Formal Club By-laws/constitution for discussion

Discussion in 'Wisconsin Fox Valley Reef Club' started by Jhildebrand, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. NewMelee

    NewMelee Well-Known Member

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    I see that I posted some views in the wrong thread. My bad.

    1. I like the idea of at least waiting til the 1st of the year MINIMUM before any real decisions are to be made. I'm sure everyone is busy with the holidays. I bet there are a few that haven't been on in awhile.

    2. 5 board members is probably best, even in the first year as already stated- this is free time work. This shouldn't really turn into "real work" other wise it is now a job. remember most of us are in this hobby for fun.

    3. Charter member - I would agree with the "title" if were to be defined more as a person - who helped start this club, donated more time then what normally is expected of a member, donated extra moneys to help with initial setup, and are considered (weather currently on the board or not) people that newcomers or anyone can go to with questions or other concerns.
    It's a recognition thing, optionally acknowledged in what ever way that may be, those that have put in the extra time and are willing to BE that person described deserve it. To me it is not to ever be" I've been here longer than you"--- EVER. I would think of them more as like moderators on the boards? better way of describing it?

    4. As for non-profit, as far as I know, since we have no one collecting a paycheck and we do not collect a maximum amount of $ (do not remember the amount, but I think it is relatively large) then we are technically non-profit by definition. We would be so small that, at least initially, it will not matter. All of that is if memory serves from other organizations that I have been part of had been set up properly.

    5. Paypal - cost of using is worth the hassle it will save. IE I for got my $ or check book I will pay next month........

    That is what I have for right now as to what has been brought up. I do agree that in setting this up there is truth to that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" in that if we take our time in setting this up there will be less headache/heartache, hassle, and problems in the future. Lets take our time and do this right and then we only do this once.

    Lastly--- THANK YOU JOHN!!!!

    For all the time and hard work you have already done already. Huge head start and having you start the ball rolling like you have has really brought this up in an excellent way. I can't believe that there has been really no negative feedback at all through all of this. Good job everyone so far in working together, not being rude or showing a lack of respect for each other, and clarifying all of your thoughts when there has been a question. I think we all saw the mess that happened last time this was discussed.
     

  2. jlinzmaier

    jlinzmaier Well-Known Member

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    The whole concept of charter members is a good topic for us to hash out after we get that initial group together. There might be some that would feel they have more at stake for starting the club and putting all that effort in therefore they should have more rights and say over decision making and there will definately be those who want absolute equality. I'd really like to hear this topic debated (friendly) and voted on once we get to making decisions. It's a controversial topic and needs to hashed out when we get to that point.

    I now see the benefit of having 5 board members as this will definately lessen the load on any one person. I hadn't thought of that initially. I really don't want this to become a "job" for anyone so we don't end up with nobody wanting to step up to the plate and show interest in being an officer.

    Jeremy
     
  3. jandlms

    jandlms Reef Enthusiast

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    More than a few thoughts

    Just to set the record straight. I used to be the exec director of a local 501 c III and I have put together a constitution and by laws for a loose coalition of NEW nonprofits. Upon reading the past few posts several things occured to me.
    1. When attempting to put a large document like this together it is always best to have it in our hands in terms of hard copy ( I know it can be printed from the computer). Ideas can be written on the hard copy and discussed. Changes can be made during the discussion. This eliminates some of the back and forth wrangling via forum posting that is going on currently. It gets very confusing when 10 threads scattered over 6 pages on two different forums all try and adress one point of the document. I really suggest that the first meeting be used to set up a constitutional committe so to speak. Remember the more voices chiming in on this particular topic the easier it is for things to go unheard. I'm actually really surprised we haven't had more posts from non "club" members chiming in and adding to the confusion.

    2.As jhildebrand points out, there are a lot of areas in this initial draft that need some more clarification although it is an excellent starting point. Two areas that are particularly disturbing are the the membership concepts regarding who actually gets to vote in the club. As it is currently written only charter members ever get to vote in the club. Probably not what is intended. The tiered memberships of student, family, charter, etc. also need to be clarified. I know I wouldn't want to bother joining the club and paying fees after this year if I did not have a vote.

    3. The nonprofit status of this club is nebulous in terms of effect if not in terms of intent. A committe or sub-comittee should look into this as I know the IRS has recently tightened up on granting 501cIII status as well as enforcing the rules for those already with the status. In a nutshell this will effect the club whenever we raffle or auction items or sell items such as mugs, etc. with club logos. Without 501 cIII status we will have to charge and pay sales tax at the very least. Income tax for the club will also be an issue. We may want to be "non-profit" and we may act as if we are nonprofit, but Uncle Sam still wants his cut if we are not legally nonprofit.

    Okay this is more typing than I have done in quite a while and my fingers are bleeding so I will sign off with the advice of SLOW DOWN and get a group of people together to start this process face to face rather than over the aether. I would be willing to help in the process.
     
