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How to Start a Book Club

How to Start a Book Club

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

—George R. R. Martin

There are a lot of reasons to create a club. Maybe you just want to socialize more and make new friends. Or maybe you have some reading goals to reach this year. The reason for creating your book club will determine the club’s purpose which then might determine how it’s run.

Step 1: Decide the Purpose of Your Book Club and its Name

For instance, if you are making a book club for purely social reasons, then you might decide on fun books and a meeting place that facilitates chatting and hanging out. But if the purpose of the club is more academic, then you’ll choose heavier books and put more time and effort into creating a group discussion plan.

It is also helpful to put a name to your book club so that you can easily refer to the club using a name. It doesn’t have to be anything too clever. You could simply call it Jane’s Book Club if your name is Jane. Or you could have a brainstorming session with the group and then vote on the most popular name idea.

Step 2: Decide Who You’re Inviting

The ideal number of members in a book club ranges between 8 and 16 members. You want enough people to create interesting group discussions, but not so many people that the group gets out of hand.

If you are unsure about who to invite, then you can simply invite 2 to 3 people and have them each invite their own 2 to 3 people. That way you’ll have a diverse group.

You can also post flyers around your community with the details of your first meeting if you want to gather a completely new group. This can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Then you can hold your meetings in public places where everyone can easily meet together regardless of their schedules.

Step 3: Decide on a Meeting Place

When scheduling your book club meet-ups you’ll need to decide on where and when. There are several options available to you for where you and your fellow group members could meet. Where and when you decide will mostly depend on the availability and preferences of your group members.

You could meet online
  • Google Hangouts
  • Facebook Video Calls
  • Skype
  • Online forums
  • Group Messenger
You could meet in person
  • a coffee shop
  • a restaurant where you can eat together and discuss
  • someone’s house
  • the local library

Step 4: Create a Reading List

One of the hard parts of creating a book club is getting everyone to agree on what books to read. It helps if you decide on how reading lists will be determined as soon as possible.

Maybe you, as the leader of the book club, will make all reading list decisions. Or maybe everyone will vote on which books to read at the first meeting. You could also take turns in the group for who gets to pick the next book.

Download a Free PDF Printable for a Yearly Reading List

Your book club might also have a specific purpose, like to read all the books by Dave Ramsey. If that’s the case then your book club’s reading list is already decided!

You could also just read a book about a book club! The Jane Austen Book Club is a New York Times Bestseller written by Karen Joy Fowler and has since become a major motion picture.

Step 5: Make the Schedule

Once you have a reading list it’s time to schedule out your reading assignments and group discussions. Generally, scheduling to read a chapter a week isn’t too difficult of a reading assignment, but this might depend on the book you’re all reading.

Take into account how quickly you want to go through each book, the number of pages in each chapter, and how often you want your group to meet.

It might also help to create a calendar for your group so that everyone is on the same page. You can create a group calendar on google calendars, or you can print one to pass out to everyone.

Download a Free PDF Printable of a Book Club Calendar Template

Step 6: Decide How Everyone is Getting their Books

Will everyone just buy them or will you all use kindle unlimited or used copies? Depending on your group size there may be enough copies at the local library, but this isn’t likely. Most book clubs let everyone be in charge of getting their own books.

You could also do a traveling book idea where you share one copy of the book. Then you can alternate on who buys the book and who the book ends up with at the end. This would be a more inexpensive way to run a book club, but your group discussions would be farther apart.

If you decide to go in together on book costs, you can use a Check City Prepaid Debit Card to consolidate your group’s funds on one card to buy the books. You can also use prepaid debit cards to help your group pay for things like refreshments.

Step 7: Format the Discussions

Whether you’re meeting online or in person, you’ll need to format your group discussions. If you come to group discussions unprepared, or without someone to help lead the discussion, you might end up with lots of awkward silences.

To avoid long silences in your group discussion, come with a list of interesting questions about the section you all just read. You can also send a question or two from this list to everyone before you meet, and have everyone prepare their own answers beforehand. That way everyone has already thought of some things to say.

Another part of formatting the discussions that you don’t want to forget is to create discussion rules or guidelines. If disagreements arise you want to have clear outlines in place dictating what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in group discussions. These outlines can help keep discussions civil and productive.

Resources for Book Clubs

Need some extra help getting started? You can find all kinds of resources online to help create your book club. Here are just a few book club resources you can use:

Book Club Apps
Book Club Websites
  • BookClubz.com is an online platform that allows you to create and organize your book club.
  • Reddit has subreddits for almost any book, full of great discussion topics you can use in your own group.
  • TapaTalk allows you to create an online community forum.
  • Wikipedia has a long list of book genres that can help you brainstorm reading list ideas.
  • Bookstr can help you find book lists and news all about books.

