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    Thread: Tips on starting a new Inverts Club...

    1. #1
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      Tips on starting a new Inverts Club...

      So JoeCanada and I have been talking for a few years now about starting an inverts club between our two cities. Orginally, the issue was getting enough people interested.

      I think I have enough people to round up to start something, and have even had someone offer to help organize this.

      All that being said, I thought this would be a good place to start a thread about starting invert clubs.

      Those of you who are part of one, and/ or have organized one, what process would you recommend we go through to do this, and what tips and pointers would you give?

      Thanks.

      Last edited by ManlyMan7; 12-16-2013 at 02:14 PM.

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      Originally Posted by ManlyMan7

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      Originally Posted by crawltech
      Toss the male in, take him out of the water dish in bolus form the next day.

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    2. #2
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      Get the name out there, put group info anywhere that it'll be seen locally, esp online, pet shops etc. Rotate meetup between group members houses by voluntary basis.

      Say it's a potluck, what's available food/drink wise and invite others to bring anything they want.
      Same goes for critters (within reason for meet location) or cool gear/supplies.
      Don't pressure people and keep it fun - a nice gathering to chat about what you like, socialise and see eachothers collections.
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    3. #3
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      Thanks Beth! I almost wrote you a PM on this, then I realized this would be a great thread topic for others.

      I really enjoyed the Minnverts meeting at advan's place a year and a half ago, and would love to see that happen here!


      Is there any need to consider working a charter? Are there invert clubs advertized here that have a charter? Are there other aspects of organizing it that I need to be privy too?

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      Originally Posted by ManlyMan7

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      Originally Posted by crawltech
      Toss the male in, take him out of the water dish in bolus form the next day.

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    4. #4
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      Basically keep a couple people really backing it - they must keep everyone in the loop (general group or forum - like a yahoo groups things works well for this). They must keep at everyone to coordinate meetup dates and times. The hardest part here imho is getting a consenus on best day each month or so for everyone to meet. The second hardest part to it is where people will meet. Generaly the person who volunteers their place gives the best dates that work for them and everyone works around that date. As far as actual content of the meet - that tends to happen naturally. It may be a bit awkward at first for new people but get them chatting about their critters and it quickly becomes quite an easy / fun atmosphere. The basics - a place / some drinks and snacky food / critters - even a tiny collection is all that is needed - tell people potluck and keep meeting up on a mostly regular basis. Keep an active online group with active posts and it will grow naturally as members invite friends or as people find the group online and gets interested.
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    6. #5
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      This is such a neat idea! I wish there were groups around me! Or maybe there are, and I just don't know about them? I wish you the best of luck on this endeavor!

    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Gracerain View Post
      This is such a neat idea! I wish there were groups around me! Or maybe there are, and I just don't know about them? I wish you the best of luck on this endeavor!
      There are many groups, even listed on this forum, so it isn't my idea. Unless you are referring to the thread as to how to start one.

      Be an initiator and start one yourself! Find out who in your area would be interested in starting one.

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      Originally Posted by ManlyMan7

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      Originally Posted by crawltech
      Toss the male in, take him out of the water dish in bolus form the next day.

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    8. #7
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      Both, actually! I will look to see if there are any near me, and then I might consider starting one. It sounds like so much fun!

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      I've started two successful clubs. The Nebraska Tarantula Enthusiasts Club and the Florida Panhandle Invertebrate Club. I tried to start a club in Missouri, but never found enough people locally to get it going.

      I created this "how to" a while ago, and will repost, since you asked.

      Step 1: Get Motivated

      The thing you must have in order to pull off a successful club is to have to motivation to start the process and to see it through. Most clubs start of pretty slow, especially if you do not live in a big city. You need to be motivated to continue even if it takes a few months to find folks in your area. You need to have the desire to continue when nobody shows up to a monthly meeting. If you stick it out, and have the desire to succeed the members will come (eventually) and you will have a successful club. You don't have to be well-versed in tarantulas to start the process; you just need to try to bring people together. People with more experience than you will find you and they can help out.


      Step 2: Have a plan

      In the beginning youíll want to brainstorm a bit. Figure out why you want to start a group and what you hope to get out of it. Plan on what youíre going to do if nobody contacts you for several months, or what youíll do if you get 20 responses in the first week. Figure out where youíre going to meet. Think of some ideas of topics to discuss at your meetings. What will you call your group? Do you want a logo? Many of these things donít have to be worked out ahead of time and can be figured out dynamically with the group but it is good to be thinking about them ahead of time.


      Step 3: Get the word out

      This is the most important part of starting a club. People cannot find you if you donít put forth a little bit of effort to let them know you exist. There are many things you can do to publicize your group and most cost nothing but a little bit of your time, and maybe a few sheets of paper.

