Saturday, January 24, 2015

Elect Your Own President... and Czars!

Once your club starts growing, you may want to organize your leadership team into actual roles with different responsibilities. What does a club president do? What does the club secretary do? If you have created a club handbook, it should contain the rules on how someone is elected, and what the positions are responsible for.

Depending on the size of your group, you may want to fill only the leader position, or, if your membership supports it, any number of positions. 

President  - The president of your club is responsible for leading each of the meetings. They are usually the first one to arrive, and the last one to leave. If there is club business to attend to, they are the one to make sure everything gets addressed. What kind of club business could there be?

  • Communicating with the Treasurer to make sure the club finances are in order
  • Communicating with the club secretary to make sure the minutes of the last meeting are complete
  • Communicating with any committees that have been formed 
  • Assigning club members to committees (competitions, photowalks, speakers, gallery showings, education, events)

Vice President - Just like the Miss America runner up, should the President not be able to fulfill their duties, the VP should be able to step in. The Vice President is often a liaison between any committees and the club, and should be able to approve budgets for events, speakers, etc.

Secretary - The Secretary make sure the minutes are documented for any club business meetings. Many times, they are the editor of the newsletter, and the one who keeps up the website (or other online presence.) However, with larger clubs, those duties could be assigned to a specific individual. 

Treasurer - This person handles the finances of the club. If you expect your club to have a number of monetary transactions from membership fees, event tickets, donations, raffles, etc., You definitely need to make sure you are registered with the proper jurisdictions, and you have a bank account and a bookkeeping plan. Your Treasurer should be someone who is able to handle this. It also wouldn't be the worst idea in the world to have a lawyer and/or accountant help you get set up properly. If your club has one of these professionals as a member, don't be afraid to ask for help from them.

Those are the main positions that most clubs have. However, as your club grows, and it becomes more active in the community, there are a few other positions you may want to create.

Media Contact - With a smaller club, this duty could fall to the Secretary, however, having a person designated to stay in touch with the local media is a great way to promote and grow your club. Your Media Contact should have a list of ALL media in the area (not only your own city, but the surrounding communities as well.) Your media list should be as extensive as possible. Every outlet you can find that may mean some coverage for you should be added.

  • Print Media
  • Online Newspapers (don't forget local blogs, as well as college and high school newsletters)
  • Radio Stations
  • TV Stations
  • Business Associations
  • Retail establishments (camera stores, electronics stores)
  • Any other group / organization that might even care in the slightest what your club is up to

Once you have your email list, be sure to send out a press release whenever your club is up to something noteworthy. Planning on having a famous (or even not-so-famous) guest speaker? Send a press release. Having a competition? Send a release. Sponsoring a gallery show? Send a release. If newsworthy events aren't happening right now, even a notice of your next club meeting is effective communication. 

Just make sure you don't send so many emails, you start showing up in spam boxes instead of inboxes.

State / National Liaison - My local club belongs to both the PSA and WACCO, and we have members of our club who are designated as liaisons. Their job is to keep an eye on what the larger organizations are doing and pass that information on to the club. PSA has a number of competitions, and our liaison makes sure that our club is always involved. 

Event Organizers - You may want to have someone who makes sure the club has a constant stream of events to keep them busy. 

  • Photowalks
  • Field Trips
  • Donating Pet Portraits to an Animal Shelter
  • Spring Outing to a Garden Shop when the flowers are blooming
  • Getting involved in events like Help Portrait or 
  • Setting up a table / booth at the fair
  • Doing a "Get to Know Your Camera" event after Christmas

Even if they aren't events that your club can be an official part of, they can still identify photo ops like 

  • Polar Bear Dives
  • Marathons
  • Fireworks
  • Festivals
  • Art Shows
  • Free Concerts
Don't be afraid to make up your own positions for your club if they are necessary and have someone willing to fill that spot. Having a number of people in your group, each with their own responsibilities, is a terrific way to make sure your club stays active and viable!

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