BlogEvents 20 Club Event Ideas To DELIGHT Your Members! (+ Planning in 8 Steps) Events 20 Club Event Ideas To DELIGHT Your Members! (+ Planning in 8 Steps) Author: Sonia Urlando January 31, 2023 Contents 🕑 13 min read Want your members to fall back in love with your club? Then it’s time to start brainstorming the best club event ideas for your organization! There are TONS of options out there, so we’ve made things simple for you. Here’s a list of our 20 favorite club event ideas, broken down by: Cost to run Complexity to plan Expected return on investment If you’ve never run an event before, we’ve also broken down club event planning in 8 simple steps. Read on, and you’ll have your next event worked out in no time! How Do I Brainstorm Club Event Ideas? Scratching your head about how to brainstorm club event ideas? Here are 4 easy ways to get the gears turning. Track What’s Been Successful If you’ve hosted an event for your club in the past, review how it went! Take a look at: The numbers. How many attendees showed up? How many new members joined? How’d the money shake out? The response. Are people still talking about your event? What did your post-event feedback surveys say? Your best data comes from reviewing your previous wins! Brainstorm With A Team When it comes to brainstorming ideas for club events, the more perspectives the merrier! Everyone has different backgrounds, interests and experiences. Create an opportunity for people to share their ideas, and chances are you’ll discover all sorts of new possibilities. Keep An Eye On Competitors How are similar organizations running their club events? If you’re seeing pictures of an event sweeping social media, your competitors might be onto something. Drawing inspiration isn’t “stealing an idea”—but do be sure you brand and advertise your event so it’s extra relevant to YOUR club. Survey Your Members It sounds simple, but seriously: just ask people what they want. After all, the event is designed for their enjoyment! Sending out a member satisfaction survey shows people that you care about what they think, and following through builds trust and community. 8 Steps To Planning A Great Event For Club Members Turning your social club event ideas into reality doesn’t have to be difficult! Here’s how to get started in 8 simple steps. 1. Build your team The first step in any project is to gather the dream team! Bring together a healthy combination of “ideas guys” and more logistics-minded planners. Both of these perspectives will help your event be exciting and low-stress. 2. Use the right tools As you plan, determine which tools you need to get started. For example, do you want to invest in a mobile event app? You’re going to need to think about things like registration, payment processing, communications and more. If you’re uncertain about which club event software might be helpful, we’ve got a list just below! 3. Create (and track) a budget Don’t get so swept up in excitement that you forget to look at the numbers! Creating a budget good and early gives you some helpful constraints to work within. Plus, it hugely reduces the chance of coming out of your event at a loss. 4. Map out your timeline Identify each of the steps you need to be set up for success. Then, get an idea of how long each of those steps will take. From there you can map out a timeline of tasks and delegate everything out to your team. Be sure to schedule check-in meetings into that timeline. Tracking your progress is just as important as tracking your spending! 5. Know your audience Knowing your target audience influences tons of your choices. Connecting with your members through relevant branding, voice, communication channels and more is how you get high event turnout. For example, if your club mostly serves seniors, you’re probably not going to reach too many people through Instagram! 6. Set a clear goal So what’s the point of this event? Are you looking to shine some publicity on your club? Fundraise? Bring in new members? The first step to achieving your goal is clearly identifying it. As you explore different ideas for club events, you can always stop and ask yourself whether the plan is bringing you closer to your goal. 7. Plan your marketing strategy If you want members to attend your event, you’re going to have to market it! Whether your club has big money to invest or is trying to get publicity on a budget, there are plenty of ways to get the word out. Build a set marketing plan, and don’t be afraid to be flexible if you find you aren’t getting the results you hoped for. 8. Show impact You know what you want your event to do for your organization—now consider what it can do for your community. Give members clear reasons to show up, and celebrate what their presence does for the future of your club. Club Event Planning Checklist Wish you had all the organization of an event planner? Great news! We have a complete event planning checklist, available in Word, Excel and PDF format. This checklist includes: The 10 steps for planning an event What to include in a checklist, broken down by timeline How to follow-up when your event is over How to analyze your event success The best event registration software to use What Software Do I Need? All of your club event ideas would benefit from the support of specialized software. Here are a few tools that can help you out: Event Management Software lets you manage staff and volunteers, organize your budget, explore online and hybrid options, manage RSVPs and more. Member Management Software (MMS) supports data collection, automated communication with members, payment processing, reporting and more. (Did you know WildApricot was rated the #1 MMS 6 years in a row?) Communications tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Slack and more keep you in touch with both your members and your staff behind the scenes. Social media tools like Hootsuite help you schedule social media posts for your marketing campaign. Website tools like specialized widgets (event calendars, registration forms, etc.) offer the specific features you need to manage your club event. Virtual vs. In Person Club Events Ah, the big question. When it comes to social club event ideas, do you go virtual or in-person? There are benefits to both! Virtual events: Reach a broader audience Are more accessible to some disabled attendees Are cheaper to run Require less staffing In-person events: Build local community Greater media opportunities Easier for sports clubs Increased engagement For some events, going hybrid is also an option—it just might require some extra creativity. If you have the funds, look into hiring an accessibility consultant for support. 