Building a virtual Lions Club, why and how!
I’ve been a Lions Clubs member since 2010, and in February last year the general secretary of MD104 (Norway) asked me to look into the concept of “Cyber Clubs”.
What I found was that even though Lions International has written much about it, it’s not really a concept, more listings of different tools you can use to build online communities.
So I gave up at first. But after the summer I started thinking about it again, and I decided to try and build a concept myself.
After talking to friends, both IRL and on social media, I found that selling Lions was more or less hopeless. Most people don’t know what we do, and they loose interest when you try to explain.
So I decided that I needed to sell a cause. The cause I selected was bullying, especially cyberbullying. Why? Because bullying is a big problem that Lions Quest can solve, and cyberbullying is the natural evolution of bullying with the introduction of social media.
This was very easy to “sell”, and after recruiting my first five members, the rest was a walk in the park. After three months we had recruited 25 chartermembers and could start the club.
How did I recruit?
I mostly recruited members online through social media like Facebook and Twitter. I wrote a lot of blog posts about my idea and shared it.
A few members are my personal friends, some transferred from other clubs, and I recruited three people from a big network-meeting (over 100 attendees) where I held a presentation of the concept, but mostly the members where recruited through the use of social media combined with my blog.
I also spent about €35 on Facebook promotions.
Our goal is to end bullying.
That is of course impossible, but we need hairy goals! How? We have three main activities:
- Build a website devoted to bullying and cyberbullying. The website is meant to be a resource for kids, youth, parents, teachers, pretty much everyone. We will tell stories, share what Lions do against bullying, and what other great humanitarian organisations do.
- Have a yearly youth-camp called “Camp #DigMob”. This camp will be devoted to discussing bullying, having speakers talking about their experiences. Instructors from Lions Quest will (hopefully) be an important part of the camp.
- Try to work together with other humanitarian organisations that also work against cyberbullying, find common ground and how we can help each other towards the goal of ending bullying.
How to the cyberclub work?
- The website is based on Wordpress.
- We have a digital club house, based on bbPress.
- Board meetings is done through Google Hangout.
- Club decisions are made by having a poll in the digital club house.
- No physical club meetings, but two yearly get together happenings.
How do we get funding?
The club was just chartered last week, so we don’t have any experience with this yet, but here are a few ideas we’re working on:
- Betternow.org - online micro-fundraising.
- Getting companies as sponsors/advertisers.
- Getting private supporters called “friends of Lions”.
- Training sessions in the use of social media to other Lions Clubs.
As I said, we’ve just been chartered, so we need to find out what work-capacity our members have, what the want to contribute with, and what we need of funding.
In January 2015 we are planning to have an evening seminar about cyberbullying to test the interest of our Camp #DigMob idea.
And we already have two new members on their way in to the club :-)
Se our club at http://cyberlions.no/.