Starting and Running a Clan
Every clan in history has had a starting point. Whether it's a group of friends or a group of random people, a clan has always started with a small group of people and that's where their journey began. However, many clans have failed and that's because of a number of factors. I will go over the basics in this guide, but it's ultimately up to those involved on where a clan will go.
The first question you need to ask yourself before you start planning is do you have enough time to devote to starting a clan? Starting one is going to require a vast amount of work from you as an individual. How long will you play per week? Are you interested in what you want from your clan? Do you have the patience to deal with both the best and worst of times? Do you have the patience to deal with both the best and worst of members?
These are a few examples of what you can ask yourself, but whatever you do, you have to put in all of your effort or none of it at all. The beginning of a clan will be a lot of work and will take a great deal of time to start off. This part isn't meant to discourage you - it's just merely meant to introduce you to the reality of starting a clan.
Once you are confident enough in what you are doing, you need to come up with a plan. What sort of clan are you trying to make? This answer can be many. You can be making a PK team, a skilling clan or even a castle wars clan. Once this is figured out, you need people to help you out. Do you have friends or family who are willing to help you start the clan? Having multiple people will only help you. Once you figure out the type of clan, you will need to figure out the rank structure. What is a rank structure? Quite simply put, it's what ranks you want in the clan and how they mark in terms of a hierarchy.
Notice how I tried to minimize the amount of ranks. This is because when you start off, there's no need to have tons of ranks. The amount of ranks you need is proportional to the amount of members that you have. If you were a skilling clan you can replace the rank of Warlord with Event Coordinator.
Now that you have the ranks, what will each rank be responsible for? The possibilities can be many. You can have Councils deal with punishments and overall running of the clan, Warlords will deal with wars (or in my skilling example, the event coordinator will be responsble for scheduling events and taking activity) and Leaders will deal with everything overall. Who will be accepting applications? Who will be keeping track of activity? These are all examples of questions that you need to ask yourself.
Last, but not least, you need to think of a name. Often times, try not to think of something that's too obvious or too simple such as 'The White Knights' or 'Army of Zamorak'. Your goal is to make it unrelated to RuneScape so the name becomes unique. Members are more likely to join a clan that has a unique name rather than something out of Runescape. However, this is ultimately your decision.
For the purpose of this guide I will create a clan called 'The Treetrunks'. It will be a combat clan, but due to the basic nature of this guide it's important to note that many of the features can transfer over to a skilling or minigame clan.
Communication is a vital part of any clan. Whether it's information about events, an audio server or rules, it's very important to have. Here you have many choices. You can create your own forum using a free service, you can make your clan entirely based around the RuneScape Official Forums, you can use the forum that the new clan features provide, or you can even have a forum hosted here on Tip.it! More information is in the Useful Links section.
In the example below you can see I created forums for specific purposes. The Leadership Discussion forum was added for the leadership of the clan to discuss different issues. The members forums each have a specific purpose - from general discussion to events posted. There is also a separate area for applications as well as guest discussion. Why did I add a guest part of the board? A major part of your clan's community will be communications with guests. If guests can see a great community, they will be more inclined to join.
Remember that this is just one example of what you can do. Keep in mind should you use this option that creating forums works the same way as ranks. Creating too many forums will just spread out any activity you have. Since you're starting out, you shouldn't expect a great deal of members to join immediately, so it's best to minimize the forums as much as possible. In the case of requesting a single board, you can just simply have everything compacted into one. Often when you first create a clan there is no need of applications which will allow you to deal with each incoming member on a more personal level which is why a public forum is often not necessary.
Communication shouldn't be restricted to just that, however, because a clan's community can be so much more! If you can get enough members, you can create a clan citadel and a clan chat (you can view a guide on the official Runescape website here). In-game communication is great to have and will be your primary source of member-member relations but just be aware that more formal announcements can be more suitable for a forum or website.
Another example of what can be used is IRC. IRC is a chat system that is free from restrictions that are on Runescape. It allows you to easily share links and have easy access to communication with other clans. To access IRC you can use programs such as mIRC or use webclients such as Mibbit or those provided on each network's site.
Other methods can include a Teamspeak/ventrilo server or Skype. If you are starting a combat clan or team it's often necessary to have one of them. If you are a non-combat clan then Skype may work better. Most clans starting off work with public teamspeak servers since they are free and once you create a channel you have full control over it. Once clans get larger, however, they may require something more such as an entire server.
Expanding on Your Basic Idea
Hopefully as you were creating your clan you had thought of other ideas as well. If not, then it's perfectly okay too. Now that you have your forum/communication system set up, you need to be able to come up with things such as rules and how power will be distributed. Both of these sound very simple but they are very important at the same time. I'll start off with rules.
