Articles in Category: Clubs

Clubs

Your Club as a Business


A marketing campaign - means to move forward (Part 1)

Many groups have discussed or been involved in efforts to generate a "marketing" campaign.

I would like to lay out a process where non-profit recreation groups can change their current strategy (or on-going efforts) in order to become more effective.

Marketing is getting your name/logo recognized in a broad segment of the market. As such, a successful campaign attains name recognition outside their field. The entire marketing aspect encompasses two different aspects: individual members and businesses. That requires a two prong marketing strategy. One geared to individual members and another geared to supporting business members.

Okay, so what? You already have that. But, are you effective?

A lot of time is spent on individual membership issues and I will not dwell on that effort as that requires a different marketing approach. However, it is a critical component of a successful marketing campaign.

My focus will be on the supporting business membership aspects.

For the sake of a starting point, let us say that Organization Broken Winch intends to increase name recognition as a major advocate for recreation. A measure of knowing that they are succeeding is they attain name recognition outside the traditional 4x4/OHV community.


 

A marketing campaign - means to move forward (Part 2)

Many groups have discussed or been involved in efforts to generate a "marketing" campaign.  From that perspective, you need to address two market segments: traditional partners and non-traditional partners. A marketing campaign - means to move forward (Part 1), the “traditional” partners were covered.

A marketing campaign - means to move forward (Part 2), covers the concept of "non-traditional" partners as potential supporting business membership. Non-traditional partners is a more difficult segment to identify.

For a definition of "traditional partner", included are the manufactures and suppliers of the aftermarket products purchased for use with motorized vehicles, including tow rigs (trucks/RVs) and trailers as well as the 4x4 vehicles driven on the trail. In other words, if a product is used as direct support for recreation activity on the trail, it is a traditional partner.

Bi-Partisan Political Activity - A Primer

Whether your club focus is social interaction or working to save your favorite wheeling area, members are what make it possible. It starts with membership in a local club centering on a shared goal. Soon, you find that others share common concerns about their area of interest and you begin sharing information. You have started "networking", the basic building block of a creating a coalition. Soon, you will find yourself in position to engage in political activity; either by contacting you elected representative to talk about an issue of concern or to endorse a bill.

Wheelers are interested in recreation and have spent many hours learning how to drive and fix their rig. While the mechanical skills have been honed, the political skills have been ignored.

Networking - Building a Coalition

Whether your club focus is social interaction or working to save your favorite wheeling area, members are what make it possible. It starts with membership in a local club centering on a shared goal. Soon, you find that others share common concerns about their area of interest and you begin sharing information. You have started "networking", the basic building block of a creating a coalition.

Networks, or coalitions, are devoted to increasing participation by people sharing similar views on issues they face. If you want to have an impact on these issues at any level, local, state or national, answering the questions listed below will help you to achieve your goal. You can do this as a citizen, as a member of a club, as an employee in a business, or as a member of a trade or professional group. The starting point is less important than your willingness to reach out to find and accept others who share your goals and objectives.

Networking - Working with Coalitions

Coalitions, or networks, are bound together by a common interest. Coalitions range in size from a handful of people to a large number of organizations involving many people. Each group is a distinct organization. As a coalition, they are concerned with a focused mission such as blocking proposed legislation threatening their common interest. Both can work independent of other groups or in collaboration with groups which share the same or similar interests.

Coalitions have the potential to be far more powerful and more skilled than any single organization acting alone. Coalitions bring groups with diverse interests together on a common interest. Their strength lies in the diversity. As the geographical size and complexity of an issue increases, the need to form a coalition increases.


Your Club as a Business - 501(c)(3) Incorporation

IRS Tax Code Section 501(c)(3) is just one of the tax law provisions granting exemption from the federal income tax to non-profit organizations. This exemption does not cover other federal taxes such as employment taxes.

501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others. Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable in order to be allowed (e.g., receipts for donations over $250).

Your Club as a Business - 501(c)(7) Incorporation

A section 501(c)(7) organization is permitted to receive up to 35% of its gross receipts, including investment income, from outside of its membership without losing its tax-exempt status.

The existence of private inurement can operate to deprive a social club of its exempt status. The general test is whether the club generates revenue from non-members, the use of which is rebounding to the personal advantage of the members (such as reduced dues, improved facilities, and the like).  In other words, the organization is for the benefit of members, not single individual.

Your Club as a Business - Incorporation Comparision

In the article "Your Club as a Business – Legal Status", incorporation options were outlined for incorporating your club as a formal organization complete with articles of incorporation, by-laws, and officers.  In general, for clubs there are two avenues recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as legal structures:  501(c)(3) non-profit organization and 501(c)(7) recreational club organization.  The choice depends on the underlying reason you have formed your club; each has advantages and disadvantages.

