Starting a new club

Starting a club is fun and rewarding. There is a bit involved, but if you get it right, it makes operating the club so much easier down the track.

There are several steps required to properly set up and register a not for profit club, including the legislative and legal requirements.
Starting a club can be divided into six steps.

1. Call a meeting with potential members to assess the need and discuss the formation of the club. You should consider:

  • Will your club meet a need in the community?
  • Are there other similar organisations locally?
  • Do you have enough support, volunteers and members to run the club?
  • Are there suitable facilities available?

2. Plan the meeting. You need to include the following:

  • Have a clear meeting agenda
  • Agree on a name for the club
  • Establish an interim committee.

3. Create a constitution (otherwise known as rules) to govern how the club will run. A basic template, known as the model rules, can be downloaded from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) website.

4. Call the first annual general meeting (AGM). At this meeting, you will need to:

  • Agree on and adopt the constitution
  • Agree to incorporate (clubs must have at least seven members to incorporate)
  • Elect a management committee in accordance with the constitution
  • Keep the minutes as an official record

5. Register and receive an Australian Business Number (ABN).

6. Create bank accounts in line with OFT Regulations.  Accounts must:

  • Be in the name of your association
  • Be kept in a Queensland branch of your chosen financial institution
  • Require at least two signatories to access funds.

Other things to consider in the early stages of club setup include:

  • Obtaining a common seal
  • Insurance
  • Hiring or leasing facilities
  • Affiliating with the governing state organisation for your club (if applicable).

Terminology

There are some basic terms that you should understand when you set up your club. These include:

Incorporation

An incorporated association is a legally separate body. It has the same powers, benefits and responsibilities as a person. For example, an incorporated association can, in its own name:

  • Own property
  • Sign contracts
  • Appear in court.

An incorporated association is legally separate from its members. This means that:

  • The management committee makes decisions for the association
  • The association becomes legally liable for these decisions
  • Individuals on the committee who act in good faith, within the law and in the best interests of the association are usually not personally liable.

Your incorporated association must:

  • Comply with the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 and the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999
  • Review its financial affairs every year
  • Lodge copies of your constitution, annual returns and financial statements with OFT.

The public can access copies of the documents that you lodge with OFT.

Not for profit

A not for profit organisation does not operate for the profit or gain of its individual members, whether these gains would have been direct or indirect. This applies both while the organisation is operating and when it winds up. ‘Not for profit’ does not mean ‘no profit’. A not for profit organisation can still make a profit, but this profit must be used to carry out its purposes and must not be distributed to committee members, members or other private people.

A not for profit association’s constitution will contain clauses that specify the limitations of how profit can be applied.