NWSCC wants to make it easy for you to start your own snowsports club so that you can garner all the benefits that are associated with this great social activity, or, if you already have a club, to join the NWSCC. Let’s start with the latter first, since that’s the easiest.
Join NWSCC: Signing your club up with the Northwest Ski Club Council is as simple as filling out this form (PDF, MS Word) and sending it (email or post is fine) to our Membership Director. If you have any questions, just drop this person an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dues for the year are now just $25. Pretty amazing!
Start your own Snowsports Club: How you go about starting your own club depends a bit on where you are located (Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Hawaii), and whether or not you wish to register the club as a non-profit entity. But first, let’s think about the basics.
- Membership. Do you have enough members to make a club? You’ll need at least four to fill the officer slots of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. A good dozen would be even better. If it’s just you and a friend, it might get kind of lonely, and you might find that joining an already established club an easier route. Buy, hey, if you have a vision of the type of club you want to establish, then why not! Gotta start somewhere.
- Purpose: You might have already done this next step, but make sure you have a sound reason for starting the club. Why a snowsports club? What’s your purpose? Alpine skiing? Nordic? Snowshoeing? Trips? Will it be only winter sports, or do you plan to offer year round activities? Think through your objective of going to the trouble of starting a club. Again, maybe there’s one close by you can join. Check the list of NWSCC clubs to see if there might be, but if you’re still set on starting one, then write down and consider the real reason you’d like to form the organization. This is key, for it will help you set your mission statement, your organizational structure, who can and cannot join the club, and even your dues level.
- Bylaws: There are numerous examples on how to write your club bylaws. Keep them simple and you’ll be fine. As the club grows, you’ll have to make adjustments, given the complexities that come with growth. If you’re going to register your club, a set of bylaws is something you’ll need. You can find many examples of non-profit club bylaws by doing a web search. Try to find one in the snowsport area of interest to you (here’s one example from one of our clubs, and yet another example). Some states have examples on their state websites, as do national associations. We cannot recommend which to use, obviously. One piece of advice, though: make sure the one you use is clear about the separation of elected officers, appointed directors, and volunteers. The reason is ...
- Liability. The issue of a person bringing suit against club officers and directors is very real, and you want to protect your volunteers as much as possible. You should get a few examples and read them carefully.
- Register: If you want to be a registered non-profit organization such that you don’t have to pay taxes, you’ll need to register with your newly formed organizational entity (that is, your club) with the IRS. Unless you qualify as a charitable IRS 501(c)(3) organization, you will probably need to register as an IRS 501(c)(7), a “social club.” However, doing so will mean getting serious about watching the dollars you collect and spend. Best get yourself those bylaws in place and make sure the person who is filling your treasurer’s role has some working understanding of bookkeeping.
- NWSCC Membership: After you get everything all buttoned up, drop our membership director an email and we’ll get you signed up to be a member of NWSCC and FWSA. See the paragraph above on how to join, and check out all the benefits of membership located here on this website.
Another Strategy: Just a thought. We’d rather that you join your local snowsports club or build one yourself, but if you’d rather not or you live in a place where doing so is almost impossible, then there’s another strategy that will enable you to get hooked up and enjoy all the benefits. The FWSA allows you to join them as a “direct member.” It’s $30 per person per year. Check it out here, but we do hope you’ll join a local club. That’s where the action is and we bet that’ll be where you’ll find your future snowsports home.