Are you thinking of chartering a new club? After having been working on the sidelines of the Team that just chartered Clarkson Toastmasters Club, I can say that it is a lot of work. When you look for information in Toastmasters International or within the District 86, there isn’t a lot of published information with best practices or guidelines. This is probably because each club and situation is so unique. There were a lot of things that I learned in this process and I wanted to share what I learned.
Location, Location, Location
Our first launch meeting was May 22 when we were meeting at Christ Church in Mississauga. This Church is located within the Lorne Park community and it is literally nestled within a residential neighbourhood. While we were scouting for locations, this venue had a lot of great features like the grounds which would have been perfect for summer meetings, lots of free parking, storage for our Toastmasters paraphernalia which would mean that we could leave our things there from week to week. After our first few meetings we were having trouble getting people to the meeting because other than our social media forums we had no way to reach out to our audience. In September 2018, we moved our meeting to the Clarkson Community Centre. By the end of October, we reached charter strength. This speaks volumes to the importance of location!
Give Everyone a Role
It can take months to charter and while you work and wait patiently to get to charter strength you can’t afford to disengage the members who have signed up as a member. It is really important to keep them engaged. Since a key success factor for the club is getting members, create a Membership Committee and involve your newest members. You can also keep your members engaged by assigning them roles at the meeting. We encouraged members to present their Ice Breaker and then to deliver the speech again by incorporating their feedback.
There are many social media forums to promote the launch of a new club, but don’t make the mistake of creating a presence in so many forums that you lose track. Stick to the best ones which may include Facebook, Eventbrite, Snapd, LinkedIn. We also did the following to gain exposure:
1. Reach out to the local newspapers and wrote a short article
2. Contact our Ward Councilor and they welcomed an article for their newsletter
3. Contact ratepayer associations (your Ward Councilor would be able to help you find their contact information)
4. Put up posters in the local coffee shops
Chartering a new club is really exciting once you start to see the results. It can be a long process, so don’t forget to celebrate along the way and celebrate each new member you add. The big celebration comes with the official charter party, which we will hold in March (stay tuned for another blog!). Beyond this however, by successfully chartering a club you have left your community a better place than you found it and that is something to be very proud of!
Muktha Tumkur, DTM