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Club Officers

 


Paulina Łapińska and Wanda Łopuszańska, from Gorzow Speakers Poland
Paulina Łapińska and Wanda Łopuszańska, from Gorzow Speakers Poland

 

What are club officers?

Management and leadership are usually an invisible kind of oil that everyone takes for granted when things are running smoothly but that when absent, causes things break apart.

Running a successful club requires a lot of time and dedication, and carefully planned teamwork to ensure that meetings happen on time and regularly, that they have an educational purpose, that they are concise and not a waste of time, that members grow and develop, that the club benefits from the wider Agora community, etc. This is a lot of work that needs to be shared among a set of "officer roles" with different responsibilities.

Club officers perform are both leaders and managers. It's important to note that these are two very different concepts. Leadership requires vision - having a clear idea of where you want to take things, strategy, being able to see the big picture, being able to share your vision with the members, and inspire and challenge them to accomplish it. Management, on the other hand, is being able to convert that vision into a specific plan of action and executing it within a timeframe.

Club Officers are in charge of different aspects of running the club to ensure a smooth experience for everyone. All Officer roles are voluntary positions, and in fact, they are an excellent opportunity for practicing leadership of a small community.

Unlike businesses and corporations, in a nonprofit organization such as Agora Speakers, members can never be pressured into doing something - everything is voluntary and the most an officer can do is ask politely and explain. In fact, leading a nonprofit community is much more challenging than leading a business, as officers have to put into practice a lot more people-related and motivational skills than in any business.

Basic Characteristics of Officer Roles

There are a set of required officer roles, that must be in every club (usually for legal reasons), and some optional but recommended ones.

Note that we're talking about "roles" and not "people".  The same person can have more than one role (for example, in very small clubs the Treasurer and Secretary could be the same person).

The opposite is also true: a role - except that of the President - may be shared among several people when the workload is high. For a very big club, there might be two Vice-presidents in charge of Education. In this case, it is recommended that there's a clear distribution of responsibilities for each person sharing a role.

In addition to the specified officer roles, a club can define additional officer roles such as "Event Organizer" (for special events or parties), "Blogger", etc. 

  • All officer roles are voluntary. No member may be forced to become an officer, and no club may impose restrictions for participating in any of the educational activities that require serving time as an officer or performing any of the officer's duties.
  • Officer roles have a limited duration of either 6 months or 1 year.
  • All officers must be also active members of the club during the whole time of their term. Please note the keyword "active", which means officers still need to participate in the regular club meetings as any other member.
  • All officer roles are pro-bono roles. No officer positions may receive any kind of compensation from the club or the hosting organization. However, they may have the expenses that arise from their activity in connection with their position reimbursed, as long as the type of expense has been previously designated as reimbursable by the Foundation
  • Officer roles are personal. The person performing the role may not "outsource" or "delegate" it completely to a different person (much less to an external entity). Please note that delegating specific tasks is completely acceptable. 
  • Finally, all roles are elective - if there is more than one candidate for the same role, elections must be held.
     
Each club freely decides on its own whether they want 6-month or 12-month officer terms, and that may change from year to year. However, please note that all officer positions must have the same term duration. A club may not have a 1-year term for President and a 6-month term for VP of Education.

 

Becoming a Club Officer

 

Why become an officer?

 

In many companies, progressing up to a managerial position requires lots of time (sometimes year) and dedication. Any mistakes that you make in that role may turn out to be fatal for your career.

You probably already know that Agora clubs provide a safe environment where to learn public speaking, with the freedom to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them in preparation for your professional usage of what you learned. In the same way, the officer roles in clubs provide an environment where you can learn leadership and managerial skills safely and where mistakes are not critical for your career.

All officer roles teach different skills. For example, as a Vice President of Marketing, you'll learn marketing programs, PR, relationships with the media, outreach campaigns, etc. As a Vice President of Education, however, the things you'll learn are different. And as a President - even more different.
Hence, the more officer roles you perform in your club, the better.

There are many qualitative benefits of becoming a club officer:

  • Learning new skills - from budgeting to risk management to planning to marketing. 
  • Helping your club thrive
  • Increasing your self-confidence
  • Increasing your employability and the attractiveness of your resume to hiring managers
  • Directly participating in the governance of the club and of Agora.

There's ample research that volunteering (and even more specifically - leadership volunteering) has a huge impact in your professional career development. For example, a study in 2016 by Deloitte found not only that volunteering greatly impacted in the acquisition of leadership skills, but also that it had a very direct impact on job seekers:

  • 82% of the hiring managers were more willing to choose a candidate with volunteering experience
  • 85% of the hiring managers were willing to overlook resume flaws if volunteer experience is indicated in it.

 

At Deloitte, we have experienced the importance of volunteering and understand that it helps build skill sets that are critical to developing well-rounded leaders across our organization.
Doug Marshall
Director, Corporate Citizenship
Deloitte Services LP

A similar study performed by CareerBuilder found that 60% of the hiring managers considered candidates with volunteering experience much more marketable. A study by the CNCS quoted by Forbes showed that jobless people who volunteered had a 27% higher chance of landing a job.

The benefits of volunteering extend to many other areas - even into the realm of health. A study by the Ghent University in Belgium found that "volunteers have a health score which is statistically significantly higher than those who do not volunteer. This total association turned out to be substantial: it corresponded in size to, e.g., the health gains of a five years younger age"

 

Club Officers are Not Professionals

 

Members should always keep in mind that Club Officers are not expected to be professional leaders or managers. Just as all speech projects are learning projects, and no one should expect a TED-level talk in a club, in the same way, all officer positions are learning opportunities. Everyone should try to help and encourage officers, rather than approach their roles with demands to deliver or perform to a specific level.

 

Eligibility

Any regularly attending member with at least 6 months Agora club experience is elective for becoming a club officer (except in newly founded clubs, where this requirement is dropped). The Agora experience does not need to have happened in the club where the member wants to become an officer.

Only members able to serve at least 6 months are eligible to become club officers. Of course, all sorts of unexpected can happen even with the best intentions, but at least the visible horizon should be clear for the immediate future. For example, if a member has already scheduled to move to a different city in two months, it's pointless to serve that time as an officer.

 

A person that is a member of more than one Agora club may, if he or she has the time and commitment, hold up to two officer positions at the same time - as long as they are in different clubs. 

Holding three or more officer positions at the same time is not allowed, as this will severely impact in the quality of the services provided to the club.

 

Elections and Terms

Agora's Educational Year begins on Jan 1st and ends on Dec 31st. Depending on the club's decision on the duration of officer terms, the term and election dates are as follows:

Elections and Terms
Term Duration Elections Term Dates
1-year term Between Nov 1st and Dec 15th Jan 1st - Dec 31st
6-month term  Between Nov 30th and Dec 15th Jan 1st - Jun 30th
  Between Jun 1st and Jun 15th Jul 1st - Dec 31st

 

List Of Standard Club Officers

This is a listing of all the standard Club Officers roles:

 

 


Contributors to this page: agora and admin .
Page last modified on Friday March 5, 2021 23:18:46 CET by agora.