A good way to entice people to come to your initial planning meeting is to schedule it with a coinciding social activity or run. Remember that your meeting should be at a convenient place and time for attendees. A practical place might be an office conference room, at a local high school, a recreation center, or somebody’s house, etc.
Make sure to do these things at your initial planning meeting:
- Develop a clear agenda for the planning meeting with a meeting leader. Assign someone that is not the meeting leader to take notes and or record the meeting. Collect names and contact information from attendees.
- Establish your purpose Discuss the purpose of the club and the general types of activities and/or events the club will engage in. These include group runs, training programs, races and social gatherings.
- Decide on a club name. Determine some branding strategies for your club such as a logo and other important items needed to indentify and promote your club.
- Form a Board of Directors. Elect officers who are willing to dedicate time and hard work to develop the club. The minimum possible number of elected officers is usually three, but this requirement varies by state. The RRCA requires three and recommends up to nine board members on a board of directors and a majority of those members cannot be related parties. We also recommend a slate of offices that includes the president or chair, a treasurer and a secretary, at minimum.
- Approve a set of bylaws. Come to the meeting prepared with a draft set of bylaws for the club. New clubs are encouraged to use the RRCA’s sample running club bylaws as a template for creating their own bylaws. The bylaws should include voting requirements for club decisions, including elections. Revise the bylaws as needed based on feedback at the meeting and approve them or table approval for a second meeting as needed.
- Establish your corporate status. The club will need to determine if it will be a nonprofit organization and get its nonprofit designation from the IRS or through the RRCA’s group exemption with the IRS. New members are highly encouraged to utilize the RRCA group exemption benefit of membership. Some clubs elect to organize as an LLC and are not eligible for nonprofit status. Theses clubs are considered for-profit entities. Some clubs start out as unincorporated associations, which is when two or more persons are joined by mutual consent for a common lawful purpose, whether organized for profit or not. If the purpose for the association is to benefit the public some way, and does not include earning a profit, the association’s members have formed an unincorporated nonprofit association. The biggest drawback to the unincorporated nonprofit association is that it has no legal existence, therefore its members generally can be personally liable for its debts and liabilities.
- Incorporate your club in your state. Incorporation is optional and requirements vary by state to state. The RRCA highly recommends that you incorporate your running club in order to protect your board of directors from personal liabilities and any debt incurred by the organization.
- Establish a budget. Outline your expenses along with your sources of income:
- Expenses may include: RRCA dues, insurance, promotional materials, website or e-communications, logo creation, post-run snacks, club clothing, and more.
- Income/Membership Dues: Establish your club’s annual dues for club membership. The cost of membership will vary based on location, type of membership, events offered/included for members and the budget of the club. Most clubs set their annual dues between $20-$35 for regular individual memberships. Some clubs with very robust training programs or specialized coaching programs may charge higher fees or charge monthly dues.
- Establish a schedule for group runs along with management meetings and social gatherings