Within the last week two events have occurred in differnt communities put on by two different organizations. Both events took place during a hot and muggy day. Each event secured donations from local businesses and members. Each organization put out flyers, had articles in the paper, put ads on their webpage and bent the ear of many a person with news about their up coming fundraiser. Both organizations were providing a community service and hoped they would be able to make a little profit for future activities. After all was said an done each experienced a modest turn out. So, what was the difference and how did it effect the two events and its members?
The location and co-operation from the manager of each facility was one key factor. A working relationship between an organization and a facility manager is a must. If that relationship is not established from the get go it can help make or break the over all experience the people will have that attend the event as well as the people who put on the event.
One facility was clean, ready for clients and came with a professional attitude and staff doing everything they could and then some even to the point of making suggestions on ways to make the event even more successful for all involved.
The other facility was in disrepair, not furnished with the proper necessities, including minor but important items for the restrooms, which should have already been in place and cleaned. The various areas of use had to be cleaned several times before being considered safe and functional. The working relationship from the get go was if you want it – it will cost extra. The sad part is that with just a little TLC to the facility and a cooperating attitude of professionalism from management this could be a great money maker for it’s managing board and provide a unique service to the community.
The second factor was the support received from each organizations membership. I was raised to believe that you joined a church, organization, club and etc. because you had a common belief or interest and wanted to help promote that interst and/or provide a service to your neighbor and community.
The “Reality” is that it doesn’t always work that way and I have for the life of me to understand why not? One group stepped forward, work together and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. However, the large majority of members of another group were what I call members “Missing In Action” as they were no where to be seen. The active members were tired from a long day of work and left with unanswered questions including as to why wasn’t there a show of support from our other fellow members ?
Have they forgotten what their organization is all about? What happen to the belief of cause and purpose that brought them to seek membership in the first place? Don’t we care about our fellow members, accomplishments, success, goals reached and services provided?
Is it easier to pass the buck and let your fellow members do your part; after all you did pay your $25.00 to join so why should you have to participate? Isn’t this a social club? Such an attitude but reality is a lot of people feel that way. What if you didn’t pay dues but volunteered, for a lot of people the same story still applies. You are a social club in that you come together united by a belief or purpose and you can have FUN together on the road to your accomplishments. Then there is the other “Social” club where you come together to just have a fun period all the time, which there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we tend to forget what club we are in.
The main issue in most organizations is how do you get everyone to do their part? How do you stimulate involvment so over and over again you don’t see the same faces coming forward as “team players” to get things done while the rest of the membership is “missing in action”. Maybe we need to have a good screening process in place for membership and let prospective members know what we are about and what is expected of them when they join the organization before they sign that membership application. It reminds me of some horse owners, I have horses in my pasture to say I have horses but I never do anything with them and sometimes I don’t even take care of them but I have a horse. Same thing, I belong to this or that club and I never do anything but I belong to that club.
Just as members have an obligation to their organization or whatever it is they are a part of, so does that organization have an obligation to their membership. Running any organziation is work and most of that work takes place outside of the meeting. It takes a slate of officers that can come together and lead their fellow members in a respectful manner to accomplish their common goals. Keep things interesting at your meeting. I know that is not always possible depending on the business at hand that needs to be covered as some of it can be boring but thats all part of it. Have speakers of interest, if possible have a little variety and don’t always meet in the same place. Be open minded and listen to your members they might surprise you as to what they have to say or contribute. Keeping in contact and letting your members know what is going on is not only important but it is the right thing to do as your members are the foundation of every organization; without a membership there is no organization, club or even a church.
Everyone should have been taught, and I know they all haven’t been, that when you join an organization, no matter if you join as a youth or an adult, you assume the responsibility of being part of a group of people and sharing in whatever activities it takes to keep that group going wither it be physically helping in some capacity as an active warm body, being a participant, or being a financial supporter for the group.
Maybe we should add to our club bylaws that the ability and purpose of membership in any organization includes being able to work together as an active team to build a strong foundation which would give that organization the advantage to succeed at any undertaking they choose no matter how big or small.
As you read this please understand my comments are not directed at any one person or group as this problem seems to be a common issue among a lot of well known and not so well know organizations all over.
I only hope my comment make you rethink your role in whatever current organization, club and yes, even church that you attend. Are you doing your part as a member and if not, why not? Maybe that group is not for you and there is another one that will serve your interest or family better so that when you do accept that membership you are ready to be an “Active Member” and not a “Member Missing In Action.”