Book Clubs You Can Join

Scholastic Book Club

Scholastic book clubs can be created by teachers or parents for their kids! They’re easy to set up. You can even follow their how-to videos to help get you started.

All you have to do is create an account, let your kids choose their books, and the Book Box arrives in class! Scholastic books will even help teachers build a classroom library. Scholastic Books is a corporation all about helping kids get excited about reading.

Reese Witherspoon Book Club

Reese Witherspoon has her own book club that you can also join. You can connect to her book club in a number of ways, through Facebook, Instagram, GoodReads, or even Audible.

Reese’s Book Club reads a new book each month, hand-picked by Reese Witherspoon herself. She picks books with great female protagonists, that a gigantic following of people can read together and talk about!

Oprah’s Book Club

Oprah’s book club is one of the biggest, most long-standing book clubs to date. Oprah started her book club in 1996 as part of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Oprah’s Book Club eventually launched what she called, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 that now uses social media and e-readers to keep the famous book club going. She also handpicks a new book each month for her book club followers to read.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of starting a book club then just join a book club that already exists! You might even find a preexisting book club in your local neighborhood.

 

You have so much to gain from creating a book club. You can make new friends, schedule in some much needed socializing, and read some great literature. Book clubs are also a really easy club to put together but will offer you and your fellow members years of fun to come.

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Cheap Weekend Getaways on a Budget

Cheap Weekend Getaways on a Budget

Sometimes a long vacation far away can actually be more exhausting than relaxing.

That’s why a weekend trip somewhere near you can actually be more rejuvenating.

Not only that but weekend trips are less expensive, you don’t have to take time off, and it can be just what you need to prevent burnout and keep your energies and spirits up.

The Best Weekend Getaways

The best weekend getaways cater to your personal preferences and desires so you can get the most out of your short trip.

Some people are looking for weekend getaways near me, where they can be close to home but still take a break from their lives. Others are looking for cheap weekend getaways, so they can enjoy a vacation without spending too much. Then there are people looking for group weekend getaways or the best weekend getaways for couples.

Different people look for different things in a vacation. Some people are history buffs and want to see some historical sites and go on tours. Others will want to go where there is lively music, or botanical gardens where they can walk and be with nature.

Other people have specific requirements for their vacation. If you have kids you might need a family-friendly option, or if you’re a couple you might want something more romantic.
Start asking yourself what kind of vacationer you are before you get started on any solid plans.

Take a moment to sit down and write a list of things you must have in a weekend getaway. This can help you decide the key elements of your weekend trip budget.

Make a Budget

weekend trip costs

The more days you stay away the more your trip will cost.

Which is why weekend trips are so great! You can vacation without breaking the bank simply by leaving for fewer days.

According to Budget Your Trip the average daily cost of a vacation for just one person comes to about $224. This means that a 2 day vacation would cost $448, a 3 day vacation would cost $672, and a longer 4 day vacation would cost $896.

But you can save even more on a weekend getaway by cutting areas of your budget and making smart, money-saving choices.

Download a Free Printable PDF for a Weekend Getaway Budget.

weekend trip budget

A vacation budget usually includes at least 4 categories.

Transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment.

According to ValuePenguin the average cost of transportation for 4 nights is $224, lodgings are $150, food is $155, and entertainment is $52. A 4 night trip, from Friday to Monday, can cost a total of $581.

These 4 budget sections are what you’ll need to figure out before going on vacation. Though there may be other things to consider depending on your personal preferences. For example, you might want to add a souvenir budget or create separate budgets for each person going on the trip.

Transportation

transportation

As with any trip, you’ll need to figure out what transportation you’ll use, how much it will cost, and how you can save in this category.

The farther from home you go the more expensive transportation costs are going to be. This doesn’t mean you can’t go far away for your weekend trip, it just means transportation will take up a larger portion of your budget if you do. You might have to make sacrifices in other areas of your budget, like which hotel you stay at if you want to go somewhere farther away.

Since it’s just a weekend trip, longer trips will also take up more of the little time you have to get away that weekend. But if you go somewhere close by, then you’ll have even more time to enjoy your destination. Try going on a road trip instead of flying since driving is generally cheaper than plane tickets.

You should also try and book accommodations that aren’t too far away from everything. That way you can easily walk, ride bikes, or use trails like the boardwalk or river walk to get wherever you want to go while on vacation.

Lodging

lodgings

If you book your accommodations well in advance then you are more likely to snag some deals.

If you want to get in the habit of taking weekend trips, then try getting into the habit of researching prices every so often. That way you’ll see when prices go up and down.

You can also save on lodgings by choosing Airbnbs, hostels, or campgrounds to stay at instead of expensive hotels. If you go on trips very often, then investing in a trailer or some quality camping gear could actually save you money in the long term.

