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mordred's avatar

What should the rules of our club be?

Asked by mordred (39 points ) August 7th, 2011

I am part of a group of like minded enthusiasts who have formed our own club for our hobby. As our group has grown we have began to disagree about how things should be decided and differences of opinion settled without upsetting someone of making ridiculous compromises.

One big disagreement is about if founding and longstanding member should have more say than other members. Perhaps people who do more for the club should also have more say as well? I think all members should be treated equally and given a fair say or vote because we all make the club what it is and own it equally. If people don’t feel like it is their club as much as anyone else’s they will not want to become as involved or enthusiastic and feel a part of the community. They may not stay loyal to our club and may join another or start their own.

I want to propose we settle things by a member’s ballot, with rules only being sanctioned by a majority of ten or more votes. The will be a committee (of key members) who shall have power to make, alter, or rescind such decisions they may consider necessary for the management of the club, provided that such alterations be in accordance with the rules of the club. I think the committee should be ‘key’ people not necessarily based on length of membership.

I am a fairly long old member myself and very involved with the club, do you think I should propose this or is there a better way? How do most clubs come up with their rules? What are some systems used for making decisions in the real world like in government or for professional societies?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

How are the key members elected? By vote of the membership?

I do not think that there should be special levels of membership with special privileges.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Watch the episode of Frasier were Niles and Frasier argue about their wine club. Unless you are a giant consern with money changing hands and wealth and what not, I would go with a constitution system.

The boss is the piece of paper, and all other members get and equal say.

JLeslie's avatar

I am social chairperson for the Porsche Club Mid South Region. We have a core of about 40 people who are very active, our total membership is over 300. I don’t think you mentioned what exactly your club os enthusiastic about? That might help us with the suggestions.

The way we do it is we have a president, VP, secretary, treasurer. and social chairperson. The normal succession is the VP this year becomes the president next year, and the secretary becomes the VP. Usually someone new to the club who is demontsrating they want to be very active gets asked to be secretary the upcoming year. The normal succession is their to kind of avoid anyone being in one position too long, or so there is less chance of favoritism or hurt feelings. It turns out our treasurer has been the same for many years, which we are fine with and so is he. Our VP has been the same for two years, because one of our members who had not been on the board for several years is dealing with his second bout of a very serious cancer, and he asked to be President this year; we all agreed. He had been a President previously, was still active in the club, and was the lead on our big 25th anniversary party this year anyway.

If there is someone who wants to have a lot of influence over what events we do during the year, they can of course be on the board, and work their way towards being President, and that year he will have final say, and make that year what he wants it to be. With an anticipated succession plan in place, everyone knows they have to kind of take turns being in power so to speak. Not that it is a heavy handedpower of any sort.

We have some regular events we do throughout the year, Third Thursday dinner, Oktoberfest, summer pool party, christmas party, autocross once a month for about half the year once a month. Then we usually add in at least one road rally to a location. We have two track events at the local track in Memphis. The social chair and President decide where the dinners will be (taking suggestions from anyone who has one) and maintain the website, keep everything running.

We do have some rules we follow that were actually written down in case there is ever some sort of conflict. There rarely is.

I don’t know if my answer was helpful at all?

zenvelo's avatar

I belong to a bicycle club of about 250 members, of which 100 are very active, about 40 or so show up for the monthly business meeting. The club was started long before the internet, but has had a very active email list for over 15 years.

We have a board of officers that are permitted to make emergency decisions, and are also allowed to sanction or expel a member who is disruptive or gets out of line (i.e., starts to make personal attacks on people). This has happened twice in twenty years. The board is elected every year.

Our bylaws require any motion to spend money or change club policy or rules to be announced in the monthly newsletter before being brought up for discussion at a meeting, the discussion to be published in the minutes in the next newsletter, and then brought up for a vote at the next meeting. You must be present at the meeting to vote.

