This Handbook was first produced in 1988.
It has now been revised in the light of the
countrywide development of Active Retirement
and the setting up of Regional Councils.
It has also been possible to condense it
because of the appointment of a
full-time Administration Officer
and part-time Development Officers,
whose services are now available to Associations.
The Handbook is intended primarily for those starting
new Associations as well as existing committee members.
It is intended as a guide based on practical experience.
The original Handbook was drafted and produced by
Muiris Prenderville, then a member of the Executive;
he has also revised this edition. We are grateful to him
and to the members of the Executive who have
contributed to the work.
Active Retirement Ireland
Shamrock Chambers, 1-2 Eustace Street,
Telephone: (01) 6792142 Fax: (01) 679 2142
By Bill Murphy, Secretary of FARA
This handbook has been compiled and distributed by the Federation of Active
Retirement Associations (FARA). The Federation is the umbrella organisation
catering for the active retirement movement in Ireland. It was founded in 1985
to support existing active retirement associations (ARAs) and encourage new
The first President, Maurice Kennedy, had been one of the founding fathers of
the movement in Dun Laoghaire and was subsequently involved in starting what
has become the largest association at Dublin Airport.
The purpose of FARA is to achieve the establishment of a well-organised Active
Retirement Movement that will encourage and facilitate older persons to be
active and to participate in events organised locally by themselves. More
generally it aims to promote a positive attitude to ageing and retirement. The
OBJECTIVES could be summarised as follows:
1) To Strengthen and expand the Movement by providing assistance to
existing ARAs and encouraging the establishment of new ones;
2) To establish criteria for a uniform set of organisational and operating
standards on a national basis;
3) To promote co-operation between affiliated ARAs where appropriate to
support Regional Councils;
4) To ensure a corporate voice for the ARAs, represent their views and act
on their behalf where appropriate;
5) To organise training and provide a standard handbook to guide ARAs;
6) To maximise access to available funding.
As mentioned above the movement began in a small way in Dun Laoghaire in
1978, but because of the obvious need for such a movement it quickly spread.
The record indicates that Mount Argus was the second ARA and that by 1985,
16 ARAs existed. In 1985 the officers of these ARAs were invited by Maurice
Kennedy to consider the formation of a Federation. The proposal was agreed
and Maurice became its first President. The rest, as we say, is history.
The movement has grown substantially, to the point where there are now
(2002/3) over 190 affiliated associations throughout the country with a total
membership of about 14,000 people. Growth became greater in the provinces,
where the number of ARAs exceeded that of Dublin area by 1999.
With this development it became necessary to set up local regional Councils.
The first was in the Midwest (Limerick area) followed by the South (Cork and
Kerry) and more recently the West (centered in Galway) and the Southeast.
Eventually, when numbers warrant it, Regional Councils will probably function
in every part of the country, aligned for administrative and funding reasons to
the areas of the Regional Health Boards.
Overall FARA policy is established very democratically at an AGM and two
annual Council meetings at which all affiliated associations (ARAs) have a vote.
There is an Executive Committee that meets on average once a month and there
are various sub-committees. In addition, some of our provincial ARAs are
linked by the aforementioned Regional Councils, which meet locally.
The organisation is voluntary, non-party political and non-sectarian. It relied
entirely on affiliation subscriptions until, with the approach of the new
millennium it was realised that some professional help was needed and the
Minister for Health of the day was persuaded that the movement deserved
support, if only because of the savings in the Health Board‟s budgets by keeping
the members active. So in 1999 it was granted a modest annual funding which
has enabled it:
(a) to establish a professional head office with a full time administrator and
clerical assistant and
(b) to become more active in PR, training, regional support and
This rapid expansion has created a challenge, which FARA is determined to
meet. This handbook is part of the development to assist our great movement to
expand and to cater for the needs of the growing membership and potential
membership, in these days when people are retiring earlier and living longer.
Handbook : Contents
1: ACTIVE RETIREMENT .......………….................…6
2: GETTING STARTED ................…………............….7
Stages in preparation, Premises, Activities, Funding,
Public Meeting, Follow up.