20 Unique Club Event Ideas Now that you know what it takes to run a club event, here are 20 unique event ideas for all sorts of clubs: Bonding Events for Members When your members get to know each other, they have an extra reason to show up to your events. If your primary goal is to build connection and community, these five social club event ideas are great options. Board Game Event Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: ⭐ Expected Return: $ Running a board game event is as simple as picking a location and bringing in some games. For an in-person event, look around for any board game cafes in your area. The owners will provide the games for you (plus have food available!) so all you’ll have to do is market. If you want to go virtual, you could always host a Jackbox games event as well! Trivia Night Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ Trivia nights let you quiz peoples’ knowledge in a fun and competitive setting! You can either make your own trivia around your club’s topic (books, sports facts, university history, etc.), or save time by looking up generic questions. If you’re holding an in-person event, consider partnering with a local pub. Trivia nights are also super easy for a virtual approach—there are plenty of tools specifically designed for it! Scavenger Hunt Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ Scavenger events are great for people of all ages! If the weather is right, you can hold one outdoors in an exciting location. And if it’s a little dreary (or you’re going for a virtual approach), people can have an at-home scavenger hunt and present their findings over Zoom. If you want to really up the bonding experience, going with a “member bingo” style scavenger hunt will help your members get to know one another. For example, people would have to find someone who’s traveled this year, has a birthday this month or anything else you think is cool! Karaoke Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐ Expected Return: $ What better way to bond than to sing with a group of people? You can either book a karaoke room or rent a machine to use at your club’s home base. If you want to really celebrate, you can have people vote on their favorite performance and give the winner a prize! This club event is best held in-person. If you’re hosting a larger party, you can also incorporate karaoke as a secondary activity. Movie Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: ⭐ Expected Return: $ Whether you set up an outdoor projector in the summertime, huddle around a television or load up Teleparty, a movie is a great way for your members to connect. You can run some fan favorites, or choose a movie that’s relevant to your club. For example, if you’re running a book club, you can look for movie adaptations of your book and discuss them as a group after. Sports, Wellness & Fitness You don’t need to be running a sports club to try out some wellness events! Many people are looking for exciting ways to get active for their physical and mental health. They’ll appreciate your club offering the opportunity. Table Tennis Tournament Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ You don’t need to be a star athlete to play table tennis, but you’d be surprised what it brings out in people. If you rent a few table tennis tables, find an open space and set up a bracket, you’ve got a tournament on your hands. Breaking this event into teams or splurging on t-shirts can take it to the next level, and make some seriously awesome memories. This event can be as big or small as you’d like, and is sure to get people excited! Yoga & Meditation Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ In today’s world, people are looking for the opportunity to soothe their bodies and minds. Hiring a yoga or meditation instructor to hold either virtual or in-person sessions is a way to show care for your members. Even if people are too busy to participate in regular club activities, they’re likely to drop in for some time to relax. This is one of our favorite college club event ideas—everyone needs some support during midterms and finals, after all. Wellness Retreat Cost: $$$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$$ If you want to take member wellness to the next level, holding an in-person retreat is super valuable to your members. This one will take some extra funding and planning, but it’s more than appropriate to ask members to pay to join. Hold your wellness retreat in the warmer months, or near a body of water! Choosing a relaxing, natural location will help your members unwind. Animal Visits Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$ Being with animals is proven to support mental health. Whether you take your members to a day with some horses or bring in some puppies to play with, you’ll be sure to see smiling faces. If you want to partner with an animal shelter, consider running an adoption drive! While people enjoy your event and meet animals, they can also meet their new best friend. Opening an adoption event to the public is also a way to attract new members. Win-win! Fantasy Football Cost: $ Complexity to Plan: ⭐ Expected Return: $ Okay, so this one isn’t actually a sport, but people seriously love their fantasy football leagues! Setting one up is as simple as getting registered. After the real game, your members can come together and discuss how their fantasy team is doing. If your club has sports aficionados, this isn’t an event to miss! Plus, it can be held either virtually or in-person. Sharing Interests Members of your club have at least one shared interest! When you’re brainstorming ideas for club events, work with the information you