Establish a Club Structure

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1. Establish a club structure

Whilst some small clubs can survive with just one person running the show, it’s usually a good idea to recruit a few people to form a club committee.

Some successful clubs not only have the usual administrative roles (i.e. a Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary) but also a Communications Officer and Social Secretary, amongst others. Why not appoint people for specific needs, for example to promote 9-ball play, or to recruit more women to your club?

This helps to spread the load by dividing out the tasks, brings different ideas and skills into your club, and prevents “little kingdom syndrome”, whereby one individual dictates the running of the club to his or her personal priorities, leading to the club not servicing its members nor lasting very long after the individual graduates. Many clubs collapse as soon as their leader leaves which is a shame and can easily be prevented by using the committee. Moreover, to be affiliated to your Athletic Union (AU) and/or Students’ Union (SU) you will likely need, constitutionally, a Treasurer and Secretary to support the Chair of the club.

It is also important to have a dynamic committee, from across the university years, each with a specific duty. A static committee, all from the same year, will bring some benefits but the club risks collapsing if all club officials graduate at the same time, and exams and other obligations will tend to limit the flexibility and outreach of the club.

If you need greater diversity in your committee, then conduct recruitment drives (see below). Moreover, to ensure continuity, hold elections in your second semester so that new officers can be mentored by and shadow the outgoing post-holders. One good idea is to ensure at least one first year is on the committee, perhaps with the job title of “Club Continuity Officer” to ensure the club plans for next year.

Establishing a dynamic committee will allow you to build a platform and put the basics in place on a firm setting. Now, as a committee, you will need to know what you want to do and how you want to develop as a club. This usually involves a constitution and some level of democratic process – elections, disciplinary policy, and other such things. This will also involve ensuring some permanent structures are in place – for example, emails and letterboxes bound to the club and not to individuals.

As a committee, you also need to map out your objectives for the year and set yourselves some “SMART” targets:

    * Specific (what you want to achieve)

    * Measurable (ability to measure whether you have achieved it)

    * Achievable (are they achievable and attainable?)

    * Realistic (can you realistically achieve the objective with resources you have?)

    * Time-phased (when do you want to achieve the set objectives?)

Finally, the key to all this is to keep your motivation high. If your club just keeps the same members and doesn’t review its activities, it runs the risk of becoming static and eventually withering away as members drift off. A healthy club is one that has a regular influx of new members and a periodic change in office-bearers on the committee; it has a mix of recreational, competitive and social activities; and is regularly thinking about the future.

You don’t have to be ambitious, provided you keep reviewing whether your club is doing what the current and potential future members actually want. You may decide to recruit younger members, expand or develop your competitions, or join new leagues, or provide more training and coaching for your members.

There are many options for developing the club; you just need to decide which is the most appropriate for your club.

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