Co-Founder & President of QUT Energy, Renewables, Environment and Sustainability
“Think about how you can make it [the society] even more appealing than it already is.”
I identified a need for a renewables club because I personally am very interested in the field, and couldn't find anything relevant to that interest at my university.
I discussed the idea with some friends and acquaintances and it soon became pretty clear that people would join if someone just took the initiative.
Insight #1 – Signing up 150 new members in 3 days
[We used] Facebook advert coupons and some demographic targeting to find the right people to show the page to.
From there, people began inviting their own friends to follow our Facebook page and club Facebook group. The club initially focused solely on renewables, but it seems like it's naturally expanding into sustainability and green tech generally just because of member interests.
I'd say that you can think of it [a new society] as a product you're trying to sell. It just so happens that the product in this case is an idea. Think about what kind of person would be interested in "buying" that idea from you, and think about how you can make it even more appealing than it already is.
What can your idea offer them, and what do they want? You can usually assume they'd want the opportunity to meet professionals in that sector, but what else? Do they want the opportunity to do site visits, or get a chance to experience using the tech in the industry? Are they possibly interested in club projects that they can add to their resume and talk about in interviews? That sort of thing. The few times I've been asked by members what ERES [Energy and Renewables Engineering Society] can offer them, those are the kinds of things they're thinking about.
My university doesn't offer any engineering classes on renewables, so you can also look at whether your club can represent the members' interests on campus. We're planning to do that by lobbying the faculty to add an elective on renewables.
Think about the benefits of a pivot
If you were FORCED to ‘pivot’ your society and either merge it with another, or change the direction in a significant enough way that it would warrant a name change, what might you change? What benefits/opportunities might this provide? Would you be able to represent a wider demographic of students or could you pool resources (funding/talent/events) with a very similar club? Brainstorm the potential improvements and even without a formal change this will challenge the status-quo of previous years and spark new ideas.