Steps to Club Formation
Keep in mind that there is no age requirement for the participants in the Junior Quota Club program, nor are there any dues requirements—making it economical for students to participate. Also, remember that this is a youth mentoring service project and JQs are not official members of Quota, but they are official members of your JQ Club!
- STEP ONE: Decide on the Type of JQ Club
- STEP TWO: Identify a Membership Base
- STEP THREE: Hold an Informational Meeting
- STEP FOUR: Hold an Organizational Meeting
- STEP FIVE: Identify and Train Officers
- STEP SIX: Hold a Charter Celebration
- STEP SEVEN: Submit JQ Club Notification Form
Step 1: Decide on the Type of JQ Club
As you prepare to start a JQ Club, consider your club’s service objectives and the needs and population of your community. You’ll want to assess the following:
Your Club’s Service Goals
You can establish a club that is a service organization open to any and all young people in your community. All students can benefit from the opportunities that the JQ Club program provides, making any JQ Club a powerful and meaningful service opportunity for the sponsoring club.
Your club can also specifically target a population that Quota aims to serve. You can form a junior club whose members are deaf and hard of hearing or one that serves students from disadvantaged families. In doing so, you’ll provide students with community, support, and opportunities that they might not otherwise experience.
To determine whether there is a substantial group of such students to recruit from, assess the region for schools, organizations, and classes that support deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, clubs for deaf youth, and local audiologist offices.
To assess the population of disadvantaged youth in your community, visit www.idealist.org or your local United Way Web site to find organizations that serve these students.
Next, you should determine what age group your JQ Club will target. Your JQ Club could be for middle school students, high school students, or college students. To decide, first do some research and consider local need. Are there any community or four-year colleges in your area? Do the local middle or high schools have existing service clubs? If so, how many and how active? ***Note: Clubs can also organize official Quota Campus Clubs; members of those clubs pay normal Quota dues and are official members of Quota. Thus, college and university students can choose from two ways to affiliate with Quota. Separate guidelines are currently being created for Campus Clubs.
Second, think about the interests and strengths of your club. Would you prefer to provide the intensive support that middle school students might need (including a higher degree of parental involvement—potential members of your club!), or would you rather be slightly more hands-off with older college students?
Do you want to be a school-sanctioned service club? Here are pros and cons to taking this approach. The school will likely provide meeting space and you will be able to meet with students during or right after school, eliminating challenges in transportation and availability. The downside is that you will limit your member base to the population of a single school, and student availability is more restricted—you have to ensure that you have sponsoring club members available to attend meetings (particularly the meetings early on in the club’s formation) during school hours.
If you choose to take the school-sanctioned approach, contact a school administrator about how to start an extracurricular organization at that school.
A Foot in the Door
It’s important to contact the right person when reaching out to schools. Most schools have a list of staff members on their Web site. At a middle school or high school, contact the school guidance counselor. At a college, contact the Office of Student Activities (or similarly named office).
Call, don’t e-mail, the administrator (they receive hundreds of e-mails every day). Be prepared with a brief opening script and list of talking points. Set up a meeting as soon as possible, and be sure to follow up on your conversation with a thank-you e-mail that includes links to more information about Quota.
Step 2: Identify a Membership Base
Once you decide what type of JQ Club to sponsor, you’re ready to recruit club members. Some great places to find future JQs include:
- Current Quotarians. Members of existing clubs may have children, family members, or other social and professional contacts who are interested in joining a JQ Club targeted toward their interests and experiences.
- Community resources. Local churches, community centers, sports organizations, and YMCAs/YWCAs serve youth. Many of them look for group service opportunities; approach them about partnering on a project. Connect with people at local community events, post notices in bulletins, and attend local youth programs.
- Existing school-based programs. You can also reach out to school-based organizations like foreign exchange student organizations, sports teams, music groups, and cultural organizations, and other groups that may not have a service focus but do include motivated, team-oriented students.
