By Matthew Pierson, West Virginia District Governor

Saying today’s day and age is chaotic is a bit of an understatement. Our organization has faced countless obstacles, and yet here we are; still serving our homes, schools, and communities. That said, navigating this period of time can be stressful, so in this article we will discuss the best ways you can transition and grow your club in the new normal.

The basis of your club is membership. Finding avenues for growth can be difficult, especially if your club is meeting entirely virtually, yet it is still possible. If you are back in-person full-time, utilize posters and other traditional programs for recruitment. If your school is entertaining a block like schedule, you may have to offer multiple meetings a week. Make sure to provide a virtual option at these meetings so those opting out of in-person school can still attend. This could be as simple as a laptop propped up in the back. A blocked schedule could utilize traditional recruitment tactics, or be as innovative as officers so choose! If your school is fully virtual, your meetings should follow suit. Recruit by having existing members participate in social media challenges, or asking your school to post about Key Club online. No matter how your back to school looks, remember, opportunities for membership growth don’t stop in the fall. As your club starts to build new foundations this year, make sure to facilitate different methods of recruitment and maintain inclusiveness as often as possible!

Once your club has a strong knowledge of meeting structure, you can move on to other aspects of Key Club life. Namely, service. There are countless opportunities for you to get engaged and help out! My favorite service project to do while staying socially distant would be picking up trash. There are a variety of cool ways you can raise money or serve virtually as well. Many Key Club members have already participated in programs like Freerice to get hours. When carrying out programs in the digital environment, it is essential you maintain organization. Club officers should still use sign-up sheets and set time frames for service projects even if they are virtual. Key Club members should work on the same call while doing service to validate its occurrence. Hours should be logged after completed, and someone should be designated to keep track of which Key Club members are doing what. To get hours virtually, these validity checkers are essential. Unfortunately, without peer or adult approval/supervision, it’s hard to count digital service endeavors. For a list of super cool service projects, reach out to your LTG or District Governor!

Paying dues this year could be a challenge for many, but with the right guidance and planning, it can go just as smoothly as usual. If your club is meeting in person, consider collecting dues through your school’s financial office or club advisor. This is akin to dues collection of the past! Make sure to give Key Club members notice and enough time to pay their dues, especially if some of them are attending meetings via virtual means. If your club is fully virtual, things get a little more complex. Consider the following routes for dues payment: mailing checks or money to your club advisor, using virtual transaction software, like Paypal or Venmo, or having a drive-through day with your club treasurer or advisor to collect payment. No matter how your dues collection looks this year, make sure to maintain proper social distancing and health precautionary conditions! Remember, dues are “due” later than usual this year! Early bird on December 1, and regular February 1. Clubs will still follow similar processes of payment as seen in years past, primarily the Membership Update Center.

A major part of Key Club life is, of course, the events! Clubs should have good relationships with their LTGs so that they may stay informed about various virtual events they can participate in. Chances are, your district, or even division, is hosting various supplemental events for what has been canceled due to the pandemic. Virtual fall rallies, forums, and bonding sessions are already underway! To stay connected, maintain a good relationship with your LTG, and follow your division, district, and Key Club International on social media. Routine updates should be posted. General members stand to benefit quite a lot from attending these functions, so make sure your club is heavily promoting means of engagement.

As we continue forward through this series of unprecedented events, make sure to stay innovative and creative with how your club operates. Never be afraid to ask for help. A wide variety of resources, guides, and examples on how to handle various COVID-related scenarios are abundant in our organization! Best of luck in the coming months, and thank you for reading!