The Guide to Starting an Emiliani Club

Do you want to get involved with what we are doing here at The Emiliani Project, but you’re not sure how? Well, we get this question from motivated people all of the time. So, we decided to come up with a plan to help. A great way to get involved and to get involved right away is to start your own Emiliani Project Club at your school, church, neighborhood, company or other organization. How? We’re going to help. Below is a step-by-step guide outlining the basic steps that a new club will need to be successful. And, along with our support, you’ll be up and running in no time.

There are a number of good reasons why a club is a good idea. First, it’s a great way to give your college applications a boost if you are still in high school, or to help your kids with their applications. Admissions at universities both in the U.S. and abroad like to see that prospective students are exhibiting strong organizational skills, leadership and community involvement. They want students to demonstrate that they have the initiative to do something to make a difference. They want to see that you’re not afraid of the work it takes to tackle complex problems. Starting an Emiliani Project Club is a great way to send that message.

Second, you are making a difference! Our job is to help kids and your club can help us do it. Once you’re established, you’ll want to set specific goals for your new club. You’ll need a mission. We’ll work with you to find a mission that is just right.

Third, it’s just fun to surround yourself with like-minded people, working toward a common goal. It’s a great way to bring families, friends and neighbors together. It can be a great excuse for a social event. So how do you get started? Try these 10 easy steps.

Step 1. Get permission. Ask your boss, teacher or board whether there is a formal approval process for clubs at your school or organization. If there is, ask with whom you need to talk or which forms you need to have a club approved.

Step 2. Get your team. You’re going to need to form an executive team. Normally it is a good idea to at least have a President, Vice-President and a Treasurer. If you’re starting a club at your school, you may also need a parent or teacher sponsor. An executive team should be made of the most committed people in your club; individuals that want to dedicate the same amount of time and effort as you. This will be your core team for decision-making.

Step 3. Set your goals. Write down everything you want your club to accomplish. Not specific tasks, just the things that you ultimately want to accomplish. This document will be your charter. It’s something that everyone on your executive team agrees upon and agrees to support. As you bring in new club members, have them review the charter so everyone knows the goals of the club. When making decisions on club activities, ask yourself, “does this activity help accomplish our goals?” If not, it might not be the right activity, or, maybe you need to adjust the goals in your charter.

So, what are some good goals? The two biggest needs we have at The Emiliani Project are awareness and fundraising. We need to inform people about what we are doing and ultimately need to raise enough money for the construction and operation of homes to save abandoned kids. Awareness goals for your club might range from something as simple as “getting out the message” to as many people as you can, to educating people about the specifics of our operations and soliciting volunteers for our mission. Fundraising goals could range from simply starting a collection within your club membership to organizing fundraising events. Your goals should be aligned with the personalities of your club membership and the amount of time and resources you have to dedicate to them.

Step 4. Advertise. Start marketing your new club to the rest of your organization, group of friends and/or school. Make posters, signs and flyers that give a brief description of your club’s purpose and how others can join. The Emiliani Project can help by providing you sample materials and logo graphics. Distribute them on each floor or wing of your school and post them on bulletin boards. Be sure your materials are in accordance with your school policies. If you’re marketing to friends or co-workers, use Facebook and Twitter to help get out your message. You can even build a simple web page.

Step 5. Tell other people. Ask people to get involved with what you’re doing. Ask them to join your club or to refer your club to their friends. Ask people to help you spread the word, as word of mouth is the best way to get out your message.

Step 6. Talk to your members. You will need to set up a user-friendly way to communicate with your new members. Decide on a method that is easy for you to reach out to many people, but also easy for your members. You will need to have a way to communicate things such as meeting cancellations, meeting minutes, important changes or decisions, and anything that may affect your group or mission. Remember that you’ll need a way to send people documents and a way for your members to ask questions. Social media is a great way to post some information. Google offers many great tools as well. The important thing is to communicate with your membership so everyone knows what is happening and is staying engaged.

Step 7. Meet with your club. Get with your executive team and set up a regular meeting schedule. Meetings can be weekly, monthly or even quarterly depending on which frequency works best for what you are trying to accomplish. Pick meeting days and times that work well for your executive team, but also for your members. Ask your sponsor or office if they can provide a time during the school or work day, and ask them if they can provide you a space to meet. It’s best to have a meeting schedule that is on the same day, same time, and sometimes the same place for each meeting. Consistency is important so that people can plan around your meeting schedule.

