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Organize a New Club

Building a new club in your community is a great idea!

It will benefit both your members and your community. Most of the 50 member clubs affiliated with TGOA/MGCA across the country have two primary activities and goals--

  • Gardening education for members and visitors at
  • Improving the landscape and general condition of green space in the community

Take a look at the club activities of multiple clubs across America to learn something about the activities of our clubs. This listing is a good starting point for your club.

Affiliation with our national organization, The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America, has many member benefits. Our organization has a proud history and we would be proud to have you as part of our future.

Contact the president of one of the member clubs near you and they will help sponsor your new club. Or contact one of our national officers, national directors or regional officers and you will get first-hand advice and help in getting a club organized in your community.

Or, contact us at our national headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, and tell us you want to start a new club --you will receive a prompt response. We will be glad to provide you with detailed information on starting a new club by providing you a brochure, "How to Organize a Men's Garden Club or Gardeners of America Club", which gives detailed information on how to do this--this will be sent to you promptly. You will also receive copies of our bi-monthly TGOA/MGCA Newsletter, plus other descriptive material about The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America. Also, one of our members will contact you promptly by telephone or Email to offer personal assistance and suggestions.

In general, the suggested plan for organizing a new club includes these steps:

  1. Pre-Organization
  2. Early Organization
    1. Concept Meeting
    2. Second Concept Meeting (optional)
    3. Charter Meeting
  3. More Details

Pre Organization

Develop a prospective member list of prospective members:

  • Friends and acquaintances at work
  • Fellow church members
  • Graduates of the Master Gardener course
  • Known gardeners from your County Demonstration or Extension Agent
  • Suggestions from leaders of organized garden clubs in the area
  • Suggestions from the sponsoring club or other nearby TGOA/MGCA clubs
  • Nurserymen, garden center owners and employees
  • City Parks personnel, Community Beautification leaders, etc.
  • Garden editor of the local newspaper and radio station
  • Life Members or At-Large Members of TGOA/MGCA (names available from National)

Additional Suggestions:

  • Post invitations on church, civic club, business bulletin boards; also at supermarkets, etc.
  • Seek local newspaper and radio publicity via Garden Editor, write Letter to the Editor, etc.
  • Contact Senior Citizens groups, Master Gardeners, organized women’s garden clubs, etc.
  • Sponsor a garden clinic, garden tour or plant sale for the pubic
  • Talk to your Chamber of Commerce
  • Talk to your County Extension Agent

Early Organization

Concept Meeting:

  • Call together a group of gardeners (maybe 10 or more) who have a) personal interest in gardening and learning to be better gardeners and b) who are interested in community beautification to discuss organizing a Men’s Garden Club or another unique garden club to be affiliated with The Gardeners of America/Men’s Gardens Clubs of America
    This group might include one or more of the following persons:

This group might have been developed from prior activity such as:

  • Effort of a near-by "sponsoring club" of TGOA/MGCA interested in building new TGOA/MGCA clubs
    (A manual, "Sponsoring a New Club Affiliated with TGOA/MGCA" is available from National.)
  • A newspaper or radio appeal for interested gardeners to organize
  • A local group or person familiar with TGOA/MGCA who encourages a new club and promotes its value to the community
  • Not essential, but consider arranging a brief but effective program on some phase of gardening for the first meeting
  • Discuss the many potential advantages to and enjoyment for prospective members and value to the community of a unique garden club affiliated with the national organization "The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America"
  • Discuss what other TGOA/MGCA clubs do and why they are important to both their members and to their community—maybe members of the sponsoring club or other close-by clubs will meet with you. (Club Activities)
  • Discuss the value of being part of a nationwide group of gardeners. (Member Benefits )
  • Get names, addresses and telephone numbers of attendees
  • Appoint a temporary leader and a secretary to take notes
  • Ask each person to tell his/her interests in gardening and gardening activities and identify expertise of attendees
  • Distribute copies of The Gardener magazine and other literature furnished by the TGOA/MGCA office. If not available, request this material for the next meeting. (Contact Us )
  • Ask each member present to develop a list of 10 or more prospective members and contact them
  • Decide on time and location for the next meeting which might be a Second Concept Meeting or the Organizational Meeting. (Locations might include a garden center, social room, cafeteria, restaurant, school, church, member’s home, etc.; the location be permanent or temporary--this can be decided later)
  • Discuss potential club dues, based on TGOA/MGCA dues of $15 per year and an initial charter fee of $20 for the new club. Dues of many clubs are low ($30 or even $20) and supplemented by projects such as plant sales, calendar sales, etc.
  • Arrange for a horticulture-related or community beautification program for the Organizational Meeting and begin development of future program topics
  • Begin to identify future community beautification projects of interest and value
  • Mention the "Spade Club" and "Life Membership program of TGOA/MGCA
  • Appoint or elect a Nominating Committee of three people to report at the next meeting names of persons willing to serve for the balance of the year as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer (and Newsletter Editor, if possible)—or defer this action until the next meeting
  • Appoint someone to prepare a news release to obtain publicity and potential members (see suggestions in Manual)
  • Promote strongly the concept of recruiting new members while enthusiasm is high—a minimum of 10 members is necessary to charter a TGOA/MGCA club

Second Concept Meeting (Optional):

