There are, of course, challenges (and solutions!) to running a DUDES Club. Here are some from both members and providers. This list is by no means exhaustive. Please feel free to email us if you need help - we love hearing from startups! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inevitable in any group context. Make sure to get to know group members and mediate potential conflicts.
Client-staff power differentials
Make sure that all staff and members are well aware that the DUDES Club is for men, by men. The members are the main decision makers.
A lack of institutional support can be a barrier—make sure to get any institutional support in writing. Many organizations will sign “letters of support” for community groups.
Change of leadership within the DUDES club or within the ost organization does happen. Be prepared for this—keep good records in a safe place, take detailed notes at meetings to share with new leadership, ask for certain agreements in writing, etc.
There will be other programs or priorities for the community. Be aware of these and be reasonably sure that the DUDES club will provide a unique value to the community, and thus likely to succeed. Look into collaboration.
This can be a large barrier—lack of housing severely restricts an individuals ability to participate. Having a housing advocate in your group can help men obtain housing and improve attendance.
The location of the meeting place is a very important consideration to make, especially in rural areas where many people may live remotely. The reputation of the host organization should also be considered in terms of accessibility—will people be comfortable with others knowing they visited a particular building or service?
This can be a challenge in communities with poor transportation and a widely dispersed population. Weather can impact member turnout, particularly in winter in Northerly regions. See if you can secure transportation through donated bus tickets, borrowing an institutional vehicle, etc.
The public will have pre-conceived ideas about a men’s only club. Be prepared to explain the DUDES Club to people in the community. We like to explain it as a “brotherhood for men’s health and wellness.”