Information on the structure of local groups will go here.
- Structured vs. unstructured
- Officers and their duties
Structured vs. Unstructured Groups
Informal groups are simple to start and maintain. There are no formal rules to worry about, and thus there is more available time and energy that can be spent on the actual goals themselves.
To start an informal club, all you have to do is start meeting. Pick a time and place to meet, get the word out, and be there. You can have an agenda.
See the section on meetings and also on how to start a club.
Informal clubs can have anywhere from 1 to 10 members. If you regularly have 15 or 20 members at a meeting, it is definitely time to talk about formal structures, officers, by-laws, etc.
If you are somewhere between small and large, then you might want to assign tasks to some members, even though they might not be elected officers. Do what works. You may need somebody to keep track of a member list, be responsible for announcements on the internet, welcome and follow up with visitors and new members, etc. These can be done by volunteers even if they might not have an official title.
Formal clubs have the benefits of organization and efficiency (possibly). There is a feeling of seriousness and recognition. Sometimes a group simply needs some formality when it gets large enough so that it can function and not fall apart. A club needs leaders, people who are willing and motivated to do the required tasks and can do so without being dysfunctional with each other.
A formal club can have dues that is tracked by a treasurer. Activities, programs, classes, annual events, etc, can have be organized through the structure. The group doesn't have to re-invent the wheel at every meeting, activity, or class.
A formal club should have a stated purpose, which will be in the by-laws. It should have by-laws or some other written guideline that states how business is carried out. There will be officers and perhaps additional leaders who are on the board of directors.
A formal club will have formal meetings on a regular basis, usually once a month, where there is a structured agenda that includes some reports, announcements, business relating to resolutions, and a program. Of course, in addition to the business meeting there can be other meetings and classes, as determined by the needs and wishes of the group.