  • Review all items suggested for the Concept Meeting
  • Plan details for and time/location for the Organizational Meeting
  • Invite representatives of TGOA/MGCA national or regional, or from a local club, to attend
  • Welcome all attendees by the temporary leader and report on:
  • previous activity by the concept group
  • value to the members and to the community of a new, unique garden club
  • importance of organizing a unique garden club affiliated with The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America
  • the types of activities in which other TGOA/MGCA clubs participate
  • Hear nominations from the Nominations Committee and elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer (and a Newsletter editor, if possible) to serve for the year.
  • Welcome the newly elected president to preside.
  • Clarify the time, dates and location of future meetings
  • Explain the importance of the forthcoming Charter Meeting (preferably the next meeting).
  • Encourage every attendee to recruit new members who may become Charter Members at the forthcoming Charter Meeting.
  • Decide on dues and collect dues along with names, addresses and telephone numbers of all Charter Members present. (Many clubs subsidize dues through plant sales, sales of TGOA/MGCA calendars, etc.)
  • Discuss the name for the Club, to be confirmed at the next meeting.
  • Select a Nominations Committee or ask your new officers to recommend Directors and other officers for election at the next meeting.
  • Select a group to prepare By Laws for the Club to be adopted at the next meeting. Generic By Laws are available from National. By Laws conforming to those of TGOA/MGCA are required.
  • Consider, very preliminarily, possible community beautification or other projects and special interests of the Club as well as program topics and presenters.
  • Introduce the horticulture-oriented program for this meeting.
  • After the meeting,
  • Notify the TGOA/MGCA office , the TGOA/MGCA Regional Director (or the President of the Region) and your sponsoring club of completion of your Organizational Meeting and specific date and plans for your Charter Meeting.
  • Expedite submission of the following to the national office of TGOA/MGCA to assure receipt of your official Charter prior to your Charter Night meeting and that members begin receiving The Gardener and the Newsletter:
    • Your Petition (available in Manual or from National).
    • Your list of 10 or more Charter Members (available in Manual or from National) with mailing addresses. Additional charter members may be added at the Charter Meeting and submitted immediately afterwards. Your check for the Club’s Charter Fee (currently $20).
    • Your check for Membership Dues (currently $15 per member, or $7.50 if submitted July 1 through November 30).
  • Arrange for all members to be notified of the next meeting, preferably via a "newsletter".
  • Publicize your next meeting using the news media, bulletin boards at Garden Shops and Nurseries, post cards, a news-letter, etc.
  • Confirm the program for the next meeting.
  • Arrange for plants or other garden-oriented materials as door prizes for the next meeting.
  • Arrange for light refreshments (e.g., cookies and apple juice) for after adjournment of the next meeting

Charter Meeting:

  • Arrange in advance for attendance of TGOA/MGCA national or regional officers, members from the Sponsoring Club and/or active members of other nearby TGOA/MGCA clubs.
  • Arrange for a few key members to greet everyone.
  • Give a hearty welcome to all and introduce guests by the President.
  • Ask attendees to introduce themselves and share their particular garden interests.
  • Hear recommendations by the Nominations Committee and elect Directors and other officers.
  • Confirm the official name of the Club
  • Approve club By Laws, if not done so at a previous meeting, and attend to other housekeeping chores.
  • Introduce a representative of The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America to welcome the new club and present its official Charter (and perhaps present the keynote speech).
  • Arrange for the person most responsible for organizing the Club to be presented the Gold Spade Pin and Spade Club Pins to all members responsible for recruiting two or more members (obtained from TGOA/MGCA office)
  • Encourage guests and visitors to join and become Charter Members (allow them to sign the Charter Member list and pay their dues).
  • Encourage recruitment of new members and bringing of guests for the next meeting.
  • Introduce the gardening-oriented program for this meeting.
  • Promote attendance at the next meeting.
  • Distribute door prizes.
  • Invite participation in discussions during informal refreshment time after adjournment.
  • After the meeting
  • Open a bank account for the Club, if not done previously.
  • Add names of new Charter Members to the list and submit to National along with their full addresses (with zip plus four) and Membership Dues (currently $15, or $7.50 if submitted July 1 through November 30). The Charter Fee should have been submitted with the Petition previously.
  • Assure that the Treasurer and the Secretary make permanent entries of all Charter Members for the Club history and for due recognition.
  • Ask the Treasurer to send full and accurate names, addresses, including "zip plus 4" codes of all members to the national office along with names and offices of officers with their telephone/fax numbers and Email addresses.
  • Remind the Nominations Committee to select Directors for election at the next meeting—terms are normally staggered to insure continuity.
  • Arrange a meeting of the President and officers to plan programs, suggested projects, etc. prior to the next meeting, work with the By Law committee, etc.
  • Arrange for publicity for the forthcoming meetings.

More Details

Details on the following subjects are included in the "How to Organize..." manual:

  • Mature and Ongoing Clubs
  • Information Order Forms
  • Awards
  • Life Membership
  • The Petition Form
  • Charter Members Form
  • Sample letters for prospective members
  • Sample media and news releases

Go to the Contact us page and request your organizational kit and a personal contact from The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America.

The TGOA/MGCA staff, Regional Officers, or near-by clubs are prepared to assist you with promotional material and information--and to help you in any way possible to organize YOUR new club.

This page last revised on: 08/19/16

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