Getting Started and Ways to Find Members
To get started, pool your knowledge of local collectors and create a list of people who might be interested in a stamp club. A flyer hung in the local post office, stamp or hobby store, public library, and even the supermarket bulletin board can invite interested parties to an organizational meeting.
Personally invite collectors you know to the meeting, by phone, mail, social media, or e-mail. If an actual organizing committee can be formed as a result of this first meeting, you are well on the way to launching a successful club. Numbers are not as important in the beginning as enthusiasm and motivation.
Other ways to find members
If you are a member of the American Philatelic Society and lack knowledge of collectors in your region who might be willing to get a club started, or if you wish to increase your list of potential members, the APS can provide you with a list of its members who live in the zip code areas to be served by your club. This list of “known collectors” can help to jump-start a new club. (APS member names and addresses cannot be released to nonmembers.)
Publicity is especially important at this stage of your club’s existence. Announce your organizational plans in newspapers and on radio and television stations. Allow ample lead-time; don’t wait until the last minute to take your item to the media. Most media are interested in local activities and list meetings in their community calendars.
Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest can all provide valuable, widespread publicity for your new club. Use these tools to recruit and communicate with potential members and existing ones.
Also ask your postmaster, librarian, community center, hobby shop, senior citizen center, and retirement communities for permission to post announcements of the organizational meeting. A display of stamps or album pages in a public space, such as a post office or library lobby, is a great way to attract the attention of prospective members. Be sure your announcement includes the time and place of your meeting, some indication of the kinds of activities planned for the club, and the name, phone number or e-mail of an individual to contact for further information. This should be the standard information provided in any publicity for your club when it’s getting started and once it’s underway.
Strange as it may seem, the national philatelic press also should be informed of your plans to start a club. People in your area may read a philatelic weekly newspaper more carefully than they read the local paper or the bulletin board at the supermarket! Also, occasional visitors to your area may well join the club just to support it and to be able to drop in for meetings when they are in town.
The following publications should be included:
Linn’s Stamps News, a division of Amos Hobby Publishing
P.O. Box 926, 911 S. Vandemark Road, Sidney, OH 45365-0926
Phone: 800-448-7293, Toll Free Fax: 800-488-5349 or 937-498-0807
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.linns.com
Mekeel’s Stamp News
42 Sentry Way, Merrimack, NH 03054
Phone: 603-424-7556, Fax: 603-424-7556
Email: email@example.com, Website: www.stampnewsnow.com
After the club is organized be sure to use your club website and social media to keep members and potential members appraised of the clubs activities. Continue to publish regular meeting announcements with local media, including publicity releases for special meetings, activities, or exhibitions to the national philatelic press. Notices to local media should be sent at least ten days before meetings, while releases to the national philatelic press should be sent at least a month in advance of an event. For newspapers, black and white photos, properly labeled, may prove useful and often will be used if space permits. Ask about your newspaper’s policy in this regard.