Clubs are a great way to connect with like-minded people. And if you want to start a club (or already lead one), you know just how many components there are to organize. The financial part can feel the most intimidating. 

Club membership fees seem simple. But without the right tools and a strong financial structure, it can get overwhelming. This holds true whether your club is brand new or your existing club has an outdated system. 

Whichever category you fall into, your members need a fresh, modern way to pay. And you need an easy way to collect, manage and spend club membership fees.

So whether you’re at the helm of a kayaking club or just starting a female entrepreneurs club, keep reading. 

You’re about to learn how to set up your club and streamline your finances, including how to set up a convenient way to collect club membership fees. 

Topics Covered:

  • How to start a membership club in 7 steps
  • How to set up the financial structure of your club
  • How to collect club membership fees
  • Why you should use Braid 

How to start a membership club

Congratulations! You’ve decided to start a membership club, and soon, many people are going to reap the benefits of your hard work.

To get your club up and running, refer to this 7-Step Guide. What will be of particular interest to both new and existing clubs is the focus on setting up a robust financial structure so your financial responsibilities feel lighter.

1. Define the “Why” for your club 

What’s the main objective of your club? Write a brief mission statement that’s easy to remember.  

2. Set up your club structure

Clubs with very little overhead where members self-organize thrive with loose club structures. 

Clubs that require steady cash flow to operate and cover overhead costs typically need a more defined, formal structure. 

Often, when a club forms, it starts small and a loose structure is adequate. As it grows and expands, it may graduate into a formal structure. 

Whether your club is loose or formal, fill these five leadership positions to ensure it runs smoothly.

  • President: club leader
  • Vice-President: assistant to the president
  • Treasurer: manages club money
  • Secretary: manages internal communication
  • Membership manager: maintains member records and develops strategies to recruit new members 

Before we take a closer look at treasurers and what they do, here are the last five steps you need to take to start your club.  

3. Attract new members 

Every club has a few founding members, but you probably want to grow, right? Use the following questions to define your ideal member:

  • What criteria should members meet? 
  • What are the best demographics for members? 
  • Which factors (if any) prevent members from joining? 

In addition to identifying your ideal member, get clear on the benefits and value you will be giving them.

Once you define your ideal member and how your club will benefit them, develop a persuasive marketing strategy. 

4. Set up the financial structure of your club

Creating and maintaining a financial structure is essential for every club. But for so many treasurers, it’s easier said than done. 

Club money doesn't have to be a headache though. And below, you’ll get a comprehensive guide to creating a robust financial structure for your club with the support of Braid Money Pools. 

5. Set up a club website

Showcase your club and help new members find you with a stellar website. Publish high-quality content, outline membership benefits, provide an application form, list FAQs, and even provide a link for secure member payments. 

6. Have a kick-off meeting

Gather everyone together with a special inaugural meeting. Use this checklist to calm your nerves and have a successful time: 

  • Briefly introduce the club and its mission
  • Introduce the founding members 
  • Describe the structure of future club meetings
  • Ask members why they joined and what they want to get out of it
  • Invite members to apply for any open leadership roles
  • Mingle and get to know each other

7. Keep the momentum going

There are many fun ways to keep your members engaged and interested in between meetings. Which ones feel right for your club?

  • Send eNewsletters
  • Create a “Members-only” section on your website 
  • Create social media accounts 
  • Have an online membership database to track attendance and involvement, and to identify member preferences so your club can evolve as needed

How to set up the financial structure of your club

Let’s set up a financial structure that’s simple and convenient for both you and your members. The more organized and efficient it is, the easier it will be to provide incredible value to your members.

This section provides key insights on:

  • Club treasurers
  • Membership fees: what are they, what are they for, membership tiers, etc
  • How to collect club membership fees safely and easily 

What does a club treasurer do?

No matter how big or small your club is, you need a treasurer.

Club membership fees are the lifeblood of your organization. And you need someone to manage them carefully and accurately. 