Appendix 1 : Public Liability Insurance ................ 13
Appendix 2 : Holiday Guidelines ........................... 15
Appendix 3 : Membership Application Form ....... 16
3: KEEPING PEOPLE INFORMED ......................... 17
Internal and External communications
Appendix 4 : Producing a News Release ................ 18
Appendix 5 : Effective Speaking ............................. 20
4: RUNNING AN ASSOCIATION (Part 1) ............... 22
Constitution, Executive Committee, Leadership,
Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Guide for Officers.
The Association Chairman ...................................... 24
The Association Secretary ....................................... 25
The Association Treasurer ...................................... 27
Appendix 6 : Minutes .............................................. 31
Appendix 7 : Nomination Form .............................. 33
5: RUNNING AN ASSOCIATION (Part 2) ............... 34
Committee Procedures, Executive Agenda, Annual
General Meeting, Role of Chairman, Techniques of
6: DOING THINGS WELL ......................................... 42
Appendix 8 : Annual Dinner Checklist .................. 47
1 : Active Retirement
1.1 The aim of the Active Retirement Movement is to help older people to
enjoy their mature years by providing a regular programme of activities
- holidays, outings and socials, creative and learning opportunities, and
indoor and outdoor exercise and sports.
1.2 Membership is open to men and women who are:
- Over 55 years
- Active i.e. fairly fit and mobile, not dependent on others,
and interested in exercising their minds and bodies.
- Retired i.e. those whose day is no longer taken up with work, paid or
unpaid such as people formally retired, and those with grown up
families with less to do at home.
1.3 The Ethos of Active Retirement is its sense of independence
and self-reliance. The philosophy is one of self-help. We organise
activities ourselves for ourselves; we do things rather than have things
done for us. We share intellectual or manual skills and knowledge with
our fellow members. We pay membership fees and we do not accept
donations or use Association funds for our personal benefit.
1.4 The Personal Benefits for older people of joining an Association are
considerable. The Active Retirement movement:
- Provides Companionship, which permeates all activities.
- Enhances the status of older people
- Encourages sustained activity, good health and independence.
- Improves capacity to cope with a substantial change in lifestyle.
- Provides special benefits for single and widowed people.
1.5 Growth : The first Association was set up in 1978. There are now 186
Associations in 21 Counties with a total membership of 14,000.
FARA is the only national front-line organisation catering
specifically on a day-to-day basis for the social, cultural and
sporting needs of those “Over 55”.
Active Retirement is the way to POSITIVE LIVING
2 : Getting Started
(It is essential to prepare and plan properly before you try to recruit
members. Otherwise you will make a bad initial impression which it will
be difficult to overcome. Not everything in this Section needs to be done
before going public, but it should help in your preparation).
2.1 The initiative for starting an Association takes many forms. There is
usually one person with the idea and others are then drawn in. At an
early stage, contact should be made with the local Regional Council
and/or the Administrator at FARA Headquarters so that a representative
(Development Officer) can be assigned to help with the project.
Experience indicates that the normal progression would then be as
2.2 A core group of men and women meet with a FARA Officer (who
might be invited to chair the meeting). They are briefed on the Active
Retirement movement. They may decide to invite others to get
involved e.g. Adult Education Organiser, Social Worker, or Health
Board member. Visits to existing Associations may be arranged.
General views will be canvassed on the following topics:
-- What catchment area should be covered?
-- Are there enough potential members?
--.Are premises available?
-- What equipment is needed?
-- How often would people meet?
-- Are there people prepared to run an Association?
-- What activities would be organised?
-- What money would be needed?
If it is decided to go ahead, it is likely that more information will be sought. A
second meeting with a specific agenda will probably be required to discuss
matters in more detail and to get ready for a Public Launch. It may now be
useful to select provisional Officers.
(Notes should be kept of the meeting).
2.3 This will involve a more in depth study of the topics referred to above,
based on additional information. The major items will be premises,
activities and funding.
2.4 Associations can operate in a limited way without premises but they
usually have a base. All activities need not take place in the same
premises. Possible premises are Community or Parish Centres, Sports
Centres, Adult Education premises, Libraries and Schools. Hall
committees welcome Active Retirement Associations as responsible
mature tenants using facilities at a reasonable rental at off-peak hours.
