Set a ScheduleOne of the hallmarks of a great sweepstakes club is a regular schedule. When you meet like clockwork, your members will take your organization more seriously and be more apt to commit to attending. Monthly meetings are popular because most people have at least that much time to commit to getting together, and it gives you time to organize each meeting. At the same time, you don't go so long between meetings that interest wanes.
Decide Which Goodies You'll ProvideDo you want to supply snacks to your members, or would you rather meet at a restaurant where everyone can order their own meals?
Consider Charging a FeeIf you will be providing services like snacks or drinks, a Christmas party, or door prizes out of pocket, you might want to consider charging a fee for your members to participate. Remember that a fee might prevent some people from joining. On the other hand, the ones that do join might be more committed and motivated. A membership fee also increases your responsibility to provide value for the money.
Pick a Date and TimeIt's a good idea to meet at a regular time and date, in order to make it easier for new members to join in, and to help your current members plan ahead. Some groups pick schedules like meeting on the third Sunday of every month. The time of day is important as well. If you are not meeting at a restaurant where people can order food, you probably want to avoid meeting at mealtimes.
Pick a LocationIt's usually best not to hold your meetings in your living room. Your guests might feel more comfortable on "neutral ground" and with any luck, your sweepstakes group will soon outgrow your home. Call local restaurants to ask if they can accommodate your group, or see if your church, school, or recreation center has a hall you can use.
Prepare the ActivitiesThe last thing you want is a sweepstakes meeting where everyone sits around with nothing to talk about. To avoid this, set up activities in advance.
Before you attend your first meeting, come up with some topics for discussion. If you know a local big-time sweepstakes winner, invite him or her to join in and talk strategy. Outline discussion topics, and create mini-speeches about sweepstakes topics. Gather official entry forms from local contests to distribute to members. And remember to bring a pen and paper for notes, and a way of drawing names for any giveaways you want to run.
Create a WebsiteA simple website will help more people find your sweepstakes group, while also giving you an easy way to announce news and generate interest. A basic website is easy and inexpensive to create. Read some advice about building a personal website for more information.
Advertise Your Sweepstakes ClubNow that you've lain the groundwork, it's time to spread the word about your new sweepstakes group. Take out ads in local papers and online classified sites like Craigslist.org. Write to the organizers of sweepstakes newsletters like Sweeping America and SweepSheet. Make a post in the Contests and Sweepstakes forums. Leave fliers at your grocery store, and talk friends and family members into coming. A good turnout will be a great start to your sweepstakes club!
Enjoy Your MeetingDon't get so caught up in organization that you forget the goal of founding a sweepstakes club -- to have a great time! If you are enjoying yourself, your members will have fun, too, and that's the number one reason why they'll keep coming back.