But what else does a club treasurer do? Take a look:

  1. Create and maintain a budget
  2. Create financial reports 
  3. Make payments and issue receipts
  4. Collect donations and/or fundraiser money and issue receipts
  5. Comply with relevant tax laws
  6. Distinguish and manage capital, revenue, and expenditure 
  7. Give feedback on how plans and projects can impact club finances

Every successful treasurer needs savvy, modern tools to complete these seven tasks. Before we explore your options, establish your membership rates and tiers. After all, your club can’t run without them.

What are club membership fees?

  • Club membership fees are non-refundable dues that members pay to the club to maintain their membership and to participate in group activities
  • Club membership fees are paid at monthly, annual, or multi-year intervals 
  • They provide immediate and unrestricted funds to the club which uses them to give value to its members 

How to decide on club membership fees 

Member fees are directly tied to the value they receive and how likely they are to remain members. 

When you establish (or update) membership fees, a lot of important questions come to mind: How much should I charge? How often should members pay? Should I have membership tiers? Can I increase fees?

The right membership fee structure strikes a balance between asking a fair price and covering your operational costs while giving value back to your members.

The following guidelines can simplify this process. 

Should you have monthly, annual, or multi-year club membership fees?

Depending on your club, you may opt for one or all of these options.

Monthly fees

  • Affordable and attractive to new members
  • Provide more revenue because people pay the full price
  • Members can leave at any point, increasing the risk for an unstable revenue stream

Annual fees

  • A discounted membership and convenient one-time payment is attractive
  • Provide a substantial and predictable source of revenue
  • Difficult to understand whether members are receiving value and willing to return next year

Multi-year fees (Guarantees membership for 3-5 years)

  • Greater savings and convenience
  • Guarantee a higher retention rate 
  • The club must operate with less revenue while still providing enough value to retain members for up to five years

Should your club have flat rates or membership tiers?

Flat rate fees or membership tiers? There are pros and cons to both. Here are some of the most important factors to consider: 

Flat rate memberships

  • Simple to manage
  • It may not be affordable for all members
  • Some members may be willing to pay more in exchange for increased value but not have the option to do so

Tiered memberships

  • Gives members more flexibility and freedom
  • Members can move up or down the tiers
  • Complicated to manage financially 

How to collect club membership fees

Once you define your club membership fees, you need a smart way to collect them for both you and your members. 

Forgo checks and money orders. Your club members are already used to online banking and payments. So, your club should offer a similarly easy way for them to pay their dues.

Let’s take a look at your options.

1. Collect dues on your website

If your club has a website, add a “Pay Now” link so members can pay with a couple of clicks.

While there are several PCI-compliant payment services like Payscape Payment Gateway or Clubessential CE Payments, they are not free. And using these services increases your operational costs. 

If you’d like both a safe and free option, use Braid Money Pools. Start by downloading the app and creating your money pool for free.

Your pool has a customizable link that you can add to your website for easy member payments. 

Braid uses best-in-class security and compliance practices to keep members’ money and personal data protected and private.

2. Use club management software  

Club management software is a one-stop-shop for online payments, financial reports, automated invoices, membership databases, etc.

If you’re running a small club, it might not be possible to spend at least $100 a month on software programs, like Member Planet, Wild Apricot, and Aptus Soft.

3. Collect membership fees with club payment apps 

Peer-to-peer payment apps are a viable option since many members are already familiar with them. 

But it’s imperative to choose one that makes your job, as Treasurer, simple. 

Braid 

Braid is a fresh, new tool that makes it easier than ever to collect club membership fees. It’s so easy it’s almost hard to explain.  

Start by downloading the app and creating your pool for free. It’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

Then, send your Pool Link to your club members and invite them to make payments with their debit or credit cards. There are no fees to collect, manage, or spend money in this dedicated money pool. 

However, there is a 3% fee charged to members who want to pay with their credit card. To avoid the fee, encourage users to pay with their debit cards. 

Spend money directly from the pool with the free Braid debit card and request financial statements for each pool.

