The backbone of any successful electric vehicle club is its team–a group of passionate individuals dedicated to positively impacting your campus and beyond.
To kickstart your club, you’ll need a core group of 3-5 dedicated members who will set the tone and welcome newcomers. Look for individuals who share your passion for electric vehicles; they could be friends or classmates eager to make a difference. Attracting students to join your club may initially pose a challenge, but it will become easier as your club gains momentum.
Once you’ve established a solid foundation, it’s time to raise more awareness about your club. Promoting a brand-new club across your campus may feel daunting, but have confidence in your vision and you will be able to develop an impressive student organization. When speaking to potential members, highlight some benefits or unique opportunities students can gain by joining the electric vehicle club. For instance, they can learn about cutting-edge EV technology, contribute to sustainability efforts, network with like-minded individuals, or learn about career opportunities and industry needs.
Diversifying your recruitment strategies is crucial. Only by effectively using in-person and digital recruiting strategies will you be able to grow your club. While often requiring more effort than posting on social media, In-person methods are often the most effective way to recruit new members. However, before you start calling in students, some critical details must be included: What is your club? What do you do and how do you do it? You must clarify what activities new members will perform and their respective outcomes. While some students may be enticed by the industry itself, many students will need to know exactly what they are signing up for. Once you are clear on expectations, you can begin spreading the word across campus. Typical approaches to recruiting include:
- Posters and Flyers A classic example of recruiting, posters and flyers are a tried and true approach to growing awareness of your club. Use unique content and location to get the most out of your physical content. There are thousands of posters across college campuses; you will have to break the mold to stand out. In your content, use shapes and images that are attention-grabbing and exciting. Be creative with where you put up your posters. High-traffic areas are ideal, but avoid pinboards overflowing with other posters. Find new locations where it can stand out on its own. Table tops are a great option, keep in mind that posters on tables are often thrown away after a couple of days, so always put posters out early in the day, ensuring as many students see them as possible.
- Tabling at Events While many universities have student life days or other events specifically for student clubs to connect with the school, you will have to go above and beyond to grow. Consider tabling at other events, including sports games, concerts, fairs, or any other occasion with good attendance. If no events occur at your recruiting time, set up a table in a high-traffic area at the busiest time of day. Setting up shop on a random corner or sidewalk may feel odd, but be assured, this is an incredible way to meet new members. Having a bowl of candy or another small free item will significantly increase your engagement, sure some students may only speak to you for the snack, but with every student you talk to, you are building recognition of your club. Always have handouts or QR codes for additional information and the next steps for joining.
- Classroom Announcements Short presentations to classes are a great way to target the specific types of students you are looking for. When asking a professor to make an announcement in their class, it is best to ask in person, as it shows effort and assures the professor that you will be using their time effectively. Keep announcements short and to the point. Always leave a website, link, or social media handle for students to engage with. Handles can be written on a whiteboard or handed around as a flyer. It is often best not to allow questions at that time and instead point students to additional information through your provided media.
- Residence Halls School dormitories are great locations to promote your club. While putting up posters and flyers inside of dorms is useful, it is the existing network within residence halls that is most valuable to your cause. Many dorms have regular mandatory hall meetings and newsletters that reach all their residents. Do your best to access these opportunities by contacting RAs and Resident Hall Directors.
- Related Groups A great way to find students likely to be interested in your club can be found in existing clubs or groups with a similar focus. These groups can include environmental groups, engineering groups, sustainability groups, and more. The best way to approach these groups is to attend their meetings. In this way, you will not only be able to share your club in person, but you will also learn from the structure and organization of another club. It is essential to remember that many students already engaged in clubs may already have full schedules. Regardless, sharing your club with like-minded individuals is invaluable as they will likely pass along the information. Maintain contact with these clubs as you may wish to collaborate with them in the future.
Creating a digital path. You must have a central digital location that all of your recruiting material leads to. When interested students find a flyer or poster, they should be able to navigate to your organization’s main web page easily. Whether this is a page on a social media platform or its own website does not matter. On this page, you will provide details on engaging with the club, including a sign-up form, leadership contact information, or a new member meeting location and date. Whatever method you choose should be prominently displayed on your main page and easy to navigate. Make the application process as accessible and welcoming as possible. After putting in all the effort to build interest with students, the last thing you want is for students to be discouraged by a confusing digital footprint.
By employing various messaging strategies and mediums of communication, you increase the likelihood of attracting students from multiple majors, ages, and backgrounds. For guidance and examples of effective recruiting materials, please visit this page (Recruiting).
While your club grows, it is crucial to effectively delegate roles and responsibilities to new members. Avoid the temptation to run the whole show by yourself. In the long run, it’s better to let others make mistakes and learn rather than burning yourself out trying to accomplish everything. Given that your club is brand-new, conducting effective leadership elections might be challenging initially. Personally delegating roles can serve as a temporary solution until a more robust democratic process is established. Relying on the leadership of a single person can work for quick decision-making initially but is not sustainable and, if not addressed, could eventually collapse the club. For the club’s long-term viability, responsibilities and authority must be distributed among members to ensure they gain the necessary skills and training to maintain the organization even after the founding president graduates.
Choosing an effective club structure can be tricky, and it will often depend on your individual club’s specific goals and usual activities. However, certain roles are fundamental regardless of the particular leadership structure. These roles include:
- President The President plays a central role in leading the club’s strategic vision and maintaining an effective working culture. They should have a bird’s-eye view of the entire club and ensure that each part is functioning effectively. Additionally, the President often serves as the point of contact between the club and the university, as well as other external businesses or organizations.
- Business Manager The Business Manager is responsible for all club financial transactions. It is vital to maintain accurate financial records from the outset. Without careful oversight, transactions can be lost in communication, leading to discrepancies.
- Director of Marketing Marketing plays a key role in the club’s success. The Director of Marketing is tasked with maintaining a consistent and clear image of the club. Producing professional and engaging materials is essential when publicly advocating for the club’s cause. Creating a recognizable style with specific colors and fonts can be beneficial.
- Director of Safety Prioritizing safety is essential, particularly when working with any type of tool. Even a single injury can instantly shut down the club. The Director of Safety monitors all potential health hazards and implements preventive measures when necessary. Additionally, as EVs gain momentum and popularity, some detractors have created myths regarding their safety. A dedicated Director of Safety can ensure accurate information and protocols, help educate students on EV safety, and dispel any misinformed fears.
Cultivating positive relationships with the faculty at your university is an invaluable asset for your electric vehicle club. Faculty advisors can provide valuable assistance with networking, club management, and offer useful advice based on their expertise. Before approaching a potential advisor, check if your university has any specific requirements or guidelines for this role.
When seeking an advisor, it’s essential to determine the level of involvement you expect from them within the club. Some advisors may prefer active participation, attending every meeting, and being deeply involved in club activities. Others may opt for a more hands-off approach, providing guidance and support as needed. Regardless of the level of involvement, finding an advisor with whom you can develop a solid and trusting relationship is vital to the club’s success.
Many faculty enjoy engaging with proactive students and are often eager to offer support and mentorship. Initiating contact can be as simple as sending an introductory email or stopping by their office during office hours. This initial outreach lays the foundation for building a positive and fruitful relationship with a potential advisor. During your search, keep an eye out for faculty who drive an EV, as they may be a great place to start.
Remember that faculty advisors can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your club, and their support can significantly contribute to the club’s growth and impact on campus. Don’t hesitate to seek their guidance and expertise as you continue to develop your electric vehicle club.