How to Start a Community Club

If you follow the process you will be successful.  It will take about 2-3 months of efficient activity.

This webpage has 3 sections.

  • An outline of the 5 Stages
  • A detailed discussion of the various steps - go to individual sections by clicking on the blue link.
  • A Check List of the 21 steps. Use the downloadable
    Community Clubs Check List

Outline of the 5 Stages

  • Stage 1 : Preliminaries
  • Stage 2:  Prepare for the Demonstration Meeting
  • Stage 3:  The Demonstration Meeting
  • Stage 4:  Sign up the members, fill in the Charter paperwork. Send this to the DG or LGM for checking before lodging the Charter Application
  • Stage 5:  Celebrate your success

The Detailed Discussion

Stage 1 Preliminaries

Stage 2 Prepare for the Demonstration Meeting

Stage 3  The Demonstration Meeting

Stage 4  The Charter Application

Stage 5: Celebrate your success

Hold a Charter celebration. Now the Mentors guide and help the club.
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Some detailed help with the Check List

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Why do it?

  • Your DTM. The Distinguished Toastmaster Award is the highest personal award for members. Starting a new club gives you a necessary qualification for the award.
  • Leadership Experience. Starting a club requires quite a few leadership skills. You can learn and practise them.
  • District 17 in WA. We need a steady increase in our Club Numbers and membership strength. This is an important way to strengthen our District 17

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Your High Performance Leadership project

Starting a new club is an excellent project for the HPL. Basically you work with an advisory committee who can be of great value as you plan and execute the project. When completed and submitted to Toastmasters International, you have one of the extra obligatory requirements for the Distinguished Toastmaster Award.

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The locality

The locality could easily be the suburb where you live. Many members live in suburbs where there is no Toastmaster club. This is your chance. If there is a McDonalds and no Toastmaster club nearby, then you have an excellent opportunity because the Fast Food people have already mapped the demographics for you.

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The Co-Sponsor

In this kind of project two efficient leaders can produce much more than twice as much as one. Toastmasters International gives recognition to two Sponsors. Choose your co-worker carefully. You will have to explain the project, and sell the opportunity to them. Similarly, sell the project to your own club as an opportunity for members to learn leadership skills and do something really positive.

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The Funding

You are going to need money - it takes from $500 to $1,000 to set up a Community Club like this. The good news is that we can organise quite a lot of funds to help.  District 17 has some limited funds available for this process. For further information email the District 17 Lt Governor Marketing Leonor Ragan . However there is also some support available from a few of our active clubs in WA.  Email David Nicholas or phone him on 0401 011 212.

You will need some early money for the Application to Organise and to book the Venue - see below. This may come to about $200-$300. There are various sources for this. You may pay it yourself and recoup the money later. Your club may fund this. Contact David if you need help at this stage.

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The Venue

  • This is the crucial step to success. If you have a poor venue you will fail.
  • The venue needs to be able to handle your Demonstration Meeting with a possible 50-60 people. Your ordinary club meetings will probably have about 20-25 people.
  • Book the Demonstration Meeting date and the succeeding meetings.
  • If you need it (and you probably will), download our Toastmaster  Public Liability Certificate of Currency

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Send off the Application to Organise

You can download a file which has all the required forms for chartering, including the Application to Organise. Go to Build a Toastmaster Club.

You will find the forms on pp.15-16. It would probably be advisable to get help in the details for the second page. You could contact the District 17 Lt Governor Marketing Leonor Ragan or the District 17 New Clubs Coordinator David Nicholas.

It costs US$125 which is about A$140 at present (October 2014). For that you get a big box with 20 New Member kits, and a lot of other helpful publications. Please note that District 17 is not permitted to provide any funds for the Application to Organise, nor is the District or a club permitted to pay for any member joining fees.

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The Committee

You will need for the Demonstration Meeting

  • 1 or 2 people to man your registration desk
  • 2 Demonstration speakers - one should be a rookie and one should be experienced, but not too experienced.
  • 1 Table Topics Master and 1 Table Topics Evaluator.
  • 1 Timer.
  • 3 extra helpers to be speech evaluators and the General Evaluator.
  • 2 experienced Toastmasters to be Mentors for the club for the first 6 months - they are very important - and of course they will fill some of the helping roles already outlined.
  • A person, or persons, to handle the catering for the meeting.

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The Bank

  • With no fees - yes, societies accounts still exist.
  • You use the Club Number supplied by World Headquarters from the Application to Organise.
  • You need a preliminary business meeting to appoint a temporary President, Treasurer/Secretary and Vice President Education. This meeting authorises the bank account.

