The Organizational Meeting
The time and place for your organizational meeting are up to you. If the invited group is small, you may decide to meet in the home of one of the organizing committee members. If you expect a large group, hold the meeting in a school, church or library community room, or neighborhood hall. Stamp clubs meet in many places, including recreation centers, company facilities, schools, colleges, banks, community centers, museums, libraries, members’ homes, churches, retirement centers – even on board a ship in San Diego, California!
Select a temporary chairman to conduct the meeting and a secretary to record actions taken. The chairman should outline the purpose of the meeting, pointing out the advantages to be derived from a club. The chairman then should invite general discussion. The following actions should take place early in the meeting:
- Determine what the members want from the club.
- Determine what types of programs are of interest.
Decide how large an area the club should serve. Do you want to restrict it to a city or county, or should it encompass a larger area? The climate and/or geography of the area, for example, may dictate the club’s service area, especially if you want to hold meetings year-round. (Many clubs hold fewer meetings in the summer vacation season, but some clubs in harsh weather states find winter meetings poorly attended.)
Select a name for the club. Some clubs are named after the city in which they are located – for example, the Boston Philatelic Society or the Chicago Philatelic Society. Other clubs are named for famous people with a local connection – the General Francis Marion Stamp Club, the Henry Clay Philatelic Society, or the Dolley Madison Stamp Club. Other clubs choose names reflecting a local landmark, nickname, natural site, etc.: Nutmeg Stamp Club, Mount Nittany Philatelic Society, Monterey Peninsula Stamp Club, Razorback Stamp Club.
One club that has done away with all the problems related to climate, meeting place, and other physical concerns is what is touted as the world’s first Internet stamp club: the Virtual Stamp Club.
Plan to establish a club website with appropriate links for members and potential members. This is a place where you can offer digital distribution for your newsletter, post schedules, reminders, sign-up sheets, surveys and more. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest can be valuable publicity tools as well.
Establish where, how often, and when the club should meet. Explore all low-cost options for meeting places, such as community centers, churches, schools, etc. Some of your potential members may know of unusual locations, such as a conference room at their workplace, which would not usually be known but might be available because of the employee’s connection with the club. A local stamp or hobby shop might be willing to host meetings. Most post office buildings seem to have crowded conditions, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if there might be a meeting room available at your local post office.
Set dues to cover projected expenses. Consider lower rates for students and senior citizens, as well as family memberships.
Select Officers as soon as possible, to create the leadership base necessary to move ahead. Maturing clubs sometimes experience a leadership vacuum, with members unwilling to take on officer roles. A new club can help to prevent this by involving as many members as possible in some official role, even if it’s bringing cookies to the meetings. Get your members in the habit early of being active members, not just meeting attendees.
Sharing offices is another way of overcoming members’ reluctance to take on official tasks: having two secretaries or a treasurer and an assistant treasurer makes the job seem less overwhelming, and also spreads the knowledge around. Losing an officer can be a problem, but if someone else has been helping in the duties, the this can ease the transition.