The below table outlines the general requirements for 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), and 501(c)(7) incorporation options.

Your Club as a Business - Other Incorporation Options

There are a number of "tax-exempt" or non-profit incorporation options, each addressing specific organization needs and functions.  Two of the more common types are 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) organizations.

501(c)(4) exemptions are given to civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.[5] 501(c)(4) organizations differ from 501(c)(3) in that they are permitted to lobby for legislation.

Your Club as a Business – a 7 Step Guide

Your Club as a Business – a 7 Step Guide

So, you and a few wheeling buddies decide to create a name and a club is born.  Starting a club is easy.  Survival of the club is hard.  What starts with shared values and vision does change over time.  Your desire for the camaraderie and social life of a club needs to be tempered with the reality that you are really starting a small business.   This is especially true if your club is an established club that hosts an annual event.  You are involved in a small business enterprise.  There are steps you can take to make your business (club) as success.

1.    Start with a plan.  A plan forces you to clarify your goals and how much money (time) you are willing to commit.  Determine how you will allocate your time.  Time is money and it is the most important asset you can invest.  A plan helps you make a wise investment.

2.    Talk to other clubs.  Others have taken the steps you are about to take.  Visit a few clubs and see how they operate.  What officers do they have?  Are they incorporated?  What rules do they have?  Seeing how other clubs operate can help you avoid many mistakes.

Your Club as a Business – Legal Status

Forming a club is more than just meeting and having a good time.  Expenses are involved and dues are assessed to cover the expenses.  Do you use your personal bank account?  Do you set up a club account?  The answer to these questions involves personal and tax liability consequences.  In general, if you wish to open a bank account in the name of an organization, the bank will require some form of documentation the account is for a legitimate organization.  Also, if your organization is focused on supporting your favorite wheeling area, the land management agency will require you to sign volunteer agreements and other documents - some of which require the signature of an officer of the organization.  It is good practice to establish legal basis for your club and limit your personal liability. 

This leads to incorporating your club as a formal organization complete with articles of incorporation, by-laws, and officers.  In general, for clubs there are two avenues recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as legal structures:  501(c)(3) non-profit organization and 501(c)(7) recreational club organization.  The choice depends on the underlying reason you have formed your club; each has advantages and disadvantages.

Your Club as a Business – Management

You start with an idea.  You develop the idea into reality.  Circumstances change.  Can you change to meet the new challenges?  Are you willing to change?  Management is adapting to change.  Planning aids the task of management; adapting to change.  So, what is 'management'?

Management is making people more effective than they would have been without you and involves planning, organizing, directing, and monitoring.  Management is changing your vision into reality.

Planning.  Management starts with planning. Good management starts with good planning.  So, what is a “plan”?  A plan is intentional; a method of doing something that is worked out in detail before it is begun.  A plan is a detailed list of steps to be done.  A plan starts with a vision, or mission statement, of what is to be accomplished. A plan forces you to clarify your goals and how much money (time) you are willing to commit.  A plan will help determine how you will allocate your time.  Time is money and it is the most important asset you can invest.  A plan helps you make a wise investment.

Your Club as a Business – Start with a Plan

Your Club as a Business – Start with a Plan

The casual conversation has produced an idea.  Now, how do you turn the idea from an abstract thought into reality?  What is it you want to accomplish?  What is it you need to accomplish?  All good ideas happen when they have a solid plan to support them.

So, what is a “plan”?  A plan is intentional; a method of doing something that is worked out in detail before it is begun.  A plan is a detailed list of steps to be done.  A plan starts with a vision, or mission statement, of what is to be accomplished. A plan forces you to clarify your goals and how much money (time) you are willing to commit.  Determine how you will allocate your time.  Time is money and it is the most important asset you can invest.  A plan helps you make a wise investment.

Your idea starts with shared values and vision.  Whether your desire is for the camaraderie and social life of a club or grassroots activism to support your wheeling area, it should address certain factors.

Your Club as a Business – Strategic Planning

Your Club as a Business – Strategic Planning

Management is adapting to change.  Planning aids the task of management; adapting to change.  Strategic planning is the process of defining the organization's mission, vision, and values.  Together, they provide an outline to guide the organization.  The mission gives day-to-day relevance for the organization.  The vision inspires beyond what may seem possible.  And, the core values bind together the members of the organization by defining values that all hold dear.

A quick internet search for "strategic planning" yields many books and articles describing how to do strategic planning.  A plan is intentional; a method of doing something that is worked out in detail before it is begun.  A plan is a detailed list of steps to be done.  A plan starts with a vision, or mission statement, of what is to be accomplished.  A plan forces you to clarify your goals and how much money (time) you are willing to commit.  A plan determines how you will allocate your time.  Time is money and it is the most important asset you can invest.  A plan helps you make a wise investment.

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