Rules seem pretty simple, right? There is a list of things you can and cannot do. But what becomes complicated is when you are trying to create a system for these rules. The most commonly used system is a three strike system with the addition of other punishments such as suspensions. Obviously each offence is more serious than another, so you have to ask yourself some questions. What type of punishment will constitute a strike? What sort of punishment will constitute a warning?
Using the Treetrunks clan, I created a short list of rules and punishments for each.
Make sure your members are clear on what they can do and cannot do, but don't give information overload. Find a good balance between the two.
Anything you wish members to know can be posted on your forums as a sticky/pinned topic. One example can be a rules topic.
When people first start joining your clan and you want to have people to help you out, you can promote people to specific ranks. However, you have to keep in mind security of the clan and its features. Say you have your own forum and you want to give someone Council. If it isn't required for them to have access to the admin CP, don't give it. If it's a part of the job that you want to give them, then give them it. Giving too many people access to sensitive areas of the board will only encourage more problems to arise. This doesn't have to be power abuse, but if someone has their account compromised you want to make sure everything is as secure as possible.
Now that your clan is setup (or close to it), you can start recruiting new members. The basic idea is to put the word out as much as you can about your clan.
One commonly used method is creating a recruitment topic. Recruitment topics are topics created by a clan to encourage onlookers to join. Fansites (such as Tip.it) usually have places to put these topics. You can find Tip.it's recruitment section here. I encourage you to read over any topics there because they can give you a general idea of how you want your recruitment topic to look like. Don't be discouraged if you see a very well laid out recruitment topic because all it means is that the clan has put a lot of effort into making it. You can do the same thing and I highly encourage you to work hard on it. This is because your topic will be compared to others when potential members are looking for a clan and you don't want to be one of those that are overlooked.
It isn't just restricted to a recruitment topic because often times members look for clans that are active. If you become more active and start doing PKing/combat events you can start posting the results of your wars in war recap forums on various fansites (eg. Tip.it's Wars & Run-ins).
Possibilities for recruitment are endless. Just be creative and you will be rewarded in the end.
Dealing With Members
When you finally get members coming in, it's up to you and your leadership team to deal with them. You may be able to keep up events, but what if they start misbehaving? You have to think of how you want your clan to be run. In clans it's a great experience because the atmosphere is often relaxed which allows fluidity. Just remember that since you and your leadership team is running the clan. You are directing your members to where it will go. If you find yourself with a problem member, try and acknowledge what the problems are. Often an issue can be dealt with by communicating with them and anyone else involved. If that doesn't work, you have your punishments that you set forth in the rules.
What is a slump? A slump is a period of time where your clan isn't performing as well as it was before. This will happen to every clan, I can guarantee it. They typically happen after a period of great performances and turnouts. There is no magical solution to slumps. The only way clans are brought out of them is through time. It may take weeks or it may take months, but eventually every clan will pull out of a slump if they work hard enough at it.
The first step is to ensure that your leadership team (including yourself) has a positive attitude. If you have a positive attitude, it will only encourage members to do the same. Problems arise when everyone becomes demoralized which further dampens performance.
Your next step would be to continue having events. If you stop having events, then your members will lose interest which will just make everything worse. If you're a combat clan, try aiming lower but at the same time you have to keep fighting at a good level. Many clans make mistakes where they start fighting clans that are far below their level so that they can pull wins off only to lose more members in the long run because they are looking for more of a challenge.
Those are the best ways to get out of a slump. Wondering why I didn't mention recruitment? Yes, you can recruit out of a slump, but there is no guarantee that those members will stay. If you can get recruits then it's great, but you have to focus on your core member base instead of focusing on new members.
Many clans have extra activities that make their clan more enjoyable.
For example, you can host a clan awards session.
In my example clan 'Treetrunks' I'm hosting a summer awards session. (Depending on the size of your clan, you can change the frequency of these awards.) We have a vote setup by the members in several categories.
Afterwards those who win would win small underbanners with the award they won and their name on it.
Leading a clan can be a worthwhile experience. Just know that since you are the leader of the clan that you need to be seen as the individual to talk to should something be wrong. You may not necessarily know all the answers, but you need to know how to adapt to various situations. The clan will not only follow your example, but the clan can only be as successful as you want it to be.
Being a clan also includes many sacrifices. Since it takes such a large amount of time, it can often interfere with real life. Everything you do is ultimately your decision and wherever you lead is mostly decided by that - just be sure to find an appropriate balance between real life and being a leader. At the end of the day real life should take priority. Should you hit that wall where you are unable to continue, you should either give it up to someone else who has the time, or should you find yourself in a situation where your fellow leadership team members have the same problem, you can consider closing the clan. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but it only should be done if it's the last option that's available to you.
Original Guide by: Killerred005
Last updated by: tripsis
Last updated on: 09-11-2011
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