How to Start a Ferret Club

by Pamela Troutman

Courtesy of Shelters That Adopt & Rescue Ferrets, PO Box 1832, Springfield, VA 22151-0832

I have had several people ask me how they can start a club. For those who might be interested in my input, I have written this "pamphlet".

Before you start

  1. Contact other Ferret Organizations for ideas. Also contact local breeders/shelters/pet shops that keep records on who has purchased a ferret that live in your area. Ask if you could do a mailing based upon their address database. Let them know you are starting a club and give them information and/or business cards to pass out. Contact the people that are referred to you and ask if they would like to get involved in a club.
  2. Decide on a location where ferrets are welcome. Some animal shelters, pet shops or public facilities have community rooms. Libraries usually do not allow animals.
  3. Set a meeting time/date that will be as convenient to as many people as possible.
  4. Contact local newspapers and put in an ad or a Public Service Announcement "calling all ferret enthusiasts" for the start of a new ferret club. State when the first meeting is, the location and time, whether ferrets are welcome or can not attend, and a phone number people can call for information.
  5. Put notices or business cards in local pet shops, veterinarian clinics and animal hospitals, feed stores, grocery stores and shopping center bulletin boards. Put a large sign up at the meeting place a week or two ahead of time if possible. (I do not recommend a poster in front of your house if that is where the meeting ends up.)

At your first meeting

  1. Have people sign in with their name, address, and phone numbers, plus the number of ferrets they own. Make everyone feel welcomed, even if they don't have ferrets yet.
  2. Ask what people are interested in: learning about ferret care, having ferret activities like a fun match, fund-raising for the club or a good cause, events for ferrets, a rabies vaccination clinic, working up a ferret rescue network, starting an education program, pet visitation program for the elderly or children, legalization of ferrets, etc.
  3. Decide on a club name. Have several choices ready to discuss, but accept new ideas.
  4. Discuss any other meeting places if this one is not convenient to the majority of attendants. Also discuss the meeting time and dates. Pick the next meeting arrangements.
  5. Discuss what positions need to be filled in the club. Suggestions are: President, Vice President, Secretary - have someone volunteer to take todays minutes, Treasurer - set dues or membership fee, Publicity Chairman, Newsletter committee, Education committee.

    Ask for nominations or volunteers and if more than one person would like a slot, have them submit a "resume" for the first newsletter/club mailing (set deadline) and then vote at the next meeting.

  6. Pass out some information. List local veterinarians that you know of who treat ferrets. List knowledgeable people on ferrets in case someone has questions. List where people can purchase ferrets and products for ferrets (Ferret Stuff, Modern Ferret Magazine, Safeguard cages, etc, plus local pet shops). Get information from other clubs and sources. All of these lists can be expanded during the life of the club, so date everything.
  7. Ask your club members if they would like to affiliate with a national ferret group. Ask organizations "Why should we affiliate with you?" and vote on an affiliation at a later club meeting. An affiliation is useful but not necessary until you decide to put on a ferret show.

    Don't drag out the first meeting. If people look bored or restless, move on to another subject, ask for input, or if there are any questions. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know, can I get an answer to you later?" If there is not a good turn out, try again. Ask the people who did attend if you can send them flyers so they can post them in their area. Ask everyone to bring a new person with them to the next meeting. Ask what they want to make of their club. Don't fall into the trap of "This is my club and we will do what I want and my way". You won't have any help in doing projects and no one will have any fun. The most important thing is - relax, have a good time and make some new friends.

For more information, contact Pam Troutman at <> or STAR* Ferrets, PO Box 1832, Springfield, VA 22151-0832

Last modified 15 Oct 2001