In making a choice, certain factors need to be considered, such as:
Central location and ease of access; Car parking: Adequate hall space;
High level of comfort and heat; Acceptable standard of décor;
Catering facilities; Storage space; Reasonable rent.
Rental arrangements, hours and frequency of use, access (keys), period
of tenure, etc. should be covered in writing.
Availability of facilities in the locality should also be assessed
e.g. Swimming Pool, Pitch & Putt, Golf Course.
2.5 Because the Association runs activities, it is essential to have Public
Liability Insurance cover (See Appendix 1 for details of the FARA
Scheme and also Appendix 2 – Holiday Guidelines).
2.6 The following is a range of activities run by Associations:
Art, Music, Singing, Language Classes, Creative Writing, Drama.
Crochet, Dressmaking, Embroidery, Knitting, Needlecraft, Patchwork.
Gardening, DIY, Flower Arranging, Wine Making, Woodwork.
Discussions, Lectures, Local History, Reminiscence, Lotto, Quiz.
Bridge, Cards, Chess, Darts, Draughts, Rings, Scrabble.
Bowls, Boule, Croquet, Horseshoe Pitching, Snooker, Short Tennis,
Table Tennis, Pitch & Putt.
Dancing, Keep Fit, Swimming, Walking.
Holidays, Outings, Theatre visits, Socials.
Senior Help-Line, Community Service, Computer Courses.
As can be seen, there is a great deal of variety in programmes run by
Associations. There is a limit to what any individual Association can do and
each Association must decide what suits itself, what members may want, what
facilities are available, if teachers/tutors can be provided. Your VEC and Adult
Education Organiser can usually help to provide classes at special fees.
Don‟t hesitate to start in a modest way and keep in mind that it is important to
appeal to men! If you don‟t get them in at the beginning, it may be difficult to
coax them in later!
2.7 Associations need regular income for day-to-day servicing. If and
when games, equipment etc. is required, special funding will be
In general, activities such as Holidays, Day Trips, Annual Dinner,
Socials should be self-financing. Members attending a specialist Class
e.g. Painting or Crafts would pay the fees of a professional teacher, if
The main items of day-to-day expenditure are likely to be Rent, FARA
Affiliation fee, and Public Liability Insurance Premium. Income
derives mainly from Membership fees with smaller income from, for
example, group discount on holidays, profit on teas, or monthly raffles.
2.8 An annual Membership Fee should be paid by every member.
Associations have different systems. An Association meeting twice a
week with a full range of activities (Bowls, Table Tennis, Snooker,
Dancing etc.) might have a system of paying weekly for each
attendance. There could be a smaller annual fee but members would
pay extra, say 1.50 Euro, for playing Bowls.
It is desirable to have a Membership Application Form for new
Members. (See Appendix 3)
2.9 If and when games equipment is needed the scale of funding is
substantial and you will probably look around for sources of grants
and/or organise your own fund raising events. There is an Irish Sports
Council “National Grant Scheme for Sport and Physical Activity for
Older People”. Applications can be made for amounts in the
approximate range of 635 Euro to 1900 Euro for proposals including
some or all of the following: Purchase of Equipment/Resource
Materials; Training Opportunities; Information Workshops;
Participation Events. Information about this Scheme is available from
the FARA Office.
2.10 Other possible sources of funding are the Health Boards, the Local
Authority and the Vocational Education Committee. They have limited
power to give grants and to assist in other ways but they are not
required to do so. Practice varies from one county to another so you
would need to get information locally. Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and
Chambers of Commerce might also be worth a try.
CAFÉ (Creative Activity for Everyone, 143 Townsend St. Dublin 2.
(Tel. 01-6770330) supports organisations involved in community arts
If you have a cross community or reconciliation project a grant might
be available from Cross Border Exchange, 37, Upper Fitzwilliam St.
Dublin 2 (Tel. 01-661058)
2.11 Organisations (especially State) giving grants may look for:
-- A copy of your Constitution
-- Your latest Annual Accounts
-- Bank Account No.