- Tabling events. Colleges, high schools, churches, and other organizations often hold service and other fairs to make students aware of extracurricular activities. If your community has an event like this, request a table where members can provide prospects with materials, answer questions, and collect contact information for interested students.
- Resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. If you are starting a JQ Club targeting this group of students, reach out to local organizations, schools, and classes for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, local youth clubs, and local audiologists’ offices.
- Resources for disadvantaged students. The Web sites www.unitedway.org and www.idealist.org provide comprehensive listings of local non-profits, including those that serve disadvantaged youth. Use these sites to extend your reach to these students beyond your efforts at schools.
- Social networking Web sites. Establish a presence on Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are frequently utilized by teenagers and young adults. Once a few potential members connect with you, their friends are likely to learn more through your on-line profile.
Consider holding an initial service project in which students can participate, particularly if you are hoping to tap into an organization that serves students in a different capacity. Approach that group’s leader with a well-planned service activity. Doing so will provide your students with a hands-on Quota experience that increases their interest in and excitement about the club.
As you connect with potential members, collect names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses so you can provide them with information about upcoming recruitment events.
Know Your Audience!
Strategize your communications to appeal to the age group that you are recruiting. All students will be attracted to the idea of service and fellowship, but you can also capitalize on what makes your audience unique to further appeal to them.
College Students are looking for opportunities to build their resumes, gain professional experience, and network with older professionals as they prepare for the world of work.
High School Students are thinking about becoming marketable college candidates. College admissions offices value service and leadership experience tremendously. Service work can also help students narrow their academic and career focus. Also, many high schools require students to complete community service projects as a graduation requirement.
Middle School Students want to feel like, despite their age, they can make a difference in the world and be given real leadership and financial responsibility. They also want to have fun, travel, and make new friends.
Step 3: Hold an Informational Meeting
As soon as you have a group of potential members, it is critical that you assemble them to capitalize on the excitement about Quota and provide them with opportunities to get involved with the organization as soon as possible. Steps to holding a successful organizational meeting include:
- Get the word out.Be creative in your marketing and take a variety of approaches. Send a mailing, send multiple e-mails, post flyers and posters in areas frequented by potential members, and share information via social-networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. If recruiting college students, contact the school newspaper about putting an ad in the paper or having an article written—school papers are often looking for material.Your invitations should be simple and catchy…and tell potential members that food will be provided! High school and college students love free food.
- Have a plan.Establish a clear plan for what you will do during the meeting and ensure that you have all of the materials that you need. Your plan should include:
- An opening ice breaker
- An overview of Quota’s history and mission
- A member’s story
- Potential service ideas
- An opportunity to ask questions
- Know who’s in the room! Have students sign in so you know who has attended (especially important for those unexpected attendees). Collect their e-mail addresses, but also consider having them fill in a brief form that collects a bit more information about their availability and academic, service, and other interests, so you can personalize future communications and conversations.
- Keep it brief. Students are busy and their attention spans are short! You are more likely to have a significant impact with a brief but powerful session than one that drags on too long.
- Know what happens next. Capitalize on students’ energy by giving them something they can say “yes” to. At the very least, this could be a sign-up sheet, but better yet is a list of jobs or future events that students can sign up for, participate in, or help organize.
You will likely want to plan more than one recruitment meeting, as students may have busy schedules and may not be able to make one meeting. Schedule subsequent meetings for different days and times so that you can address the diversity of student scheduling and ensure that there is at least one meeting that they can attend.
Reach out to attendees (and those who could not make it) as soon as possible after the meeting to let them know that you appreciate their attendance and what the next steps are.
E-mail: The Next (and Text) Generation
Today’s students receive dozens of e-mails every day. Yours needs to stand out! You can create fun, colorful e-mails at Web sites like www.evite.com or www.constantcontact.com. An electronic invitation should still be brief, but in addition to basic meeting information, be sure to include:
- Links to your club’s Web site, Facebook page, etc.
