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Free Memberships for Astronomy Club Board Members

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#1 Darren Bly

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 02:21 PM

Hi all,

Do any of the astronomy clubs out there offer free memberships to their board members as a perk for being a board member?

Darren in Bakersfield

#2 Kyphoron

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 02:37 PM

The only perk that anyone should get for being a board member is the satisfaction that you are taking an active part in keeping your club up and going. I can say this because I am a board member of my club and I don't expect anything for the job that I do except the enjoyment of the club members.

 

To me this is a hobby and the perks, not only for me but other fellow members are being able to observe together and having a great time at meetings being surrounded by other people who share the same interest. If a club starts offering perks to be a board member I think you may get board members for all the wrong reasons and one that really doesn't care about the job that they have taken on. Being a board member is not for everyone so why encourage those that shouldn't to become one?


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#3 iam1ru12

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:22 PM

Hi all,

Do any of the astronomy clubs out there offer free memberships to their board members as a perk for being a board member?

Darren in Bakersfield

 

Things can get tricky when you start to give things out for free or at a discount to some members and not others  Would the perk be to entice more members to become board members or get involved with running the club?  Or are the membership costs going up to much.?  

 

-Mike



#4 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:12 AM

I am a board member of a large club. We as officers and trustees of the board get the same perks as the volunteers do. Small things like volunteer staff shirts and the like, but no membership discounts. We have 2 public nights a week at the university owned observatory operated by 6 teams plus a Saturday open house once a month. The telescope operators have to be certified every year. Yet we have plenty of volunteers for that. We had gaps at times in the board officer slots. We had the officer part of the election in by acclamation the past few year as each of the 4 slots had only one or no candidate. The 8 trustees had 1-2 more candidates and these were by written ballot. It is not the enticements that will bring in more officers, but the people themselves lacking time for this responsibility. We had many young VP's who had to drop out of the next election due to new parenthood. 

 

Joe



#5 edwincjones

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 05:16 AM

Perks for the elite seems like a bad idea   4.gif

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 01 September 2019 - 05:17 AM.

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#6 mich_al

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:02 PM

Perks for the elite seems like a bad idea   4.gif

 

edj

The proof's in the pudding.



#7 iam1ru12

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:28 PM

Perks for the elite seems like a bad idea   4.gif

 

edj

 

Define "elite?" Just because you volunteer in some sort of service or leadership capacity does not make you elite.  I find elitism is more of an attitude rather than a position.

 

The proof's in the pudding.

Meaning you are "for" or "against" perks for volunteers?

 

 

I kicked off a program within our local club this year called the "volunteer t-shirt" program in the hopes of enticing more members to volunteer for outreach events by earning points towards club apparel.  It's only been 8 months and we've not had as many events this year due to the horrible weather so I'll defer on commenting on the success of the program.  In my club's case, annual membership is $25.  So when you compare the cost of the t-shirt to the cost of membership...is there a difference between a free t-shirt or a free membership?  I'm not trying to make a judgement call here but rather add to the discussion.  Should everyone have to pay the cost of the admission?

 

-Mike


Edited by iam1ru12, 01 September 2019 - 12:36 PM.

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#8 Darren Bly

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:34 PM

Would the perk be to entice more members to become board members or get involved with running the club?

-Mike


That's EXACTLY the reason it was suggested. Our club dues are amongst the lowest at only $25 a year. It would be a thank you for your hard work. It has become difficult to get board members.

#9 Darren Bly

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:39 PM

Perks for the elite seems like a bad idea 4.gif

edj


ANYONE can be a board member since all members vote for board members. How can that be "elite"?

#10 Darren Bly

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 12:55 PM

Perhaps I should explain a little more. We are a club about to celebrate our 70th anniversary. I have been a member for over 40 years and have been every board member except Treasurer. Over the last 25 years it has become harder and harder to get members to serve as board members. By club rules we are not allowed to have open board positions but each board position has been filled by acclimation for over 15 years. In the meantime the club membership has grown by 1/3 and attendence in public and private events has doubled. We are looking for a perk to get more people involved the running the club.
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#11 edwincjones

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 01:54 PM

Why do members not want to become more involved in running the club?

 

edj



#12 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 02:09 PM

Perhaps I should explain a little more. We are a club about to celebrate our 70th anniversary. I have been a member for over 40 years and have been every board member except Treasurer. Over the last 25 years it has become harder and harder to get members to serve as board members. By club rules we are not allowed to have open board positions but each board position has been filled by acclimation for over 15 years. In the meantime the club membership has grown by 1/3 and attendence in public and private events has doubled. We are looking for a perk to get more people involved the running the club.

