Read the introduction to this American Red Cross Club blog series here.
How can I join an American Red Cross Club?
First, find out if an American Red Cross Club (which I’ll abbreviate to “club” from this point forward) already exists at your high school, college, or university by contacting the Student Activities Office or Office of Student Life; visiting the section of your school’s website dedicated to student clubs and organizations; or talking to friends, teachers, professors, or counselors. If a club is in place at your school, these offices, websites, and/or people can connect you to your club’s leadership team, the members of which will fill you in on club paperwork, dues, meetings, and activities. Easy, right?
But what if an American Red Cross Club doesn’t exist at my high school or college/university?
Bummer! But at least you have options.
Your first option is to grab the bull by the horns and start a club on your own or as part of a small team of students.
If you don’t feel comfortable forming on a new club, consider joining an already-established club at another high school, college, or university in your community. Most clubs will open their doors to members from other schools as long as those schools don’t have clubs of their own.
If there are no clubs in your community, consider joining your local chapter of the American Red Cross as a volunteer. Perhaps after a year or two of involvement with the organization you’ll feel confident enough to get the ball rolling and start a club yourself!
How can I start an American Red Cross Club at my high school or college/university?
Seems a little daunting, doesn’t it? Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be!
The Red Cross Youth and Young Adults team has compiled all sorts of fantastic resources to make the process of forming a club as simple and straight-forward as possible. To get you started, here are the basics:
Recruit a few friends (no more than six) to help you get the club up and running.
Recruit a teacher/professor, counselor, or staff member – preferably someone who is committed to working with youth, well-respected among students, and familiar with the Red Cross – to sponsor your club.
Set up a meeting with your local Red Cross volunteer manager to find out the chapter’s requirements for clubs, establish a primary point of contact, and seek approval from the chapter’s board of directors.
Find out what requirements (and begin taking care of these requirements) your school has for clubs to ensure your club will be eligible for school funding/resources and granted permission to hold events on campus.
Register your club and recruit new members by talking to friends, advertising on social media networks, networking with other clubs, posting fliers around your school, and/or placing an ad in your school’s newspaper or on your school’s radio or television station.
Hold your first club meeting! Invite your chapter contact to attend the meeting as a resource, brainstorm ideas for events, prepare for elections (inform members about available leadership positions and request applications), publicize upcoming meetings, and take care of volunteer paperwork (collect contact information and request that each member fill out a volunteer application, code of conduct, and parental consent form if they’re under 18).
Lastly, keep open the lines of communication between the club, your sponsor, and your local chapter to ensure a better working relationship and support in the future.
Like I mentioned above, the Red Cross has a lot of really great resources available to youth, including more in-depth resources for those who want to create or strengthen clubs at their schools.
For additional information or if you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Activity Guide Contest
This contest invites existing Red Cross clubs to create, in honor of March is Red Cross Month, innovative and progressive how-to guides for youth-driven and mission-related projects. These guides should be brief, step-by-step documents that guide others through planning and implementing the projects, and should focus on blood, preparedness, and/or fundraising. Access to the contest entry form is available on RedCrossYouth.org and entries must be received by Monday, March 31, 2013.
Red Cross Club Survey
The American Red Cross Youth and Young Adult team is collecting information, via a brief survey, about the great work being accomplished by Red Cross clubs in preparation for better supporting clubs throughout the 2013-2014 school year. National Headquarters is asking ALL clubs to complete the survey, so if you have a connection to a club, please pass along this information and ask the club president or a member of the club leadership team to complete the survey by April 30, 2013.