Work out an itinerary before each meeting so your attendees will know what will be discussed. If need be, ask members to fill out a form stating their availability. If you need to cancel a meeting, tell the membership as soon as possible; otherwise, members may see the club as not being serious and quit attending events and meetings. Document what happens in each meeting with meeting minutes. Post or distribute the minutes so that members who can’t attend can see what was discussed. Minutes are also a great way to remember what was said and decided and which actions were assigned to which members.

Step 8. Plan your events. During your meetings, set up a schedule for your events for the year that supports your goals. The types of events you plan will be specific to your groups mission statement. e.g., if you are trying to raise money, you’ll be primarily planning fundraising events. If your club is at a school, ask your school sponsor or office for help and support in advertising and planning your events. Also ask if there are other clubs or organizations at your school that are doing similar things as your club. You may want to partner with these other clubs to plan bigger events.

When planning your events, involve your members. Don’t try to do everything yourself! Assign leadership for specific events out to your executive team. Ask them to assign specific tasks to other members. Get everyone in your organization involved. The more they are involved, the more passion they will have for reaching your club’s goals.

Here are just some ideas for awareness events:

  • Start an online campaign to see how many Facebook likes you can generate on The Emiliani Project Facebook page. This is important for us as it increases our audience. Come up with unique ways of generating interest with your membership, peers and friends like interesting photos and videos showing your support for the Emiliani kids. Challenge your members to reach out to as many people as they can.

  • Host a barbeque or mixer with your fellow students, neighbors, family and friends. Turn an awareness event into an opportunity to get together with people and talk about an interesting and charitable cause. Organize fun activities at your party like raffles, cool giveaways, dancing, or whatever draws the crowd.

  • Teach others about the importance of charitable behavior. Organize events at your church or your children’s school to educate kids about the world and their responsibilities to the people in it. Craft projects work great with younger kids, while emails/letters to Colombian orphans is a great idea for older ones.

  • Take or organize a mission trip. Got a group that wants to come to Colombia and volunteer? Great, we’re here to support. Check out our Mission Trips page on our website for more information and ideas.

Here are some ideas for fundraising events (remember, donated funds go directly to our children’s home in Medellin):

  • Host an Emiliani Project car wash with proceeds going to The Emiliani Project. Get friends and neighbors to donate the supplies.

  • Host a fundraising dinner. Invite friends over to your house for a get-together. Tell them it’s a charity potluck. Everyone brings a dish. Set funding goals and tell your guests. See if you can get the group to meet it.

  • Host a charity auction. Talk to friends who own businesses or have items they may want to donate for auction. Talk to businesses in your area and exchange products/services for advertising on your event banner and/or website. Auction volunteers to do odd jobs for people who bid. Make it a fun event.

  • Start an online fundraising campaign. Reach out to your Facebook and Twitter friends. Set a fundraising goal and see if you can get your friends to meet it.

  • Undertake a challenge and get sponsors. Are you a cyclist? Set a cycling goal for yourself and get your friends to pledge in support. You could do a long hike, take on a challenging diet, or just commit to getting straight As in school. Any challenge will work.

  • Host a sporting event or work with an existing sporting event to raise money for Emiliani. Bike races, run races, golf tournaments, anything. Big events can be complex and expensive to put together, but small events can often generate just as much in donations without the need for complicated logistics. Want to do a race? Try talking to your child’s school and see if you can use their track for a fun-run. Or, maybe use the local park for a basketball competition. Think small and easy.

These are just a few of the many ideas you might have to help raise awareness and money for The Emiliani Project. We encourage you to come up with new and fun ideas and we will support you by promoting your ideas any way we can.

Step 9. Show your stuff. Once your events are planned, execute them with excellence! When attendees and participants in your events see how well you have executed your event plans, your club will quickly gain respect and greater membership. Your school, your peers, your church, and your family will all want to get involved. Communicate your successes to your members. Show them how you have accomplished the goals you set out to accomplish in your mission statement.

Step 10. Tell us what you’re doing. Time to show your stuff to us! Keep the executive staff of The Emiliani Project informed about what you are doing and your successes. We want to show our donors and supporters what a great job you are doing to support our cause!

Starting an Emiliani Project club can be a very simple, easy and fun way to help support The Emiliani Project and our mission of saving orphaned and abandoned children. The single hardest thing about running a charity is getting people involved in the solution. When we work together to make people aware of the needs of these kids and our passion to help, the job of saving them does itself.

You should be proud of your interest in wanting to help these kids and we are proud of you. We will work to help you any way we can. Together we can save the world!