  4. jlinzmaier

    jlinzmaier Well-Known Member

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    IMO, I don't see how printing something out and making written remarks can be any more beneficial than discussing it on-line. In fact, I feel it's more inconvenient becuase then everyone needs to get together to compare notes. I agree with you 100% Jon that there are many categories that need to be formally addressed and modified for our club. None of this can be done until a list of interested people is generated and established (well, it can be done, but not without everyone having their chance to review the topics and decisions being made). Everyone has to have a say if we are going to live by the initally appealing aspect of this club which is - "A democracy with a majority rule concept".

    Really appreciate your perspective on the legal IRS aspect!! This is a serious legal issue that needs distinct clarification on how we manage and report our funding and expenses. The last thing I want is for anyone to get in any legal trouble.

    Glad you spoke up. I knew you were in the background with some thoughts brewing. I'd really like to encourage everyone to speak up and give their perspective. If you agree with what's being done and what decisions are being made then jsut sitting in the background and watching is fine, but I sure don't want anyone to be afraid to speak up, no matter what the topic.


    Jeremy
     
  5. Jhildebrand

    Jhildebrand Well-Known Member

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    Jeremy I gotta say that I agree with Jon on this one. I had to print about a dozen clubs' bylaws because it was too hard to pick them apart scrolling up and down the screen. To each his own I guess.

    On another note, I just got an email asking to have a single meeting in January with all interested parties to knock out the details and worry about minor changes later. A good point was made that with this many views, people have read it over and over again and there doesn't seem to be a lot of demand for changes. If we decided to go that route we could easily have people that can't make it email or PM their concerns to make sure the group addresses all of them. Again, it's not like we can't change it later.
     
  6. jlinzmaier

    jlinzmaier Well-Known Member

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    Sounds great to me as long as everyone gets a chance to speak up. If that is the route we go with then lets set a date ASAP so interested people can make arrangements to attend. There really is only a handful of issues to bang out I just want to give everyone a chance to have their say.

    Jeremy
     
  7. Thunderstruck34

    Thunderstruck34 Well-Known Member

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    hmmm... I wonder who has been spending the most time on this? but seriously its good to see this thing finally getting hashed out and moving along.
     
  8. jandlms

    jandlms Reef Enthusiast

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    My argument is not so much for a face to face meeting as it is against trying to put together a long document when it encompasses multiple opinions from multiple people on at least 2 different forums (this is still being discussed in the threads on RC). Its only a matter of logistics. Just too difficult to get all opinions and ideas incorporated initially via forum threads. In the past when I have put these types of documents together, the online wrangling is great - LATER. Once a solid copy worked on by a group is put together, then it can be sent out electronically for group thought. Ijust thought it would make the whole process a little easier (albeit slower initially) in the long run. This is of course just my opinion. Hope it helps.
     
  9. jlinzmaier

    jlinzmaier Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jon. Now I understand what you mean! Makes sense to me.

    I think your knowledge as far as the legal/IRS perspective in getting this thing running is going be much needed. I hope your up for providing some guidance and helping us along in that area. I've also been talking to Jason (jmkarcz) about this and I think his input will be very helpful from the legal/accounting aspect.

    Jeremy
     
  10. MrSquid

    MrSquid Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I've buzzed through this thread and between the bylaws (John...men only get to use 30,000 words per day - you must have used a week's worth there :D ) and all the comments, I don't know up from down right now. LOL!

    I'm a big believer of "You're never going to please EVERYONE". I think to make this easiest, and before things go much further, the 5 head honchos should be selected. Then THEY can meet in a dark and ominous location that may or may not smell like skimmate and review/discuss the bylaws that John has poured his soul into and take into consideration the comments that have surfaced so far.

    I think overall this is on the right path. I'm just concerned about there being too many cooks in the kitchen NOW when this is all going to fall into the hands of a small group of people for finalizing. I think if you're vocal and involved in this process NOW (myself not included since I'm not exactly local), those people should be considered to be on the list of names to be "the chosen 5". Then - and I don't want to get flamed for this - maybe public discussion should come to a close until they meet just so things don't get more discombobulated. (I love that word but have never gotten to type it before!)

    I'm a big fan of Paypal for dues. It's free for the person paying, it's easy and free to set up an account, it's secure and club members can even send payments through their own existing Paypal funds or right through Paypal using their personal credit card. (easier than tying it to a bank account)

    From a club standpoint Paypal simplifies things at a minimal expense to the club. (looking at my account, they take just over $1 on a $25 payment) Plus for purchases (maintenance purchases like website costs, trip deposits, club equipment purchases, etc) you can pay with a debit card tied to your Paypal account. (or if the vendor has a Paypal transaction plugin on their site) That means someone doesn't have to jockey money around between club accounts and personal accounts, or all that jazz. If all the money is "virtual", that really simplifies the banking side of it!