already have to give people what they’re looking for. Panel or Fireside Chat Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ What’s nicer than listening to experts chat about what they know best? Organizing an official panel or casual fireside conversation with a few special guests is a great way to attract your members. This event is unique and relevant to your club’s specialty! Panels and firesides can also be either virtual or in-person. If you have the right tech, you can also offer a hybrid option for even wider reach. Workshop Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$ People love to build new skills, and a workshop lets them do just that! Your workshop can be relevant to your club, or you can switch things up by offering an unexpected skill opportunity. Why shouldn’t your ultimate frisbee club enjoy a pottery event? Ask your members what skills they have that they’d be comfortable teaching people. This can offer bonding AND learning opportunities! Depending on the type of workshop, you can either hold this club event virtually or in-person. Book Club Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ Maybe your club is already a book club—in which case, feel free to incorporate any of these other ideas! But even if your club isn’t a reading club, there’s a book for every interest. Buy a set of books for interested members, and set a time for them to get together and discuss what they’ve read. Remember those firesides we mentioned? Just think of how cool it would be to get the author in for a chat once your members have finished reading! This is another event that can be virtual or in-person. Fandom Gathering Cost: $$$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$ If your club members gather around a specific fandom, holding a fan convention is sure to bring in tons of fun (and funds!). Rent a space, invite speakers and set up an artists’ alley. These events vary in size, but keep in mind that there’s some sizeable up front costs. However, you can save money by holding a virtual option! Breakout rooms and discord servers will let people gather and chat between panels. Plus, you can create a virtual vendors’ hall. Hackathon Cost: $$$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$ Is tech your club’s speciality? Hosting a hackathon is a way to let your super creative club members create and test out new software—and fast! This can be held virtually or in-person, and is especially exciting for young club members who are looking to build up their coding skills. Like fan conventions, these can have a high upfront cost, especially if you include a cash prize. But if you play your cards right, you can attract a bunch of media attention and create something unforgettable! Fancy & Formal Looking for more formal club event ideas? These ideas often come with more up-front planning and costs, but are likely to bring great revenue and publicity in return. Happy Hour Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$$ Bring your members to a nice restaurant or hall and set up a happy hour. This gives people the opportunity to mingle over drinks and make new connections. Plus, depending on how your event is run, you can bring in some extra cash for your organization! Gala Dinner Cost: $$$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$$ Want to hold an elegant and extravagant evening? A gala dinner can make for an unforgettable night. Planning for this sort of event requires getting things set months in advance, so be sure you have a team on it early. This is one of the best country club event ideas. If you already have your location and catering set up, all you have to do is decorate, spice up your menu and go the extra mile. Awards Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $ How would you like to celebrate your community? Coming up with awards that are unique to your club is a great way to show member appreciation. It highlights the superstars of your community, and gives everyone a way to connect. Your awards ceremony can either be held virtually or in-person. Plus, your awards can be as simple or complicated as your budget allows. Whether it’s an online certificate, a physical award or a special prize, you can choose how you want to honor your members. Auctions Cost: $$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$$ Want to gather your members for a night of excitement and prizes? Then an auction is the way to go! You can auction off either items (paintings, baskets, etc.) or experiences (passes to events, mentorship sessions, etc.). If you want to show off your members’ skills, you can also ask them to donate things they’ve made! There are plenty of ways to hold an auction. You can either do it with public bidding, or hold it silently. That’s another perk—you can pull this off either virtually or in-person. Charity auctions are also very common. If you want to raise money for a specific cause, this is a great place to start! Fashion Show Cost: $$$ Complexity to Plan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Expected Return: $$ A fashion show is an exciting and elegant way to engage with your members. If you want to be extra community minded, you can ask members to model, create or donate clothes. This event can either be very high-end, or you can celebrate sustainability with entirely second-hand looks. This is an event that will require some costs for set-up, set as venue, lights, sound and promotion. But if you market it well and play your cards right, you can have a fantastic turn out! Making a Splash at Your Next Club Event Whether you’re playing golf or reading books, fighting for climate justice or celebrating your alma mater, there are endless ways to build connections. As you explore these club event ideas, think about your budget, team capacity and overall goals. You’ll be sure to find the event that’s best for you! Still pondering how software can help you out with your events? WildApricot’s member management software can send out event registrations, process payments, manage communications and more! Sign up for your 30-day free trial today to try it out for yourself. 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