Food

food

Eating out can easily become the most expensive part of a vacation. But you can save tons of money on food by packing your own meals and snacks.

No matter where you end up staying you can always bring your own food. If you’re going camping you can pack food bags and coolers full of nonperishable foods. If you’re going to a hotel or Airbnb you can find one with a kitchenette so you can make your own meals instead of spending tons of money eating out.

But remember to keep item number 1 in mind! Maybe eating out while traveling is a big part of a vacation for you. If this is the case, then just calculate restaurant expenses into your weekend getaway budget.

Entertainment

entertainment

There’s nothing more disappointing than coming back from a trip where you didn’t have time for everything you wanted to do.

You don’t want your weekend trip to feel like a waste of time. There might be specific things you want to do to entertain yourself while on vacation, like see a movie, go to a specific restaurant, see a show, go on a guided tour, or visit the zoo.

Create a vacation schedule for yourself so you don’t miss out on anything or unexpectedly spend money on tickets for something once you get there. By creating a schedule for entertainment ahead of time, you’ll know how you’re spending your weekend and how much each activity will cost. That way you can include your fun in your budget and not feel bad later for spending more than you thought you would.

Entertainment can also be the most flexible part of your budget and an easy place to cut costs. Maybe instead of paying for an expensive tour you pick up a cheaper tour guide booklet and see the sites yourself. Or maybe you can find free things to do like go to a public beach or nature park.

Download a Free Printable for a Weekend Getaway Schedule.

More Weekend Vacation Budget Tips

weekend getaway tips and tricks

Now that you know how to save on your 4 key weekend budget categories, let’s go over some other ways to trim your weekend budget.

1. Split the Costs

One great way to get the most out of a weekend vacation while still saving money is to bring a group of people and split the cost. By renting a cabin with a bunch of friends or family members, you can stay at a really nice place for a much more reasonable price.

Transportation costs can also be alleviated by inviting friends to tag along and help pay for gas.

2. Pack Light

Packing light will not only make your life easier, but it can save you in the long run. By not packing too much you won’t lose as many items in the hustle and bustle of traveling.

You also won’t have to pay extra traveling fees for having tons of luggage.

3. Don’t Spend Money Once You’re There

If you plan carefully and bring your own things, you can get away with not spending money once you reach your destination. Eat your own food and bring your own entertainment.

There are plenty of things you can do for free on vacation, like outdoor activities or going to state parks. You might actually enjoy just reading a good book by the poolside instead of filling your weekend with expensive and busy activities.

4. Look for All-Inclusive Options

Some resorts and cruises can be all-inclusive, meaning that you pay for your stay and they provide everything else. All-inclusive trips can also give you the best deal since one payment will pay for all categories of your budget. All you have to worry about is showing up.

5. Put Vacations in Your Budget Now

Planning ahead will always save you more, and that includes planning for your vacations now. Put away a little money each month into a fund just for trips. Then once you have enough to cover your vacation budget you can go, relax, have fun, and not worry about the money your spending because you saved it all up specifically for this.

6. Use a Prepaid Debit Card

Have trouble budgeting your spending once you’re there? Just get a Prepaid Debit Card and use that for spending on vacation. With a prepaid debit card, you won’t be able to go over budget and can protect yourself from your own money spending habits.

7. Long Weekends

Plan to go on vacation during a long weekend. That way you don’t have to use paid time off, and you can get an extra day or two of relaxation and fun into your weekend. Having a long weekend to look forward to can also make work more bearable, and give you a time frame for saving up.

8. Most Popular Weekend Getaway Locations

If you want to travel somewhere really popular, you definitely want to look for deals. You can use websites like kayak, travelocity, trivago, or airbnb to find deals on transportation, lodgings, and fun times. You can also use sites like the Crazy Tourist to see reviews about popular places and help you decide where to go and what to see on your trip.

Here are some examples of how you can use these sites to your advantage.

Getaways in San Diego

Trips to Santa Barbara

San Antonio Vacation Packages from $658

Las Vegas Weekend Break Hotels

15 Best Romantic (Weekend) Getaways in Rhode Island

New York City Weekend Breaks

Best Weekend Deals Los Angeles

San Francisco Cheap Vacations

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

How to Start a Fundraiser

How-to-Start-a-Fundraiser

We are surrounded by causes all the time, each one just as valuable to our time and efforts as the next.

Maybe you need to make money for your organization, for a club to function, or for a charity to give away. There are a lot of ways we can do our part for the causes closest to us, and having a fundraiser is one of those ways.

