Club meetings can be hard to plan for and one main reason is it can be difficult to come up with ideals over and over again. Sometimes you get last minute cancelations and need a fall back plan. A club that plans well in advance will see benefits for the club, from more members, happier members, informed members, more press releases and newsletters. Look at a magazine like QST and how they plan. The QST magazine for the Solar Eclipse issue came out in August 2017, the eclipse was August 21st. I received my magazine in July. QST most likely started planning for that issue 9 to 12 months out so it would be ready to go to the printer and then get mailed out in time for you to get it before the event.
The club board and elected officials need to have a say so in what is going on, it should not be left to the club president. He or she is too busy in most cases. Some clubs I have seen have a handful of members that do almost everything and that can lead to burn out. This does not mean the board should do the planning for the meeting but I think someone should be the point of contact for each month and the board can go to that person to make sure the meeting is on track. The president and vice president should supervise and give direction and not be the ones that does everything for the club. They have a hard role, everyone is volunteers but someone has to ensure the volunteers do the job they volunteered for. It is a thin line but elected board members and volunteers have to be held accountable for what they are doing or not doing.
I think if you can tie in one meeting to the next it would get people’s attention and they would realize that this is a club that plans well and it may drive attendance up along with membership.
Planning a meeting has a myriad of things to do. It is not just showing up. Below is a list of some items that may need to be completed prior to the meeting.
1. Make sure you have a place for the meeting.
2. Microphones and speakers if needed. Some people have a harder time hearing and if you are in a location that has a lot of background noise then these times can make a huge difference.
3. Computer, Projector and cables if needed. (does it all work together).
4. The presentation on a flash drive and handouts if needed. Will the presenter have items to demonstrate. If so, make sure those items are set up before people arrive. Have someone help them set up and take down those items.
5. Chairs and tables.
6. Sign in rosters.
7. Handouts for new attendees.
8. Food, drinks, plates, napkins, forks, spoons, condiments, etc etc..
9. Preparing information on status of club to give to members, club minutes, budget, repeater status, etc. (The official business of the club)
10. Know who will introduce the speaker.
11. Press release (If media does show up who will welcome them)
12. Who takes photos for the club newsletter (if there is one, and there should be one)
13. Have copies of your newsletter to hand out.
14. Invite local leaders to those special club meetings. I think if you invite them to every meeting it will become standard for them to decline.
15. Make sure you know what the next month meeting is and announce that at the end of your meeting.
16. Announce social media presence so members know where to get information.
17. Post before, during, and after your meeting to social media outlets.
18. Annouce upcoming training and testing.
19. Each board member should be there to talk and answer questions about their area of responsibility. If they can’t be there then who speaks on their behalf?
20. Ensure you put the location back to the same way it was when you arrived. Tables and chairs up, trash out, etc. etc.
Below is an example of monthly meetings that I came up with for a Hawaii Group but it could be used for any club anywhere.
-January – Battery power Battery / Power Storage
-February – Alternate energy that ties into the previous month power storage class (Wind, and solar power, generator and generator safety)
-March – repeater operations and start talking about September Emergency Preparedness month
-April – contest basics / DXing (this leads into both the ARRL Field day event in July and the HI QSO party in August) Also can touch on September Emergency Preparedness month as you get ready for hurricane season
-May – hurricane preparedness for start of season in July for Hawaii
-June – SKYWARN class, get Everyone certified or rectified and it leads into hurricane season for July.
-July – field day event (most likely no meeting)
-August – simplex Ops /tips (get ready for Hawaii Grid Madness in September and Hawaii QSO party)
-September – This is emergency preparedness month.
-October – Information on positions in the club and what they do and what is expected of them if they hold a position. This can help recruit for positions and leads into November elections)
-November – thanksgiving meal / elections
-December – a mini field day to close out the year (most likely no meeting)
As I stated earlier, you will have last minutes changes. An event may happen and you need to change topics or your presenter drops out or doesn’t show up. If you are prepared then you can get through it much easier. Always have something in your briefcase that you can talk about.
This is by no means a complete list. You can use it and add to it and please let me know what you think should be added or taken away. If you have ideas for club meetings please pass that along. Don’t make those handful of people do all the work. Some like to do everything but a club will be better if everyone does something.