How to start a club | Royal Bank of Scotland

Starting a club

From starting up to running your club, we're here

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How to start a successful club

There are many different types of clubs – social clubs, service clubs, sports and recreation clubs. But what they all have in common is the fact that they were created to bring together people with a shared interest. This section has useful tips and suggestions for anyone who wants to know more about how to start and run a club.

Starting up, writing a constitution and developing your idea

From starting up your club, writing your constitution or developing your ideas, we've got lots of tips to help.

  • When you're thinking of a name for your club, think about your club purpose - if you’re a football club would you want FC in the name so people know straight away what you club is about? Or if you have strong links to the community, you could include your town or location into the name. Have a club name that both stands out and also clearly states what the club is about and involved with.
  • Think about how often you would like the club to meet – weekly, monthly, less than that? Think about your lifestyle now and how running a club will fit into that.
  • Many clubs and societies create a club constitution to describe how the club should operate.  You don’t have to create on but it can be a good idea to document how your club will work and other details like who can be a member, what (if any) membership fees are due, who will be involved running the club and what should happen if the club is disbanded. A more formal constitution may be required if your club is seeking grant funding. This example from British Orienteering will give you a good idea of what should be included in your constitution.
  • The best place to start for finding members for your club is with your friends and family – would they or their children be interested in joining? How about advertising in the local newspaper? How about social media? Why not create a Facebook or Twitter account for your group? Once you get things started, you’ll find that word quickly spreads and more and more people will turn up each week.
  • If your club is going to be an on going organisation receiving funds from the general public, it is likely that you will need to register as a charity with the Charity Commission (England and Wales) or OSCR (Scotland). 

Finding facilities and equipment

Our tips and ideas can help you to find a venue, sponsorship and borrow equipment.

  • Think about what activities you’ll be doing and what time of year you’ll be running. Does it need to be indoors or outdoors? Think about what facilities available close by or locally. It may be worth getting quotes from a few different venues, as this could be the main cost for your group and may impact what you are charging your members.
  • Do you need equipment? Could you borrow any from your chosen venue to save on costs?
  • Do you need sponsorship? Would a local business be interested in sponsoring your events or purchasing your kit so they can display their business name?

People, roles and responsibilities

Find out who might need to be involved in setting up your club and how to define a set of responsibilities.

  • Think about who you could rely on to assist you, close family and friends who share the same interests may be a good start. Do you know anyone who has run clubs before and will be able to share their expertise with you?
  • When setting up your club you may have created a constitution setting out who does what in your club. Most clubs will need a similar set of roles, including chairperson, treasurer and secretary at a minimum. These people are often called club-officials or officers. 
  • Each of the officials above should have a clearly defined set of responsibilities. For example, the treasurer of the club will be expected to oversee all financial activities and report to the chairperson while the secretary might take responsibility for maintaining the membership list.
  • You will also need to consider how these roles are filled – office bearers are typically elected by the membership for a set length of time. You should record the roles and process for appointing people in your club’s constitution.

Things to remember

Helpful tips on how to register your club with a governing body and how to obtain relevant checks.

  • You don’t necessarily need to register your club anywhere, but there are a number of ways that you can register your club should you choose to. Think about your club’s activities – do you think there will be a governing body e.g. football clubs registering with the FA, or guides and brownies registering with the Girl Guiding Association. If your club falls into this kind of area, it may be worth doing some research into the governing body and whether registration is required.

Finances and banking

Help with opening an account, managing your finances and getting the most out of your bank.

  • Most clubs and societies will need basic banking facilities to receive funds from their members and to pay suppliers. Many banks offer special accounts for community organisations often featuring free in-credit banking, free deposits, use of the bank’s branch network and a cheque book or debit card. These will generally offer cheaper and simple banking than business bank accounts. 
  • Decide who in your club will operate the account on a day-to-day basis. You may wish to appoint a club treasurer. The rules about who can operate the bank account and what they are allowed to do are called the Account Operating rules and are created when the bank account is first opened.

Fundraising and grants

Read our guide about how to get started with fundraising and apply for grants.

  • There are a thousand different ways to fundraise. What is your fundraising target? Are you looking at smaller, more frequent events? These will raise smaller amounts, but can be easier to organise than one larger fundraising event. However, one big event can bring in a large amount of money for your group – just take into consideration all of the preparation for the event.
  • Grants are a great way to boost your club’s income. Start with your local council – do some research on what grants they have given out before and what grants are available from them. The Government Funding Database is a really handy website which shows the types of grants on offer from your local council. The National Lottery website is a great place to get you thinking about what information you need to apply for a grant and what you will use a grant on, as this may increase the chances of a grant being successful.
  • Your bank may be able to help you too. For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland has a number of programmes that support local community organisations. Royal Bank of Scotland's RugbyForce helps rugby clubs to attract new members and get ready for the upcoming season. 
Useful links

Here are some useful sites to help with starting and running a club.

Set up a club or charity (England and Wales)
The Charity Commission  

Set up a club or charity (Scotland)
The Scottish Charity Regulator  

Advice and help with banking and fundraising
The Charities Aid Foundation  

Government Funding Database  

Information you need to apply for a grant
The National Lottery  

These links are to non-Royal Bank of Scotland websites. Royal Bank is not liable for the accuracy of the information provided on these websites. 

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