Explore this Guide:

  1. Pick a Cause
  2. Pick an Event
  3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics
  4. Advertise
  5. Give a Formal Thanks

1. Pick a Cause

First you’ll want to decide on a cause and define a clear purpose for the fundraiser. You can’t save the world all at once but you can put forth a concentrated effort on one topic and really make a change. Then you can find an organization that aligns with your purpose. You can find organizations worthy of your help in your local community or nationally.

To find some national charity organizations you can visit GuideStar.org. You can sometimes contact national or local charity groups in order to get their help, affiliation, or expertise on how to run a fundraiser for a certain cause. It’s also a good idea to find a reputable organization to give the proceeds of your fundraiser, as they may have better resources for how to use it effectively.

2. Pick an Event

more fundraiser ideas
 

Nothing makes people want to spend money more like making an event out of it. But you’ll want to determine the best type of event to make people aware of your cause while getting donations at the same time. Some events may be more appropriate for a cause than others. Either way, you’ll want to make sure the event is fun and engaging for the participants.

Fundraiser Ideas:
  • Car wash
  • Host a party and sell tickets
  • Marathon
  • Sell something:
    • food
    • seasonal buys, like chocolates and flowers for valentine’s day
    • tickets to a party, concert, talent show, movie night, or other event
    • raffle tickets for prizes
    • sport, tournament, competition
    • auction
    • yard sale
  • Carnival or fair with games and contests
  • Put on an event for kids, like a scavenger hunt
  • Offer lessons, like a cooking class

3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics

make plans
 

Your fundraiser is going to need a detailed plan with goals. You’ll need a budget for how much money you can afford to spend on the fundraiser event or endeavors. You want as much of the proceeds as possible to go to the charity, and not toward the event. One way to help pay for your fundraiser is to get companies and stores to make donations. For instance, if you are having a talent show for your fundraiser, you could speak with the owner of the venue to see if they’ll let you use the space for free as their donation toward your cause.

If you need funding to put on your fundraising event, then you can also visit Check City for a personal loan to help get your charity event rolling.

You’ll also need to plan your event, decide the date and time, book the venue, set things up, get any licenses you may need, decide how you’ll receive donations, and make any other decisions and plans necessary. You’ll need to get the necessary supplies together as well. For instance, if you’re having a marathon you’ll need to mark the path, bring water, cups, and snacks.

How to Organize Fundraiser Money
  • Open a bank account
  • Create a GoFundMe account
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Cards

Above all else, make sure that everyone at the event knows how to make their donations. Make an announcement explaining how to donate at the beginning and end of the event, and place the information to donate in a visible place.

4. Advertise

Before your fundraiser takes place you’ll want to advertise for it. First, figure out who your audience is. Who is also concerned about this issue and will want to take part in your fundraiser? If you are selling items or hosting a certain kind of event, what demographic and age groups are going to be most interested? Target these kinds of people in your advertising.

  • Print
  • Social media
  • Online website/events
  • Fliers to pass out
  • Ask ppl to announce the event
  • Start an event on Facebook
How to Start a Fundraiser on Facebook

First, you’ll want to visit Facebook’s Fundraiser Page.

Second, you can either choose:

  • raise money for a nonprofit
  • or a personal cause, like raising money for a friend’s surgery.

Finally, you’ll set your fundraising goals and start sharing and posting about your fundraiser to start getting donations!

You can also explore the Fundraiser page what all is going on in the Facebook fundraising world and see what other people are doing.

How to Start a Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook

  1. log into Facebook
  2. on the left-side toolbar, under Explore, click on Fundraisers
  3. from here you’ll choose a charity
  4. set your goals and time limit
  5. invite people to participate in your fundraiser
  6. post about your fundraiser, mention that this is what you decided to do for your birthday, and if you want, briefly outline why this fundraiser is important to you
  7. make sure you thank everyone who donated

5. Give a Formal Thanks

thank you notes
 

It’s important you thank everyone involved in the fundraiser. It’s a good idea to take a moment during the activities to thank everyone, as well as send out a gesture of thanks after the activity is over. You can send out thank you notes, post a thank you announcement on your website or Facebook event, or you can send out a trinket, or small gift of some kind to show your gratitude for their help in your fundraiser.

Make sure you don’t forget to thank:

  • everyone involved in making the event possible
  • the organization involved in the charity you chose
  • everyone who participated and donated

 

Supporting a worthy cause is a beautiful thing, and anyone can make one happen! All you have to do is know how to put on a fundraiser and contact the right people for help.

Some people have even found that after putting on their first fundraiser it turns into an annual event that their community looks forward to every year! So not only can a good fundraiser do a lot of good in your community and in the world around us, but it can also bring your community closer together.


READ MORE

Learn some more tips about “How to Set up a Fundraising Event.”

Read about the benefits of charities by reading, “Charity Gives Back More Than It Takes.”

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

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