Here are eight ways to ensure the success of your university club:
1 Build a support group. Open your membership to staff, faculty, alumni and local residents, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. This provides stability, offers various perspectives and increases access to resources like meeting spaces and funds.
2 Elect committed officers. Ensure officers are dedicated and committed, and represent the diversity of your club’s membership.
3 Adapt with the seasons. Summers will be slow, which means members who attend during those months can benefit from increased speaking experience. Prepare for the influx of new members at the start of the academic year.
4 Know that you’re not alone. New clubs have mentors and sponsors. District officers can help. There’s even a Club Coach Program for struggling clubs.
5 Consider department sponsorship. A college department might be willing to pay the chartering fee. However, it is important not to have a particular department or segment of the university population dominate the program.
6 Get the word out. Use all the technology and campus media available to you to publicize your club. Fliers placed strategically around campus can also be effective.
7 Be flexible and creative. Approach challenges in creative ways that work for your members—like speak-a-thons, themed meetings and joint meetings with successful clubs.
8 Recognize your limits. Many aspects of Toastmasters—such as establishing a mentor program and achieving Distinguished status—require a club to be two years old or have members who have reached specific speaking goals. Set realistic goals for your members and your club, and celebrate your successes!
Contributed by Jennifer Blanck, DTM, and Brett Howe.