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Author Topic: To form a club or not??  (Read 25043 times)
KA3NXN
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« on: July 19, 2012, 11:29:33 AM »

Hi Gang,

I'm posting here because I'm looking for advice on whether or not to form a club because a group of us actually have something else in mind. We are a loose group of very technical hams that have gotten together here in central VA and have actually put up a really awesome repeater system on 220MHz We approached a local business that rents the tallest building in town and have gotten permission to put up another repeater on the building provided we can produce a $ 1,000,000 liability insurance policy. I saw that if we form a club and become an ARRL affiliate club that they offer the insurance that we need. Are there any other ways of providing this insurance that may be a little quicker and maybe cheaper? The insurance from the ARRL will cost us about $200.00/year.

Suggestions?

Jaime-KA3NXN
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N2RRA
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 06:11:47 AM »

What do you need a club for? Since you guys put the repeater up then you should be able to handle the $200. a year.

If you start a club do it for the right reasons. To do it because of the annual insurance cost would be in my opinion totally not necessary. Put the repeater up because it suits you and your willing to accrue the costs and if your not able too then don't do it.

Thats how repeater owners become bitter over time because now they feel that all their hard work they put in shouldn't be enjoyed by all. Then why install a repeater if you weren't willing to share? There have been times here in the try-state I was approached over the repeater that I've been heard using the repeater on a few occasions. A few occasions meaning six times. It was suggested I join the club and there was an annual fee. Freaking kidding?? Gets to a point where repeater owners do this as a form of income for the future and not in the good will name of amateur radio.

So if your going to form a club do it for the right reasons. Just form it and thats it!! Make it informal and enjoy the time together at a local dinner or something. The mentality should also be in the right place. Unfortunately when club founders form a club its to be around like mind people. Hope your club will be based on all the values ham radio was founded on and its preached. Not like some of these EMCOMM clubs that think that their above everyone else and anti-social unless you talk EMCOMM, or clubs that become cliquish to point where your not willing to except all walks of life and interests. As you can tell I've had bad experiences with clubs and the ones I've made negative conutations of is clearly not the club you'll wanna form unless your like minded.

So you ask...."To Form A Club or Not"?

In my opinion unless your going to be a good leader and pass on the torch in time to the right person to carry in the name of amateur radio and what it means to be "A Good Will Ambassador" then, YES!

If not....Then, NO!!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 03:30:07 PM »

It doesn't take long to become an affiliated club, but you must have at least four officers (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary) and at least 51% must be current ARRL members and retain membership.  You also need to have a club constitution, and some other stuff.  But the process goes very quickly if you actually have a club and apply for affiliation.

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N9LCD
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 05:28:21 PM »

DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT form a club unless you do everything the "right way".

Each state has requirements for setting up a nonprofit organization.  If you don't follow the legal requirements, the "officers" can be held PERSONALLY LIABLE for the organization's debts.

Contact the nearest "junior" or "community" college and see if someone who teaches business law can give you basic guidance and direction.

N9LCD

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KI4SDY
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012, 12:49:34 AM »

The main purpose of ham clubs is to set up repeaters. You have already done that and $200 per year is cheap rent for the location. Tower rent, in most places, would be a lot more.  Wink

The problem with clubs is that their are people in them, with all the maladies. Petty politics, personality conflicts and even theft of funds are just a few of the problems you will face having a club. If the club plans a lot of activities, it can consume its members to the point that it is almost like a second unpaid job. If you don't need a second job, I would just pay the insurance and forget the club. Have your repeater group meet once a month for lunch and plan annual field days. That is enough club activity for anyone.  Smiley  
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 12:51:22 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
KJ4I
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 05:56:21 AM »

Sometimes doing the club thing seems like a great idea at first but it quickly grows old then the problems and headaches arise. Think about it really good before you take that step. I would just skip the club idea but each to there own. As for me, I was in a similar situation as you many years ago and went the club rout but never ever will I do that again. That was my first mistake in this great hobby that almost lead to me getting out of it all together. It could work better for you than me but i'm just giving my ¢02 worth. Lots of good advice has already been given here.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 05:58:58 AM by KJ4I » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 05:02:10 AM »

Unless you're willing to do as WB2WIK and N9LCD have stated PLUS hold annual and quarterly or monthly meetings at published days and times at specified meeting sites, submit annual reports, and several other requirements, you won't be able to become an ARRL affiliated club.

To form a club just to support a repeater is a concept whose day has long gone by.  There are simply too many headaches to consider to support a repeater, especially since 'members' may want to withdraw their support in years to come.  It may come down to just one person who wants to continue--and then what happens to the repeater?

Like someone else said--food for thought.  Probably best if each member just contributed the costs of insurance--from another source.  Or contact the ARRL insuracnce provider directly instead of going through the ARRL.  It may cost more, but if you can't sustain a club and its requirements, it may be your best bet.  Google 'club liability insurance' to find out more about insurance that may be available.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 05:06:21 AM by K1CJS » Logged
AD5TD
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2012, 04:10:33 PM »

Yes, you can form a club, but don't expect to keep it.  It will be overtaken in a year.  Happened to me and others.
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K4KRW
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2012, 07:23:39 AM »

If you do form a club, have a well thought out constitution defining things like officer roles and responsibilities, process for removal or replacement.  Membership requirements. ....  For example:  It is really bad when a club has a member (or especially an officer) behaving in a way that reflects negatively on the club and you have no mechanism to remedy the situation.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2012, 08:24:59 AM »

Having a well thought out constitution is an essential part of forming a club, but just remember that any issue may well have that constitution being used against you.  The constitution also has to be precisely worded. 

Take, for example, the US Constitution and its part that demands separation of church and state.  Although that part was included specifically and only to insure that any one church didn't 'take over' the government, activists today have perverted it to mean that there cannot be any part of any religion used or shown at any public place or gathering.  The best of intentions sometimes give rise to the worst of ideas.
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WB4M
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 12:15:27 PM »

What do you need a club for?  Just having a nice group of ham friends is all you need.   I no longer associate with clubs due to the politics and other useless BS that goes on.  Plus, the club will splinter into small groups of hams with different interests.  But if you must form a club, I would keep it small and focused, such as your group's VHF interest.
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N9LCD
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 05:17:06 PM »

I don't know about needing a constitution, but you need BYLAWS.

And you HAVE TO adhere to those BYLAWS.

If the club doesn't, the directors and officers may be held PERSONALLY LIABLE for their "misconduct" or alleged damages either by club members or by aggrieved third parties.

That's why I won't serve as a director or officer of any club or other non-profit group.

N9LCD

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K1CJS
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 08:21:15 AM »

You actually should have both a constitution and bylaws.  The constitution is a set of instructions--the groundwork, so to speak--of the club, it's intent and its aims.  It should be set up so that it is very hard--but not impossible--to alter.  The bylaws are the means that the club will follow to achieve those aims. It is set up so that it is possible to change them by simple majority vote of the membership, but publicized to the membership in advance.

For a loose association, it is possible to get by without the bylaws, but for ARRL recognition and approval as a non-profit entity for federal and state tax purposes you do need both.
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K5KNE
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 03:25:23 AM »

A club is not necessary to have friends with like interest doing things together.
I don't recommend forming one just to have say you have something
to call your group. It can be a lot of trouble.
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W8JJI
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 06:28:13 PM »

zzzz
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