A sure fire way to build a club is to find a need and solve it. This approach has solved a need – and chartered a club – several times.
Here is a need that you can create a new club to solve:
As a group, engineers often have difficulty speaking. College students in engineering programs realize that they will have a great deal of competition for jobs when they graduate. Developing their communication skills will help them find jobs and excel in those positions. Though the students might not recognize the need for leadership development now, developing those skills will also get them promoted into management positions and this will help the profile of the university’s program.
- If possible, begin this process a couple of weeks before the beginning of a semester.
- Find two members of your district who are engineers and graduated from the same university in your district. These two are your new Club Sponsors.
- Find two more engineers to be the new Club Mentors. They don’t necessarily need to be graduates of the university in question but it helps if they are.
- If the Sponsors and Mentors are inexperienced in club building, match them with a strong club builder for support and training.
- Have the Sponsors (and possibly the Mentors) approach the career placement office of the engineering department at their alma matter. This will work better if the engineering department has their own career placement office than if the office is for all students of the university.
- Sell the club to the head of the career placement department. What sells it? Helping students do well in interviews and landing jobs. Engineering career placement centers tout their job placement success rates when they’re recruiting the students. Assure the university employees that this will help them place more students and they’ll embrace your idea.
- If you need a success story as an example, contact someone at O.C. Eagle Toastmasters club or someone from District 16 Toastmasters. O.C. Eagle is a strong college club and consistently keeps close to 100 students enrolled in the club.
- Once the career placement team is sold on the idea, set a date for the launch meeting three to four weeks in the future.
- It is very likely that the career placement team will have discretionary funds available to cover the charter fee. The university may want to pay for part or all of the membership dues. Once the students receive this as a scholarship, most will believe that the Toastmasters program should be free and might be less inclined to renew if they ever have to pay for the membership dues themselves. Try to avoid giving full dues scholarships to the students.
Weeks Three, Four, and Five
- The university will have the connections with the students to build a marketing program for the new club. Chances are that they’ll have access to directly email the engineering students and put up information in the career placement center. They may even find a couple of student champions who will become your first members and help you spread the word to students.
- If possible, ask department heads if you can present a pitch for the Toastmasters club during classes. Some universities may allow this.
- Another marketing approach is to have someone speak at the various departmental society meetings (Association of Computing Machinery, Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, Society of Petroleum Engineers, etc.) This is especially effective if the person speaking to the society was once a member of that society.
- Gather the members you need for the demonstration. As much as possible, recruit engineers and technical people from the members of your district. These members will be role models and career connections for the new members.
- Show up to the launch meeting with your new club launch kit and be ready to deliver a great demonstration.
- As part of the launch meeting, have testimonials from engineers. Hiring managers from engineering firms, if any are members of your district, can be especially effective in delivering the need for Toastmasters.
- Finally, sign up your new charter members and send in the paperwork.