How to Start a Red Cross Club

What is a Red Cross Club?

Imagine hanging out with your closest friends and helping your community at the same time – you’ll be able to do just that when you start a Red Cross Club! A Red Cross Club is an extension of the local Red Cross unit, whether it is a Red Cross Chapter, Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) Station, or Blood Region. Therefore, aside from opportunities for training and leadership development, you will have the ability to choose mission-related activities that address your community’s needs while delivering the life-saving services of the Red Cross. You will plan and implement projects that will save hundreds of lives from blood drives to disaster preparedness education.

Steps to Starting your Red Cross Club Checklist

□ Recruit a Few “Start-Up” People

  • Recruit 3-6 people to help you get the Club up and running. Share this guide with your new recruits so you can work together to set up your Club.

□ Find a Sponsor/Advisor

Find a sponsor. Your ideal candidate is likely to be a member of the faculty/staff at your school who has:

  • A strong commitment to working with young people and is well-respected among the students.
  • Experience working with young volunteers.
  • Familiarity with the Red Cross. Training certificates from the Red Cross are a plus. Your sponsor could also be a parent or community volunteer.

□ Get Approval from Your Local Red Cross Unit

* Your local Red Cross Unit should be the nearest chapter, blood region or Service to Armed Forces (SAF) station to where you live.

  • Contact your local Red Cross Unit. Ask to speak with the person who is responsible for volunteers or specifically youth volunteers. In a chapter or SAF station, this person is commonly known as the volunteer manager or youth coordinator.  In a blood region, this person would be a donor recruiter who deals with youth. Search for your local chapter by zip code at redcross.org.
  • Set up a meeting where you can visit the unit and find out about the requirements it has for starting a Red Cross Club. During that meeting, get someone from the unit to be your primary contact (Red Cross Unit Contact). This person will be key to helping you and your Club get connected.  If your local chapter is far away, you could also have a phone meeting.

□ Get Approval from Your School

  • Find out what requirements your school has for starting a club. This is especially important if you want to receive school funding or resources, such as meeting rooms and permission to hold events on campus.
  • Put together a presentation that articulates the benefits of having a Red Cross Club in your school.
  • Your school may also require you to have:  a Club Constitution, club leadership positions, and a club sponsor – all of which you will find in the Red Cross Club toolkits!

□ Register Your Club

  • All members of your Red Cross Club are considered volunteers for the Red Cross and must register with your Red Cross Unit and in Volunteer Connection, our online volunteer resource.
  • Note:  In accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, people under the age of 13 cannot be registered in Volunteer Connection, but can still be a member of your Red Cross Club. Members under the age of 13 must complete a parental consent form and submit it to the local unit to be recognized as a volunteer and Club member. Your local Red Cross Unit will provide this form.
  • You’ll also need to Register your Club in Volunteer Connection.

□ Hold the First Club Meeting

  • Invite your Red Cross Unit Contact to join in the meeting to answer questions and provide support and guidance in setting up the action plan for the Club.
  • Find out what interests the members and brainstorm activity ideas. Activities must align with Red Cross lines of service starting with blood, preparedness, and fundraising.
  • Collect contact information for all your members so that you can publicize the next meeting.
  • Prepare for elections: inform members about available positions and request applications.
  • Announce when and where the next meeting will be held.
  • Provide information to Club members about how they can sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer and officially join the Red Cross Club.

□ Keep in Touch with your Red Cross Unit

  • The Club and the sponsor should make sure that they keep in touch with the Red Cross Unit, especially your unit contact when starting the Club. Keeping in touch will ensure a better working relationship and more support in the future.
  • Submit your Club Activity form after every Club activity and/or service project on your Red Cross Club’s GroupShare page in Volunteer Connection.
  • Track and submit the hours that your Club members spend volunteering for activities.

Check out the Red Cross Club toolkits for more helpful hints on how to start and grow your Red Cross Club!

Find a Red Cross Club

Are you wondering where our Red Cross Clubs are located? Is there a Red Cross Club at your school or in your community? Check out the Red Cross Club Listing page.  The page provides an overview of the registered Red Cross Clubs in each state and allows you to see details about specific Clubs. You can search by zip or city and can filter by age group within your state.