The University experience in the UK has been put on pause over the past year and a half due to COVID-19. Lectures have been mostly virtual, campuses have been closed and meeting new people has been harder than ever. It’s no wonder more than half of UK students were dissatisfied with their social experience in the 2020 autumn term.
Luckily, that should all be about to change. With the slow return to normality this year, universities are moving back to in-person learning for the start of the 2021/22 school year – and with that, student social life should be making a comeback.
So, what does this mean for your society? Maybe half your committee members have graduated, and you’ve been left to mentor their replacements, or maybe you see this as an awesome opportunity to put your spin on things.
Either way, Square can help make things easier with our handy guide to streamlining your student society’s finances. Read on for helpful tips on how to start a new society, or just keep your current one ticking away.
The Power of Student Societies
Most students probably don’t see societies as anything more than a string of awesome welcome parties during Fresher’s Week, but they’re actually a pretty powerful tool for students. Not only do they serve as the fail-safe way to meet like-minded people and forge long-lasting uni friendships, if you’re brave enough to get in on the admin side of things, societies give you fantastic experience of all sorts of things, from events management to finances to merchandising. And because you’re working on a team of your friends and peers within the society committee, you’ll be having great fun while gaining valuable experience.
The opportunities are endless, too, if you create a committee, students will come! Ready to get started?
Starting a Student Society
Apply: Societies need university approval to run, and the key to gaining this green-light is demonstrating longevity. Sure, you may be passionate about something incredibly niche that you’re convinced needs a society, but how many events can you actually squeeze out of your idea? Remember, you’ll have to give your members reason to return for a whole year.
Committee Creation: This is where you can start practising the skills that will not only look great on your CV but equip you with the sorts of traits that are vital in the working world: management, teamwork, leadership etc. You’ll need a team to help run your committee, so choose wisely. If your final year has arrived, make sure you commit some time into training your replacements though and let your legacy live on!
Funding the Fun: It’s pretty unlikely you’ll be able to keep your society running without an injection of cash every now and again, not least because you’ll probably want to offer your members snazzy hoodies, t-shirts or other merchandise declaring their membership. Charging a joining fee, or even a continuous member fee is a common way to make sure there is a society budget you can count on. Many universities offer grants and other helping hands to keep societies running smoothly, but it’s still down to you to keep on top of the money going in and out of your society, after all, in the flurry of late night partying or twice-weekly outings you may burn through the budget a lot faster than you think.
Handling Student Society Finances
University is equal parts fantasy (classes three times a week and partying the other four?!) and reality check (how do you use a washing machine anyway?) — student societies are no different. On the one hand, you have a club of like-minded individuals who all love that thing you thought no one else in the world even knew about, on the other, you now have the responsibility of taking care of them, and the money they have voluntarily handed over. How can you easily manage student society finances or fees? Square has the tools.
The fun days of uni are never going to change, but the haphazard way societies may have traditionally handled cash and payments definitely can! Whether you’re a tiny society looking to sell the hand-printed t-shirts your artistic members have made or part of the student union and selling uni merchandise from the student bar, on the steps of the library or in the lobby of the dorms, Square makes it easy, secure and totally cash-free.
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Square for Students
Whether you’re a high street giant or a brand new student society, Square’s integrated payment system is ready to help you. Here are just some of the ways Square can support you and your society:
Here are just some of the ways Square can allay the worries of those wondering about just how to run a student society:
Completely cash-free: Square Reader is small, portable and stylish and can be paired directly with your phone via bluetooth if that’s how you choose to roll. It’s also our most affordable in-person payment solution at just £19. So, you can accept contactless cards, chip and PIN and digital wallets easily, without breaking your budget.
Less stress: You might be a little freaked out at the prospect of having to keep an eye on so many serious aspects of your society – especially as it’s meant to be a light-hearted part of uni. Square’s free POS app makes it easy to take payments, send receipts and manage your society finances. You could even add some of our integrated apps to help keep things organised and on schedule.
Marvellously mobile: In more ways than one! Square runs from your smartphone or tablet for a pretty effortless payment solution, but it also lets you get out there and have the uni world know about your society’s offerings. Have your society being represented all over the place during Fresher’s Week – in dorms, in the halls or along the street on your way to your next lecture - with easy multi-location management it doesn’t matter where you are, you can finalise sales, sell tickets to your next big event, get that membership started and know your society has a rosy future ahead of it.
Make sure your society is well represented during Fresher’s Week – in student halls, on campus or along the street outside – with easy multi-location management. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can finalise sales, sell tickets to your next big event, get a membership started and know your society has a rosy future ahead of it.
Online presence: After a year of virtual events, your society’s online presence has never been more important. Set up a free online website with Square Online so your members have a place to go for all the latest news, events and updates. You’ll also be able to use the site as an online storefront, where you can sell all of your society’s branded merchandise and other goods.
And don’t worry if you’re not a coding whizz – there are plenty of website templates to choose from to help you get started. Pick one and customise it to suit your needs, with online ordering on-site, booking options for any classes you host and even an area for society donations.
Smooth checkouts: Whether you’re planning a society trip during reading week or you’re hosting a couple of events throughout the year, Square Payment Links is an easy and affordable solution for collecting online payments.
Just set up pay links or QR codes to share with your society members via text or email for membership renewals, group activities and your annual society ball. That way you can ensure fast payments and track who has signed up to each event.