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How to Start a New Key Club

Are you interested in starting a new Key Club at your high school? This page serves as a resource for how to start a new Key Club in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, or the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. 

Where should I start?

First, we recommend reading through this page to understand the process for chartering a new Key Club. You can also read more about Key Club on this website and We also recommend that you reach out to the Key Club District Administrators at

Step 1: Obtain approval from your school or other host organization.

In order to start a new club at your high school, you first need approval from the school administration.

The vast majority of Key Clubs are hosted by a high school, but not all are. A Key Club can also be hosted at a community center, such as a Boys & Girls Club or YMCA. There are even some "home school Key Clubs" arranged for students who are home schooled within a geographic region.

Step 2: Secure a Faculty Advisor.

The school or other host organization will need to appoint a faculty advisor. At a high school, this is typically a teacher, guidance counselor, administrator, or other staff member. Some schools may "hire" a parent or community member to advise Key Club the way they would hire a coach for a sports team who is not otherwise employed by the school.

Some Key Club faculty advisors are more active and involved than others. Key Club is a student-led organization, but faculty advisors play an important role in guiding students through the process of planning projects, running meetings, and organizing the club. Moreover, there are certain functions, such as collection and payment of dues and registration for District and International events, that should be conducted annually by the faculty advisor. In other words, the faculty advisor does not run Key Club, but they are also not just a signature on a form.

Are you considering becoming a faculty advisor to a Key Club? Contact with any questions.

Step 3: Contact the Key Club District to identify a sponsoring Kiwanis Club.

Key Club is the high school level of the Kiwanis Family. It was created by Kiwanis to help high school students learn leadership skills while serving their communities. As such, Kiwanis Clubs sponsor Key Clubs in their communities.

Not every community in New England has its own Kiwanis Club, but that doesn't mean that your Key Club can't receive the benefits of Kiwanis Sponsorship. Please contact to ask our District Administrators for help in identifying a sponsoring Kiwanis Club. Depending on where you are, we may be able to pair you up with a Kiwanis Club in a nearby community, a regional Kiwanis Club, or the eKiwanis Club of New England and Bermuda.

Benefits of Kiwanis Sponsorship:

  • Connection to the larger Kiwanis organization locally and regionally.

  • Partnership with a Kiwanis Club to help each others service projects and fundraisers.

  • A Kiwanis Advisor, who will help support your Faculty Advisor and serve as a liaison between Key Club and Kiwanis.

  • Financial support, including access to grant funding from the Kiwanis Foundation of New England to cover your Key Club's charter fee and start-up costs.

A Key Club can charter without a sponsoring Kiwanis Club; however, we do not recommend it. One of the primary benefits of Key Club over a generic community service club is that it is part of the global Kiwanis organization.

Step 4: Recruit members.

A new Key Club needs a minimum of 11 members to charter. We recommend that you aim for more than that, ideally at least 20-30. Key Clubs needs a roster of up-and-coming leaders to continue your great work when the founders graduate.

The $400 Key Club International charter fee covers dues for the current school year for all members listed on your charter roster. We recommend not rushing to submit the charter roster if students are still recruiting and joining Key Club. The more, the merrier!

Step 5: Elect officers.

Once you have recruited a core number of members (at least 11), you should hold an Organizational Meeting. At this meeting, you will elect your officers.

Key Club International prescribes the following officer positions for Key Clubs:

  • President

  • Vice President

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Editor (optional)

  • Webmaster (optional)

  • One director elected by each class (i.e., seniors, juniors, sophomore, freshmen) to represent their class on the club board (optional)

Step 6: Submit Paperwork

Now it is time to submit your Petition to Charter! This online form should be submitted by whoever is paying the charter fee (i.e., the faculty advisor if the school is paying or someone from the Kiwanis Club if Kiwanis is paying). That is because it will generate an invoice at the end to allow for the payment to be made online or by check. 

Whoever is submitting the online Petition to Charter will need the following information:

  • Name of sponsoring Kiwanis Club

  • Name of Kiwanis Advisor

  • Name and email address for school principal (or other "Host Director")

  • Name and email address for Faculty Advisor

In addition, you will need to email the Roster Form to

Once Kiwanis International has received (1) the online Petition to Charter form, (2) the charter roster, (3) the charter fee, and (4) a Kiwanis International-required background check for the Kiwanis Advisor, they will process your charter and mail a charter kit to you containing a gavel, gavel block, membership pins and handbooks, and your official charter.

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