Ditto. 70 is not too far away with our club as well. It has almost always been hard to fill the E-Board slots. Only once that I remember that all of the officer slots at election had 2 or more candidates each. That was 1991. It took me 2 tries to get on the E-board back then. We recently had a shake-up on our scholarship committee due to attrition and lack of meetings. One member of that committee is an outsider, usually an educator. We reached 600 members last year. 

 

Joe



#13 Darren Bly

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 02:21 PM

Why do members not want to become more involved in running the club?

edj


I don't know but I am in other clubs and in all of them 5 to 10% of the members do 80 to 90% of the work. Are you a club member? Do you see something similar?
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#14 iam1ru12

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 05:16 PM

I don't know but I am in other clubs and in all of them 5 to 10% of the members do 80 to 90% of the work. Are you a club member? Do you see something similar?

Darren,

My local club recently turned 40; our membership has flexed between 130 & 170 since I joined in 2006.  I was on the board for 5 years but had to to step down as I felt I needed to support organizations my kids we’re involved with at that time of my life.  However I’ve always stayed involved as a committee head of some sort.

 

Our club is no different, the same for us, where 5%-10% do most of the work.  It was the same when I was Den Leader & Cub Master when my boys were in Cub Scouts as well as when I was on the board for my daughter’s band boosters. It seems that’s the case in most volunteer organizations.

 

We tried imposing term limits on our various elected positions and that seemed to help a little; it spread the load around but has resulted in members switching around positions rather than introducing newer blood.

 

There are many factors contributing to this but I think on of the biggest is people fear the commitment and not knowing what they are doing.  I tried to get our club to write up specific job descriptions for each elected position and committee head but that never got any traction. 

 

-Mike



#15 Alex McConahay

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 07:41 PM

I don't think "free" membership is what you are after. People have to feel it is important to do the work. In my experience the best strategy is to specifically ask people to do specific small jobs. Those who do them well and with enthusiasm, ask them to do bigger jobs. And then when the offices come up, ask them to do those. 

 

That is how volunteerism works best in my experience. 

 

There is not enough money or other financial incentives to motivate somebody to do what they do not feel important (in this setting.....same is not true in life in general). 

 

Alex


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#16 MikeBOKC

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 07:27 AM

Nope, everyone pays the same in dues and in fees for the annual Okie-Tex star party, member, board member or not. We are quite elite though in that we are granted special privileges like daily emptying of trash barrels at Okie-Tex, staffing registration tables and assembling the registration packets beforehand. 


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#17 Jimmy462

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 07:58 AM

Looking back to the early days of my local astronomy club, the operation, at that time, had been the brainchild of a local amateur and their close friend and the paid membership was barely 100 after 5-years of their labors. Exhausted from the lack of help from fellow club members our two pioneers reached out to the membership and a few of us stepped in the help with the operations and we all began to formulate some plans to get the club properly organized with positions which would need filling.

 

Within a year of that occurring we created posts, reached out to the membership as to the importance of having folks involved to help make the club vibrant, and after some concerted efforts, cajoling and patience we gathered enough candidates (one for each slot! ha!) and held elections and filled all the positions. 25-years on, the club is as active and vibrant as ever.

 

What I learned from those experiences was that it was, first and foremost, important to convey to the club that "it cannot function on the efforts of a few individuals alone and that folks need to be involved or the club will have to dissolve". The second most important lesson was to understand that "folks want to help, they just don't know how best to be helpful...so show them". (Credit, where credit is due...I got those sagely advice tidbits from two dear friends who had already been down this road working as volunteers at two other local volunteer not-for-profit groups! wink.gif )

 

So we set out to determine what the membership felt were the goals of the club and then set to create plans and pathways to attaining those goals and to give clear direction as to the various points of involvement where one could join in to help make those things happen.

 

So, what ended up happening was that those who enjoyed our public events could either be the Events Coordinator or help out to make those events happen, those interested in our publication could be the Newsletter Editor or help out with our monthly member mailings and local library deliveries, those who like tending the books could be Treasurer or help out there, and those who enjoyed rustling kittens could shoot for President or VP or be in their assistance (ha!) etc., etc..

 

A clear plan, a map, and a boat with a sail help get folks motivated to go somewhere and have a good time! Having enough paddles to get around on calm days helps, too!

 

Perks? Those are the perks!

 

My thoughts, smile.gif

Jimmy G

(former Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, Westchester Amateur Astronomers, NY)


Edited by Jimmy462, 03 September 2019 - 08:01 AM.



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