      If you are reading this then you know all about the internet and message boards. These are great avenues to get the word out. Post your new clubís info on as many tarantula forums as you can find.

      Another great tool, that I have found to be absolutely beneficial, is to have a website. When you have a website people can randomly find you when they are searching for info on tarantulas. It can be as simple as a page that lists your contact info and where your club meets, or it can be as complex as your skills allow. One very beneficial tool is to have a site that has its own forum. This is a great way to communicate with your local members and discuss/plan future events. Facebook groups are a popular method of communicating with club members now.

      Another great idea that a few people have done is to make a video of you talking about your obsession with tarantulas and your new group and then post it on YouTube. Have fun with it and make a small movie. You could have the next great viral video!

      Now the one drawback to the internet is a lot of folks either arenít on the internet, or donít use it for getting info on their tarantulas like most of us do. They also aren't actively looking for you, so you need to go out and find them. This is where a little bit of printer paper and some footwork come in. Create a flyer, something that will attract attention. Get pictures of bright, colorful spiders (get permission first if they aren't your own) to put on your flyer and add your pertinent contact info (meeting time/location, your email, web address, etc.). Post them (get permission first) wherever you think tarantula people might see them. Good places to start include pet stores, community bulletin boards, public libraries, local colleges/high schools, tattoo shops (yeah itís a stereotype, but it works), book stores, coffee shops, music stores, grocery stores, churches, and barbershops. Get creative and find other places. Hang out at pet stores and talk to people there. When you see folks buying crickets, ask them what they are feeding. If they say spiders, youíre golden. If not, tell them that you have spiders and see if it sparks an interest. It is also helpful if you can make up a business card with your contact info. Hand them out to anyone you meet who might be interested or leave a stack of them on the pet store counter for people to take.

      If you want to go a step further and have a little bit of money to use you could take out an ad in a local newspaper, college newspaper, or alternative newsweekly paper. The sky is the limit when it comes to advertising your new group. Just be creative and the people will find you.

      Another great avenue for finding members is to set up an information table at a local reptile show. Many people go to reptile shows to buy tarantulas so the chance of meeting new members is pretty high. Most large cities have at least one reptile show per year and many have a monthly show. Contact the showís organizers and see if they will donate table space to you. Usually table space is purchased, but since you are a local group and not selling anything they may just give it to you. While there you can hand out flyers, business cards, club/tarantula information, and caresheets. Have a signup sheet so you can get peopleís contact info, and then you can follow up with them later. While there, see if you can hook up with any local tarantula breeder/dealers or any reptile people who have a large number of tarantulas for sale. You could help each otherís business through referrals.

      My last great method for getting the word out is to contact your local newspaper or television station and see if they want to do an interview with you or a story about your group. This might be particularly interesting to them around Halloween. This is something to look into once youíve been established for a little bit and have at least a few regular members.

      Step 4: Find a place to meet

      Most groups start out very informally, just a couple people meeting at someoneís house discussing spiders and showing off their collection. Maybe the meeting location rotates to a different memberís house every time. Eventually youíre going to want to find a permanent place to hold meetings, either because you have too many members to fit in your living room comfortably or you just need something more centrally located to ease everyoneís travel. Pet stores are a good place, especially if they have some sort of meeting area already established. Other places to consider are schools, libraries, community centers, or churches. Just make sure they are OK with you bringing in live animals. If you live near a college see if they have a zoology or agriculture department, if so you can try to track down some entomology students/professors to help find members or a place to meet.


      Step 5: Figure out what to do

      Discuss with your members to find out what they want to get out of the group. Every groupís dynamic will be different based on their member composition and that will change as the group grows. Figure out some general topics to discuss at meetings such as show and tell (happens every meeting), tarantula anatomy, life history, geographic differences, different types of housing (arboreal, terrestrial, burrower), how to sex tarantulas, and breeding demonstrations. Everyoneís experience level will be different and everyone will have something they can share with the group. Pick a few ďhot topicsĒ from the internet message boards and discuss them. Research and create a knowledge quiz, crossword puzzle, or word find and keep them handy in case the conversation gets stale or as an ice breaker. When I first started a group we had very little planned yet we were never short of things to talk about. Breeding sessions are always fun. It gives folks a chance to see something they might not get to see based on their experience level. Also groups like this allow great networking for finding males for breeding projects and when people share spiderlings from their breeding projects it helps to build peopleís collections and a sense of community within the group.


      Step 6: Donít get discouraged

      Membership numbers will likely be disappointing at first, and gaining new members is very challenging. If you're near a big city it might be easier. It doesnít matter if you have 2 people or 20 people show up, as long as everyone is happy and enjoying it, then the meeting is a success. If things are slow at first (expect them to be) donít get down on yourself and just try to make them better next time.


      Step 7: Have fun

      Thatís why you started the group in the first place, isnít it?
      -KJ

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