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Publicity

  • Flyers distributed by a letter drop are very efficient and cost effective. Newspaper advertisements are expensive and inefficient.
  • Using the industry average of about 1% response to a letter drop, you will need to drop 5,000 to get 50 people to your Demonstration Meeting.
  • Ask for a phone response (RSVP)so you have an idea of how many will turn up.
  • Contact a reporter from the local newspaper - they will often be interested - and it is FREE publicity!
  • Approach local schools to put into their newsletter to parents.
  • Hold an information stall at the local shopping centre with flyers and other relevant information.
  • Distribute posters in the venue and surrounds.

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The Letter Drop

Experienced operators can drop about 200 flyers an hour as they walk around.

  • You and your committee with other helpers could do the letter drop for free.
  • Australia Post charges about 13 cents a flyer.  There is a 3 week  booking time delay.
  • A small operator - Pound the Path 0402 792 725 - charges 5 cents a flyer with minimal booking delay.

It's a matter of priorities.  On 5,000 Flyers your support group can save about $250-$650 as against the commercial drops.  As well, our experience is that commercially dropped Flyers are nowhere near as effective as member dropped Flyers because the commercial drops go out in a bundle with many others and many people discard the whole bundle without looking at any.  A single Flyer in a letter box has much more chance of getting attention.

  • If you use your committee and club, set a date or dates and publicise them widely at least a fortnight before.
  • If you use Australia Post take into account the 3 week booking time delay.

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The Flyer

You want the Flyer to have maximum impact when the householder goes to the letter box. Here are some suggestions to achieve this.

  • Use a 200 gsm card rather than standard 80 gsm paper. It is more likely to be looked at.
  • Make the Flyer a DL size, not A4 or A5. This small size slips into all letter boxes. The larger sizes may be folded.
  • Pay for a commercial printer to print it unless you have a Laser Printer at home. Inkject pages smudge when damp or wet.
  • Use a standard layout design. Your personal effort may not be effective.

Have a look at the Canning Vale Flyer
And the Kalgoorlie flyer Touch Of Gold Promo letter

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Planning the Demonstration Meeting

Make it the best and liveliest meeting you can.

  • Involve your audience by showing them some basic speaking skills in an interactive workshop - get them to stand up, show them good stance, where to put their arms and hands, and eye contact.
  • Get them involved in table topics.
  • Have a demonstration Icebreaker
  • Have a question and answer session at the end.

Have a look at the Canning Vale Demonstration Meeting Agenda

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Follow Up the Meeting Participants

  • Besides the speakers, evaluators etc, you have other important helpers.
  • About a week before the meeting phone them and confirm their help.
  • Be aware of the importance of the supper. This can make or break the follow up to your meeting. Make it good!

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The Meeting

  • Be there early.
  • Be cheerful and optimistic.
  • Trust your helpers. Show confidence in them. Be ready to make alternative arrangements.

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Publicise the Next Meeting

  • This meeting is just the first. You need to get them back for following meetings to start the club.
  • So publicise the following meetings at the end of this one.
  • Ask guests who join to be on the agenda the following meeting.

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Keep Good Records

Make a list of everyone who attended and sign up those who want to join that night

  • You will need a desk by the entry/exit point with forms, pens and helpers
  • Get their phone # and email address to follow up if you need to
  • Keep the Application Forms in reserve until the meeting ends
  • Have the Treasurer there with a receipt book and suitable change - probably from $100
  • Get the Application Form filled in even if they arrange to pay next meeting

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Sign Up New Members

  • There must be at least 17 who are new to Toastmasters or belong to no other club
  • You can have Transfer members from other clubs
  • You can have an unlimited number of Dual members

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The Business Meeting

  • Choose the Club's name
  • Elect the Officers
  • Adopt the Toastmasters Constitution
  • Adopt the Club's Bylaws - various housekeeping issues

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Send Off the Charter Application

  • Fill in the documentation
  • The President and Secretary have to sign in various places
  • Decide on the payment method. The Charter Application will cost over A$1,000. The simplest is for a Club member to use their Credit Card and be reimbursed by the Club for the cost. There are other methods.
  • Send the application. Best is to scan the documentation and email it to the DG and or LGM for checking before sending to New Clubs at Toastmasters International.

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Celebrate Success

  • Encourage the Officers to organise and hold a Charter Celebration Meeting soon after World Headquarters registers the Club. Invite your Area Governor, Division Governor, District Governor and other important people to attend.
  • Hand over to the 2 Mentors who will guide and help the Club for 6 months
  • Some Founders stay on as members because they have an emotional bond to the Club and its members. Don't assume this means they will always do what you or the Mentors suggest.
  • Claim the credit. World Headquarters will send a form to be signed by the Club President. Get it signed and send it off!!

Do you want help?

If you want to discuss your idea or proposal for a new club, contact David Nicholas DTM, the District 17 New Clubs Coordinator.

David Nicholas
David Nicholas DTM
District 17 Webmaster
0401 011 212