Up and down the UK (and possibly abroad as well) Border Specialist
Clubs are struggling to survive. Now what I am about to say will be
known by many of the fanciers involved in the clubs but still we struggle
One of the biggest problems is a lack of administrators and in general workers in the clubs.
The thought of taking on a post within the club terrifies most people who offer up the excuse I can’t do that or I can’t write letters or organise the way some people do it. Believe me anyone can do any of the jobs, however what you need is time. The time taken for one man to run a club can be excessive but if you break all of the tasks down to simple jobs you spread the load and stop one man from feeling put upon, and make others feel wanted. Let’s start with the simple meetings (monthly/quarterly or whatever). The meetings will take the form of an AGM, Show Schedule details, Judges, Show preparation, Show report, Patronages, Guest Speaker, or a General Meeting where the members just get together for a chat and a beer.
You need someone to organise each of the jobs which are going to happen at all of these meetings and it is better to have one person for one job, preferably with a backup in case of illness or non attendance.
The first thing to do to start the ball rolling is for someone to arrange the meeting place (pub/club/community centre/someone’s house or a garden shed (yes I know of a meeting in garden shed)). It doesn’t matter where you are as long as it is acceptable to the people attending. In this day and age when some pubs or clubs are not open every night you need this person to ensure that your meeting place will be available on the night in question. This is a simple task which currently nearly always falls to the secretary to sort out. This is never a problem until the room is not available then all members have to be contacted to inform them of a cancellation or a revised date, this very rarely happens by the way.
Club funds are a necessity and so someone has to be responsible for the fund raising on the meeting night (raffle prize(s) could be one member) running the raffle/domino card/bingo or whatever turns you on should again be the responsibility on a member. No great time consumer here, once a month 20-30 minutes and done. Money will be collected (raffle/donations/subscriptions) and so we now come to the treasurer. All you need to be a treasurer is a little black book (like the kind you used for all those women’s telephone numbers when you were young) and a pen, log every item of income and every item of expenditure throughout the year. You need someone honest and trustworthy to do this job, best not to get a homeless druggie, he might wander off with the money. And so you are now set up to run a meeting, you now need a minute secretary, again not a horrendous task, just a minute book and a piece of paper to write down actions which need to be completed either before the next meeting or due on a set date. If the minute secretary has the confidence he/she can read out the minutes from the last meeting, if not sure then the chairman or the secretary can do this task for them. Well we are now flying, what is required next will have been organised at the AGM, namely a chairman and a secretary. Chairman should know what will be happening broadly at the meeting and the secretary is going to keep the meeting ticking along and picking up actions either for the secretary to action or to pass on to another worker.
Also appointed at the AGM would have been a president of the club, the president is really just a figurehead and would not get too involved unless the club was being wound up or some disaster had occurred, like the police find cannabis growing out of the back of the meeting place, the president’s job would then be to convince the Chief Inspector that it was just hemp seed growing from some discarded seed that the birds had left.
So we now have a fully functioning meeting with nobody doing all of the work and a few being involved, those left sitting around feeling either smug or left out are now going to have their opportunity of joining the team.
The different meetings each raise their own challenges and opportunities for involvement, early in the year if your club does patronages you need a member to be patronage secretary (a title is good, it makes you feel important and wanted) to arrange with the other specialist clubs for patronage at your own show and you will get requests from other clubs for patronage for themselves. Patronage can involve quite a lot of paper, envelopes and stamps but the stamps and the envelopes are all the same and if you have access to a photocopier the paper is more or less the same. You basically need only three pieces of paper, patronage request forms, patronage return forms and a description of what you want the receiving clubs to put in their schedules. You can if you are careful squeeze all three on one sheet. You will also need another little black book to log in who has applied for patronage and what patronage you have given them. Now I am not going to lie to you, patronage request and returns can take up a bit of time, the upside is, for patronage requests, you should (if the other club is any use) be using their form, fill them in, send them off, 2 hours, job done. Patronage requests coming in to you, you can save them up and then do them all together, log the details in the little black book, fill in a returns form and a club details form for the schedule to be sent to them, they should send stamped address envelopes with the original request, stuff the forms and the rosettes or whatever in the envelope, stick on a stamp, seal the envelope and you have now worked (another 2 hours) hard enough for you to warrant a trip out to the pub for some light refreshment, via the post office.
By now this club is steaming ahead and a grand team of workers are sharing the load.
You will need judges for your annual show and never, I repeat never give this task to one man, it is incumbent on the whole meeting to suggest and agree judges. In yesteryear there were hundreds of judges and each judge had a mate who was as good as he was who he could bring along if you wanted to save on travelling expenses and so get two judges together. Picking judges these days is can be a nightmare, Fred won’t have him and Tommy can’t stand him and really there are not enough judges to go around or to be picky. Once the meeting has agreed on judges and reserves or backups in case of rejections, the member allocated to this task only has to either contact them first by telephone/email and then write inviting the judge to attend your show, with a stamped addresses envelope for his reply. Simple eh!
Once the reply has been received, report back to the next meeting and you will be a hero for organising judges, actually on the night of the meeting you are allowed to paint a big S on your vest and wear your underpants outside your trousers.
Another meeting is the schedule meeting where the club members sit around and discuss what is to go into the Show Schedule for the ensuing annual show The meeting to agree classifications and specials money nearly always goes off smoothly, well maybe not smoothly but relatively smoothly, well maybe not relatively smoothly it can be a nightmare.
Anyway the schedule need to be produced and so if someone has a computer and a photocopier they will be delighted to take on this role, one hour to change schedule (after initial creation last year), 2 hours to print schedules (depends of course on how many you need), 2 hours to put schedule together, don’t forget the entry form, job done. You can of course splash the cash and pay someone to do it depends how rich the club is.
Up to now we have spread the workload nicely and everyone is happy, well almost everyone. Any member without a job by now will certainly get one in the next instalment, sharing the load in the build up to the show, the actual show and the aftermath.