    Something else to take into consideration is that there are start-up costs for the website - depending on route you take, around $400 for software and hosting space. Someone would either need to float those expenses or the general club members need to know there'd be some time before they see "proof" of the club's existence outside of having paid dues.

    I'm going to make a suggestion (and I only make this bold so it stands out).... leave this open to public discussion for another week to get input. Then establish who's been most constructively active towards shaping this and have a meeting with just those folks (realistically you probably won't get more too many more than 5 there) and just make this happen. You can talk about it all day long, but it's much more productive to just jump in and do it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  11. kesslerkid01

    kesslerkid01 Well-Known Member

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    Wow go away for a day and not read anything about this,It can be confussing I also agree on having a meeting face to face and hopefully we don't need a policeman standing guard To keep it under control(lol)Just kidding!!If it helps out I am centrally located and am willing to offer my round table to discuss the issues at hand!Just trying to help out most of you posting on here where at my house the first time we started this so maybe we can move forward on it and get it done this time!!for those that don't know I am in Kaukauna basically right in the middle of everyone!
     
  12. Fishcrazy06

    Fishcrazy06 Reefing Addict

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    I too am leaning towards what Squid just wrote about! We need to pick out 5 different people to get things hashed out. Get a General setup of "Rules" if you will and then get things moving on. When the site is up and running then get the input of all the members and tweak and make adjustements from their input.

    I would suggest 5 people with different perspectives and outlooks that way it would be easier to come to something that most would agree upon. May take a little longer with 5 different views and conversing but in the long run will be a great way to get a lot of different perspectives and inputs!!

    Also like Mike Stated its not exactly cheap to get things up and running. We need to sit and talk about this as well. I was thinking possibly discussing the membership dues to help get this going. Thinking the first yr the club is up and running most of the money generated towards memberships will ultimately go to the website itself to get that side rolling!

    I do like the idea of having it printed out.. Easier to read and make your notations or opinions write next to where you have questions or want things changed out.

    This has been a Recording!!! Thank You and have a nice day!!!!

    Eric
     
  13. NewMelee

    NewMelee Well-Known Member

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    Great input and I think he is right. If we use everyone at a meeting it won't progress. With a select group with some different view get together, WITH a list of what they saw on here as to what the issues to be discussed is going to be a way more productive meet. I do think that once the "fab 5" have been selected I believe that they should all make their own lists and get together that way everyone gets everything that they thought was important to bring up and hopefully all of what had been brought up is gone over.

    As for the expense for start up, slip it up 5 ways, maybe "charter members" could post it so people interested in the club don't feel that they would be paying for nothing at the moment that it starts. All of that is up to who ever is on the initial group and of course the expenses that are incurred to set up. Alot of variables yet to make any definitive decisions yet on that.

    I would have to second Kris's house as a good meeting area, as far as I know he is fairly centrally located in Kaukauna. Sounds like most people are from Northern GB area to Oshkosh as far as N to S any way.
     
  14. Jhildebrand

    Jhildebrand Well-Known Member

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    OK, so if it's alrighty with everyone, I'll start a new thread and my only request is that we don't exclude anyone that wants to provide input. 5 to 10 shouldn't be too many, and given that some have already voiced their opinions privately that they want nothing to do with this part, there should be no prob. On that thread you can just volunteer that you want to go to that meeting. It should be clear that this in no way effects who is going to be on the board, just those who would like to help get this pesky need out of the way.

    Kessler's house works fine being in the middle. Just need to pick a date.
     
  15. MrSquid

    MrSquid Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Maybe cap that meeting at the first 10 to say they want to be part of it?
     
  16. daddavis1

    daddavis1 Member

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    I too think you need to keep this number low for this first meeting or else nothing will get accomplished definitely less than 20.

    If you truly want feed back on the different articles split them up make smaller bites for folks to chew on. Otherwise some things that maybe need to be looked at closer may get over looked. Also it will give you a gauge of what articles contain the most sensitive issues. Also it will provide you with feedback necessary to either validate changes to the existing language or leave it be.

    Some articles are already being ignored.
    You may want to sticky these. Name them with broad categories: Membership, Organization, club administration, member benefits or rights, club expectations for members.

    Just my thoughts, I hate reading a long list of articles where you have to first read the article before you know what your dealing with.

    Dan
     
  17. jlinzmaier

    jlinzmaier Well-Known Member

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    It's actually now quite a large and successful fish club with just under 200 supporting members and a couple dozen awesome local and on-line sponsors. Since the formal organization of this club, the benefits and perks for members has increased significantly. I think it has all gone quite well. We now routinely have access to club owned equipment (which none of us could realistically afford individually). We also have several (club paid) dinners/events every year, an annual frag swap, and local experts in all reefkeeping fields who are now far more interested in being involved with the club. The amount of work that goes into keeping everything running for this club is immense and the board of directors spends a great deal of time behind the scenes to make it all run so smoothly. Without the dedication and efforts of the board members, the true benefit of the club would only be a tiny fraction of what it is today.

    Jeremy
     

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