Paypal

Clubs have been using PayPal for years. While it’s a reputable platform, it takes time to set up, it charges fees for every transaction, and you must transfer money into a bank account before you can spend it.

Venmo

This app makes it easy to send and receive money for free. However, it does not offer a dedicated group account where you can manage and spend collected membership fees as Braid does. 

Zelle

This app allows members to pay directly from their bank account to yours. Like Venmo, this is solely a send-and-receive system. It does not allow you to collect, manage and spend in a group account like Braid. You still need a club bank account. Otherwise, club money mixes with personal money.

PayIt2

This service hosts an online collection page where club members can pay their dues. This service isn’t free and you have to wait 2-3 days before the collected fees are sent to the linked bank account. 

Why you should use Braid to collect club membership fees

As you can see, there are many ways to collect membership fees. But which one is right for your club? There are many compelling reasons to choose Braid. Here are seven of them: 

1. It’s 100% free to use 

Unlike apps like PayPal, or club management software, Braid is free to use. You can download the app and create as many money pools as you need for free.

There are no transaction fees, services fees, monthly fees, or overdraft fees. 

The only fee that Braid charges is a 3% fee to contributors who use a credit card to pay through the Pool Link. Otherwise, you keep 100% of the club membership fees you collect so you can invest them directly into your organization.

2. Braid is a dedicated pool for club membership money

Braid Money Pools are where you can collect, manage, and spend money alone as the club treasurer, or together with other club leaders if they join the pool and assign them permissions.

Unlike most apps, you don’t need to transfer money to a bank account to use it. This means club membership fees never mix with personal funds. 

Each pool generates a financial statement for greater transparency and easier bookkeeping. 

If your club uses a tiered membership model, you can create separate pools for each tier to stay better organized and to manage incoming fees more easily. 

3. Spend directly from the pool with the free Braid debit card 

You can keep the collected funds in the pool and spend directly from the pool with the free digital debit card that comes with it.

You can use it everywhere Mastercard is accepted to make payments and purchases on behalf of the club. Don’t worry if you lose your receipts.  Every transaction is visible in the pool. 

4. Increased flexibility 

Pricy club management software may be more than you need right now. Plus, it’s a real hassle to cancel your subscription and switch to something else.

Money pools are a great way to collect and manage club money from your founding days up to your 10th anniversary. 

Another perk of Braid Money Pools is that you can add or remove pool members with a couple of clicks so your pool always matches your club membership. 

5. Easy bookkeeping 

Being the treasurer isn’t daunting with Braid. 

Whenever you spend with the Braid card, the transaction is posted to your pool. Braid generates a financial statement to help you manage club finances accurately. 

Remember, you can create separate pools for each of your membership fee needs. For example, if you offer membership tiers, create separate pools for each tier to keep headaches at bay. 

If you collect both monthly and annual fees, different pools ensure you collect money, not more stress. 

You can always consolidate money from multiple pools into a new one if you choose to simplify things or no longer need them.

6. Easily remind members to pay their dues 

Is it hard to get members to pay their dues on time? Join the club. (We couldn’t resist.) 

If you get all members to join the pool, and turn on or off their spending permissions depending on their leadership status, you can use Braid’s reminder feature to remind members to pay. 

You can also direct them to the pool’s description page, where they can review important details, like due dates, amount due, and whether the payment is for a monthly fee, annual fee, membership tier, etc.

7. Braid is safe and secure

As club president or treasurer, you take the privacy and security of your members - and their money - seriously. So does Braid.

Braid uses best-in-class security and compliance practices to keep your money safe and your data private. All payment and personal information are encrypted end-to-end using SSL 256-bit encryption.

Having a club is a great way to connect with like-minded people and grow your community. 

Use this guide to create a strong financial structure for your club and conveniently collect club membership fees using Braid Money Pools. 

This way, you can give your members lots of value in the months and years ahead.

Ready to set up your club's finances on Braid?

Click here to get started