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Plant The Seed ... Grow A Soroptimist Club!
By Nicole Simmons, Membership & Leadership Development Manager

Picture in your mind how different the world would look if there was a Soroptimist club in every city, province, prefecture, and territory throughout the world. Imagine the possibilities of what a new club can achieve! With each club focused on our mission we could empower so many more women and girls to be their best and to live their dreams.

With approximately 3.5 billion women and girls in the world and just about 3,000 Soroptimist clubs across the globe, there is plenty of potential for new club building!

Chartering new Soroptimist clubs is essential for maintaining the vibrancy and future of our organization. Bringing new groups of women together to focus on our mission helps to improve not only their community, but the whole world!

Plus, don't forget about how many members will join the club and gain new friendships, life experiences, and have the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference!

Every new club adds to our network and makes our organization more dynamic and diverse. Now is a great time for chartering a new club. In fact, the development of one can take as little as four weeks. Remember, that in today's world, enthusiasm can wane quickly if we don't strike while the iron is hot!

When an individual, a small group, or even an entire club sponsors a new club, it can be a very rewarding experience that enhances leadership skills and provides a sense of purpose.

It's important to remember that an individual member does not necessarily need to take on this endeavor alone. A team of enthusiastic members and/or prospective members along with region membership chairs, region governors, and SIA headquarters staff can (and should!) support the process. Staff are available to assist with orientation, education and support. Remember, we’re all in this together!

Where to begin with this admirable undertaking? Check out the New Club Building Guide, which is designed to help you organize and move ahead with the chartering process.

The guide contains a detailed look at several steps along with a number of examples and materials to assist you along the way—no need to reinvent the wheel! Keep in mind, there may be other ways to start a new club that better fit your needs. Don't be afraid to try them—there is more than one way to get a new club off the ground.

Start by taking a glance at the nine simple steps below to charter a new club and increase our collective impact, and then see the New Club Building Guide for more details and samples.

1. Enlist the charter team.
Start with passionate and enthusiastic members from the sponsoring club, prospects in the area who want to start a club, and region leaders.

2. Determine a geographical focus.
Decide where the best area is to develop a new club. Consider areas in which a club does not exist as well as those in which a club used to exist.

3. Community outreach.
Go out into the community and engage with local stakeholders to help them get to know Soroptimist, expand your membership prospect list, and identify potential community partnerships.

4. Recruitment!
Create a list of potential members and then reach out to everyone. Set-up a Facebook page, post flyers around the community and start creating a buzz—Soroptimist is coming to town! Don't forget to follow-up with all inquires!

5. Host an informational meeting.
Keep it simple! Focus on our mission and member benefits: participation in an important mission with other like-minded women, friendship, and being part of a global organization.

6. Hold an organizational meeting.
Invite those committed to membership and set-up a time to make important logistical decisions.

7. Submit a charter application.
As soon as you have 12 members, provide headquarters with the completed charter paperwork, membership forms and dues/fees, and the club bylaws. This enables the club to start planning its first activity. Also, additional charter members may be added for 90 days after the club has been chartered.

8. Charter celebration!
Time to have fun and throw a party to commemorate the start of many good things to come!

9. Nurture the new club.
Similar to new members, new clubs must be mentored throughout their first years in the organization. Nurture and guide the new club, but don't dominate it—the new club needs to create its own culture based on the interests and styles of its members.

By following these steps, you can be part of bringing women together for friendship, personal fulfillment, and volunteering—just as so many others before you have been doing for nearly 100 years. Embark on one of the most rewarding experiences of your volunteer career today—planting the seeds of Soroptimist throughout the world one community at a time!

 

 

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