We put on a Century Ride every May; the VP is century chair. In June someone was concerned about authorization for spending century funds, because there had been money spent on something relatively expensive, and the justification was questionable, and should have at least been approved by the chair. So now we are working on a policy and procedure, one that doesn’t hamper people doing the tasks they volunteered for, but still keeping some control. We don’t expect this to be fully resolved until October or November.

For us the goals of bylaws were:

-don;t structure the club to be a clique that deters new people.
-recognize people who want to get involved.
-encourage the old timers to tell us why a policy was adopted, not just “that’s the way it’s been done.” Traditions are great if they make sense, but if carefully reviewed to be no longer relevant or working, don’t be afraid to try something new. (remember, do something two years in a row and it has become a tradition.)

-Like Fluther, free speech is good, as long as it is not personal or attacking people in the club.

Coloma's avatar

I think there should be an equal sharing of decision making, regardless of who or how long certain members have been involved.

Just because some people do not wish to be more active in the club in no ways demotes their share of input. I think the question is ” Do you ALL want to have FUN, or, do you want to play puffed up ego games and toss around seniority which, WILL, ultimately, alienate a lot of members?

People are FREE to do as they please and there is no right/wrong to how much others participate, that is a personal choice and to hold oneself in higher regard is arrogant and shows a need for superiority rather than a sense of community good will.

When I first joined Fluther I had a person tell me that because I was a newbie that I should tread carefully as they were a senior member!

In other words, don’t challenge my status! LOL

Really…wow, talk about self appointed grandiosity. Gimme a break! ;-)

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Excellent question. This is the purpose and reason for “politics”. Your club needs to have a purpose, a reason for being. You should collectively determine – and very carefully state in writing – what that purpose is. You should be able to agree on this purpose, or you’ll find that some members have other purposes, and that’s what gets you working at cross-purposes, which is not good for any organization. You might consider your purpose to be covered by a “mission statement” if that’s not too 90s.

Once you have determined an overall purpose or reason for having the club in the first place, then you should develop “club policies” that support the purpose. These should also be done collectively and with widespread agreement. Policies should be relatively simple statements about particular club objectives and plans, so that “procedures” can be adopted later with these policies as guidelines.

You may not achieve 100% agreement on purpose / mission statement, but since this “purpose” will for the most part determine the future development of the club, there should be an agreement before you even attempt to define it that it will have to be agreed upon by at least 75% of the membership, up or down, before it can be adopted. This is why wording – and a certain amount of generality – is important.

After the club’s “purpose” is established, your “policies” may be adopted with lower majorities, but since these are still so central to what you’re all about, you may also want to ensure that these central policies be adopted with supermajorities, say 60% minimum. Requiring this kind of majority opinion ensures that most people in the club will be in agreement for the most part.

Jeruba's avatar

If you don’t have bylaws, you need them. They should embody and be consistent with the club’s self-definition and reason for existence.

•  Remember that when there’s a problem, you may have to resort to the bylaws to solve it. Don’t write them with only the good times in mind.

•  Make them clear and unambiguous. No matter what your intent, when they’re used it’s going to be all about the actual words.

•  Don’t try to make a rule for every situation. Rather, set down principles that can apply to situations that haven’t come up yet.

•  Include safeguards. For instance, if decisions can be made by members present in person at a meeting, make sure there is also a definition of a “meeting” and a provision for giving adequate notice of the meeting so it can’t be packed and hijacked.

•  Be sure to include a method of amendment.

If you Google “model bylaws” you may find some help. You could also look up bylaws for clubs similar to yours and adapt them to your needs.

john65pennington's avatar

Take a paper vote and elect a president. This person will organize and maintain your club. You have to have a leader that everyone agrees to abide by.

Without organizations, you are just a bunch of people going nowhere.

filmfann's avatar

Decide if you want a Republic or a Democracy. In the Democracy, everyone votes on everything. In a Republic, you elect a council to guide the club.
And the first rule should be that you don’t talk about the club.
So should the second rule.

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