How to form a society!
It has been a whirlwind of a month. I wanted to focus my attention on the new society that has opened up in Brighton: Youth Stop Aids.
For those who are familiar with my blog, I have been working with YSA for a while now and decided it was time to take the leap and start my own society at University. Not the easiest of options as you can imagine, with a week, packed schedule of 32 hours work, full-time university and a home to care for, it was definitely a challenge. With the help of James Cole, Restless Development officer, I managed to format a plan of how I was going to start this. And through this, I thought it'd be good to share a few tips on how to set up a society:
A society can only be successful if it opens up that way. The best way to start my new society was to join one of the biggest students Freshers Fair, in Sussex. Taking place at AMEX stadium, it was the perfect location to pitch up a table and raise awareness.
2) DRAW THEM IN!
I thought of doing a 'Guess how many *** in a jar' to attract people to the stall. By offering something that will keep them there for longer, you can draw them in with information on the society and sign them up.
I did a Guess How Many Condoms, which was a huge success with over 4 pages of names. These names and emails I then sent information about the society. I called up various places to get a prize, and The Old Ship Hotel offered me an afternoon tea voucher as a prize from the condom game. Like I said, it is a great initiative to get people to come to your stall, I highly recommend it.
3) OFFER ADDITIONAL ITEMS
Your stall has to look professional. Fortunately for myself, YSA provided a tonne of great material, including posters, information packs, condoms, stickers, pens, and badges. All these items drew people in and started asking questions on the society.
4) BE CONFIDENT
The best way to attract people to your stall is to be as knowledgeable and confident as you can. By doing so, it relays confidence to the prospective consumer into wanting to sign up. Make it fun and have a chat, you're all humans at the end of the day.
5) FOLLOW UP
At the end of the day, or a couple days later, you must make sure you are being as annoying as possible. Repeated emails and reminders will set in people's mind, and they are more likely to remember you this way!
No society can go with an event, this could be as simple as a pub social or create a whole weekend. For YSA they are hosting a Big Weekend to teach all societies and those who are interested all about YSA. It is fantastic as it teaches students on YSA and what is happening in our current political standing in the UK. Events are a great way to attract students and get them more involved.
Try to set weekly meetings with agendas, this may be a slow start, but consistency is key to a productive society. Even if your meetings are casual, it is still an opportunity to attract more students and show how professional your society is.
By following these steps you can create a good guideline of where your society wants to go. YSA is the first society I have ever been a part of, let alone run as President. I am hoping to use these tricks to further my society and leave a legacy when I leave university.
The Big Weekend is on the 21st-22nd October, shortly after will be a report on what I learnt there!
Until next time,