Step 1: Start Your Research
Before you can start your Scrabble club, you need to research a couple of key things first.
Find out if there’s an existing Scrabble club near you. If one already exists, the need for a new club drops dramatically. There might be an exception if you live in a highly-populated area, but even that’s not a guarantee.
Determine if there are enough people in your area who might be interested in joining your Scrabble club. The second factor is basically the opposite of the first one. Ask around your community and friend groups to gauge interest.
Step 2: Identify Your Desired Members
Once you have an idea of if creating a new Scrabble club makes sense, the next step is to establish your club’s focus. Will this group be for more casual players? Or do you want things to be competitive? This will help you figure out what kind of players you want to attract. Also, the kind of players can help you decide which official Scrabble dictionary to use.
This is an important distinction to make. As harsh as it might sound, you need to know which players you want to dissuade from joining your club, too.
Let’s say you hope to create a club that focuses on tournament play and takes the game seriously. Having members who only enjoy the game casually and have no interest in learning tournament rules or Elo ratings could be an issue. It could create friction between players, which isn’t something anyone wants.
Step 3: Find a Venue
This might be the most obvious step, but it is often the most challenging. Unlike digital games like Words With Friends, you can’t have a Scrabble group if you don’t have somewhere to play. Yes, the club can convene at your home, but finding a public space is almost always better. A central location will help draw more people. Recreation centers, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls, hotel conference rooms and other such rentable locations are ideal for almost any club.
Once you have all met in person and established a community, you also have the option to take that community to the virtual world. Playing in person is always more fun. But, if life gets in the way and not everyone can meet as much as they’d want, you can still stay connected by playing Scrabble online.
Step 4: Set Your Member Fees
Once you have an idea of where you’re going to play, you’ll need to figure out how much to charge people. No venue will let you use their space for free, after all. There are at least two ways to handle this.
If you’re interested in a casual club, charging regular club dues might be the best option.
If you’re hoping to host tournaments, requiring entry fees is a good way to go. Those entry fees can go toward the winner prize pool.
The price depends on how much the chosen venue charges for their space. Also, keep in mind that you will most likely have to pay the first time (or even the first few times). Most locations will want the money upfront, and you can’t know for certain how many people will show up during your club’s early days.
You have to be willing to invest your time, your effort and your money into your Scrabble club.
Step 5: Draft a Schedule
You won’t get anyone to join your club if your Scrabble events aren’t well-organized. Take the time to plan the schedule for each gathering carefully. This includes setting the day (or days) that people will meet and what time each event will start. You also need to create an itinerary to organize every part of the event.
When creating a schedule, don’t worry if times and plans change on occasion. The schedule is meant to help you keep order, not dictate every aspect of the club’s existence.
Step 6: Create a Web Presence
Next, you need to build a web presence for your club. Attracting people by word of mouth can come in time, but most people will try to find groups online first.
The best first option is to create a Facebook page for your Scrabble club. You can also create your own website or blog. If you don’t know how to do that, social media pages will suffice, at least to start.
Do your best to make your pages presentable. Remember, you are trying to attract people to join your club. You’re also trying to convey that you are taking this seriously. Provide some visuals, such as a decent cover image on a Facebook page, and add plenty of content. Also, proofread your content carefully to make sure everything is accurate. Find words so your club looks professional.
Step 7: Promote Your Events
After you create a page for your club, it’s time to share its existence with the world. Creating a Facebook page or a site isn’t enough. You need to get the word out there. This is another place where social media can help in a big way. Share your announcement (and the links to your group’s pages) everywhere you can think to do so. Facebook groups and subreddits should be the first targets.
If you plan to focus on tournament play, contact organizations like NASPA and ABSP to see if they would be willing to support your club. They might even share your club and its events on their websites. Official organizations are also invaluable sources of information for Scrabble play and club organization.
Step 8: Be an Active Organizer
Finally, after you promote the club and start to get some responses, you need to do your best to operate it effectively. Respond to people quickly. Be an active leader and manager of the group.
Treat running your club like running a business. Pretend potential club members are prospective customers. Being unhelpful or slow to respond could push them away. You wouldn’t want to develop a poor reputation in the Scrabble community!
Create the Club of Your Dreams
It definitely takes some work to start a Scrabble club. But, it can be done if you are dedicated and eager to see the fruits of your labor. If you are not sure you want to create a club yourself, your next option is to learn how to find an already established Scrabble club in your area. That’s another way to spell success and community!
Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.