the membership regularly to avoid confusion.
Be inclusive. The more members who share responsibility and get involved, the stronger the club will be.