Starting a Club
Typically, clubs are formed based on geographic proximity and members come from a particular city, metropolitan region, state, or country. Club names should reflect the area they represent (e.g., “The Mount Holyoke Club of Pittsburgh”). Clubs may use “Mount Holyoke” in their names but not “Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College” nor “Mount Holyoke College,” because these words indicate specific legal entities.
Alumnae interested in starting a club or revitalizing an inactive club should contact the director of international and domestic clubs to discuss the feasibility of having a club in a particular region. The Alumnae Association can assist by providing information on former clubs in the area and help create a survey to determine the needs and interests of alumnae there.
Once feasibility has been established, plan a simple, inexpensive event with the following goals:
- Creating a vision of the type of club you want to be and what you want to accomplish
- Appointing volunteers or a slate of officers who will plan events and communicate with other alumnae
- Decide about bylaws and dues
After the first meeting, report the following information to the director of international and domestic clubs:
- Names and terms of volunteers/officers
- Number of alumnae attendees at the event
- Copy of the bylaws if/when adopted
Membership & Dues
Membership in alumnae clubs is open to any alumna, graduate or nongraduate, who attended Mount Holyoke for at least a year, or any recipient of a graduate degree. Membership should be as flexible as possible to encourage alumnae to join.
- Associate membership may be given to any former or present members of the MHC faculty and to (nonalumnae) parents of alumnae and students.
- Honorary memberships may be given to club members who graduated fifty or more years ago. It may also be offered to holders of honorary MHC degrees, past and present trustees of the College, and any friend or patron of the College. These honorary members can be exempt from paying dues.
- Many clubs require membership dues to help offset club expenses. Some clubs charge a flat rate; others set a scale based on the number of years since graduation. Some collect annually, while others collect less frequently.
- If your club does not collect dues, consider all alumnae in the area as members. An active membership need not be hampered by lack of dues.
- Building and maintaining membership is an ongoing process. Communicate often with area alumnae via newsletters, email, phone, and/or in-person visits.
- Establish bylaws for operations and decision-making to help ensure that the club stays within the parameters of the Alumnae Association bylaws and the IRS rules for 501 (c)(3) organizations.