- A contact e-mail
- An easy way to RSVP
These sites also allow you to track who has opened your e-mail, so you know who may need to be contacted by phone or text message. Students constantly check and send text messages—consider sending reminders via text after sending the initial invitation.
Step 4: Hold an Organizational Meeting
After you have developed a substantial list of potential members who have attended recruitment meetings, it’s time to begin organizing the club. It is critical that students be as involved in this process as soon as possible not only so that they are invested in the success of the club, but also because students are more likely to listen and feel accountable to their peers.
Have a clear agenda and list of outcomes for the meeting. If working with older students, consider working with potential leaders to plan the meeting, the goal of which is to establish a plan for chartering and administering the club. Topics to cover include:
- How will your JQ Club govern itself? Electing officers is a great way to build leadership skills; in addition to the offices of president, vice-president, and secretary/treasurer, consider establishing committees to spread the work and leadership opportunities. Be sure to create job descriptions for each of these offices so that responsibilities are clear.
- In addition to electing officers, developing and maintaining a mission statement and bylaws might be a valuable experience for your JQ Club. These do not have to be lengthy, but they do give structure to the club’s work. What should their bylaws look like? How can they be amended?
- How often should the club meet? What should the function of those meetings be? Will a senior member attend those meetings, or will a junior member report on the events of the meeting to the senior club?
- In addition, you should consider where the club will meet. Be sure that the junior club acquires space where they can have effective meetings. You might offer professional or other non-school space to give junior members exposure to office and other environments.
- The focus of your junior club will most likely be service, and it’s important for students to take ownership of it. Brainstorming potential service projects and partners will generate energy and excitement, providing the momentum and focus that will help your JQ Club not only start with a bang, but sustain itself for a long time.
- Managing a budget is a valuable experience. What will your junior club need funds for? Will they raise these funds on their own, or will they receive a grant from the senior club? If you decide that club members should pay dues, keep them to a minimum and offer scholarships so that all young people can get involved, regardless of financial situation.
This meeting is likely to be far more detailed for older students with longer attention spans and a greater understanding of how clubs and organizations work.
Running an interesting, engaging meeting is an art form that is important to master. Nothing kills energy like a boring meeting. To keep students engaged, try these tactics.
Start with an ice-breaker.
Have students write. When posing questions, give students a minute or two to write their ideas. You’ll get more participation because students are better prepared than when asked to think on their feet.
Get moving! Set up stations for key topics around the room and have students circulate in small groups to talk to sponsoring members and brainstorm their ideas before presenting in a large group.
Assign roles. Students will be more invested if they have responsibilities. Ask students to take turns recording information, volunteer to take on follow-up, and run small parts of the meeting themselves.
Close powerfully. Close with a key list of action items and a reflection activity so that students leave on a positive note.
Step 5: Identify and Train Officers
Your student leaders are very important to the success of your JQ Club, and it is important that you invest in them before the club charters so that they are prepared for their responsibilities and other members identify them as leaders. Hold a one- to two-hour training in which you provide team-building and planning activities so that your officers can establish good relationships and establish a common vision for the club. Provide instructions to each officer or, better yet, have your club officers meet with the sponsoring club officers to provide direct mentoring and advising.
Step 6: Hold a Charter Celebration
Although your JQs do not have to pay dues or fulfill other requirements like “official” Quotarians, it’s important to have a kick-off event to create the initial energy students need for a strong start.
Work with new officers to plan your charter night. During the party, present the charter and install officers. Capitalize on the excitement by providing information about upcoming events. Encourage students to invite their friends, who may become interested in Quota, and reach out to the school newspaper to request coverage of the event.
Step 7: Submit JQ Club Notification Form
Please submit the JQ Club Notification Form, available here*, and found on page 19 of the JQ Guide, to Quota International.
|Mail:||Quota International, Inc.
1420 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
*To view or print out this document, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Go to Adobe’s Web site and download a free copy of Acrobat Reader.
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