It has been a while since I was recruited to return to our local radio club first a Secretary and for the Last Year as Secretary/Treasurer.
Putting together systems to streamline minutes and reporting hasn’t been too hard.
Here are some of the things that seem to work well:
Having a Written Timeline: Presently I am working on updating my Task Calendar to help anyone following me know when various events & tasks come due. I’ve been through enough cycles now to have captured most events.
Getting Periodic Written Statements: Previously we’d only had electronic banking, which meant a couple step process to print out teh backup documentation needed to be an effective treasurer. Adding monthly paper statements mailed to us was an easy call. Now it is a simple matter to reconcile against the bank’s ledger.
Use Templates: I happen to use an Apple Mac with OS-X “Pages” software to do minutes and “Numbers” to do the financials. I created and save “templates” that do 90% of the formatting every month. Makes it pretty easy.
Email out PDF copies for Review with Deadlines: To the officers I email a PDF for copy for their review and proof reading, including a “get back to me date” where Minutes get published and posted online and Financials are printed for discussion at the next meeting. Use of a PDF puts the responsibility for any requested edits on my back, but also keeps version control well managed. The comment by date takes a bit of cooperation and trust, but works well to keep things on track.
Use a Blog Format for Publishing Minutes, Announcements and News: We chose WordPress for ours, and it makes it so simple to put things up for the membership. Everyone knows where to look.
Handle on-off needs with one-off responses: Some members simple forget to look at the club blog – so we offer a “subscribe to blog” feature and for a few who have asked I forward the WordPress announcement to their email addresses. In the past we had a blind member involved, members who had dyslexia, and members who just didn’t do computers at all. We had paper copies at the meetings and arranged for a volunteer reader for other cases.
Keep things together: I’m only part way on this, as I was give a nice file box, but there were also file cabinets, missing files, and lots of loose papers. When I am done it will be simplified and organized with a record copy in the club room files and all working documents in the take-away file box.
Record Retention, Back-Up and Purge Process: I’m lucky to have access to a couple scanners and have emailing record copies of important documents to “the cloud.” Eventual plan is to scan in the decades of old minutes into an electronic archive. Would seem likely that the several file drawers and banker boxes of ancient records could be archived to a single small thumb drive. When the legal requirement for retention has elapsed the paper copies mostly can go.
Streamline to Single Focus in Internet Presence: In the past we had two websites (a regular site and the parallel blog), reflectors (email lists) on Yahoo Groups/Google+/Through Our Hosting and Through a Club Member’s Donated Server – and it was a huge mess. We also had Facebook, Twitter and Google+ things going. All this has been streamlined down to the WordPress Blog which will post to the social networking accounts when the blog is updated.
Forget About Trying to be Everything to Everybody: Be all ears for suggestions, but consider whiney noise as a signal that the member is volunteering to participate. We had members who want everything emailed to them, some who wanted paper copies mailed, some who were mad “how dare we spam them with emails” as they only wanted to look at the website – all different ideas and needs. Well we just do it one way – posting to the blog, except for reaching out to those have an actual need for something different.
Do without Volunteers who are over-commited: Don’t elect them, reelect them and don’t be afraid to negotiate a different role for their participation if they don’t have the time or skill set. Be sensitive to members who “have something come up” with their lives (health, family, work, unemployment, marriage, grief) that temporarily sidelines them. Just get on with it and bypass them when they can’t fill their role.
Remember it is only a CLUB: You can’t run a Fortune-500 company this way, and as long as everything remains transparent, compliant with laws, and honest, remember the goal is to make the “business stuff” of the club support the activities and fun of teh club membership. Don’t make the mistake of putting the Fun second.
Everyone has their own style, but this seems to be working for me.