-- A Tax Reference No. (This can be obtained from the Central
Registration Office, O‟Connell St. Dublin 1.)
2.12 Sponsorship is another form of support if your project can give exposure
to a sponsor e.g. a printed information leaflet.
2.13 Fund raising by the Association itself, apart from making money, can be
a challenging and sociable activity for your members. It also publicises
your work. It can take different forms, viz.:
-- Direct appeal by letter, Church Gate, etc.
-- Combined social and fund raising event e.g. Coffee Morning.
-- Method which gives a return or value for money e.g. Cake Sale, Book
2.14 When deciding on fund raising activities, consider the following;
-- Do you need a regular source of income, a once-off event for a specific
purpose or a promotion that you will run annually?
-- Is there a risk of loss if the project is not a success?
-- Will the profit justify the amount of effort required?
-- Can the work be shared?
-- Is it necessary to involve (a) members (b) friends (c) the general
-- If depending on the public, consider the major publicity requirements?
-- Will your members be able and prepared to help?
When the decision is made, organise the project efficiently, including:
-- Adequate planning
-- Give one person responsibility
-- Discourage the active assistance of younger people!
-- Draw up a checklist of things to be done - on paper.
-- Check that people are doing their allotted jobs.
-- Advertise -- you will waste your time if people don‟t know about your
-- Apply safeguards for the handling of money.
2.15 By this time, you will have a good idea of what you can offer members
by way of activities, premises and assessment of financial needs. You are
ready to launch the Association at a public meeting where you can
explain the Active Retirement movement, recruit members, identify their
interests and get their views.
2.16 Careful preparation for the meeting is essential. It will include the
1. Selection of suitable venue and hall, preferably the place you expect to
carry on your activities.
2. Date and Time. (Probably 2.30pm to 4.30pm). Make sure it does not
clash with any other major activity in the area.
3. Theme/Title ENJOYING RETIREMENT/ACTIVE
RETIREMENT/ACTIVE AGE/CHALLENGE OF
RETIREMENT/FOCUS ON RETIREMENT.
4. Invitations. Decide whether to invite a Guest Speaker, a “Celebrity” or
someone who is familiar with Active Retirement. If others are invited
e.g. Clergy, Public or other Representatives, they should be told whether
they will be expected to speak or not. Keep to one speaker if you can.
5. Have Information Leaflet (FARA) and Membership Forms available (do
not look for fees at this stage).
6. Be able to announce a definite activity or programme of activities, to take
place within a week or so.
7. Plan Publicity. This is the most important preparatory work. Use every
method you can to advertise the event e.g. Personal contacts; Posters;
Leaflets; News Release to local papers; Church Notices (All
dominations); Parish Newsletter, etc.
2.17 The Agenda of the meeting will be something like this:
1. Reception - refreshments and welcoming of people by the members of the
Work Group (who should wear name badges).
2. Chairperson starts meeting, extends formal welcome, states purpose of
the meeting and introduces Guest Speaker.
3. Keynote talk on Active Retirement (Guest Speaker).
4. Chairperson reports on the plans proposed and invites comments.
5. Discussions and Questions. Formal decision to start an Association.
6. Distribution of Membership Forms.
7. Close - Announcement of next meeting/activity.
2.18 To follow up, the Work Group meets:
- To compile an address list of members
- To discuss the interests indicated by members and consider how to meet
- To issue a News Release on the meeting.
FARA PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME
-- A Guide for Association Officers
The Federation arranges special terms with Insurance Underwriters (Brennan
Insurances at present) for Public Liability Insurance to cover all Associations.
Associations pay premiums annually to FARA, based on their membership.
Why PL Insurance? An Active Retirement Association has legal
responsibilities for its activities both to its own members and to the general
public. The Association, and any individual committee member can be claimed
against and can be held to be legally liable for bodily injury and/or loss of or
damage to property arising from the activities of the Association. This imposes
an additional personal responsibility on voluntary officers quite incidental to
their work for Active Retirement. The PL Scheme protects the Association
and its committee members against such claims.
Member to Member to cover? This is an extension to the FARA policy to
cover liability in respect of claims brought by members themselves and not just
Hall Owners Insurance? This only covers the Owners own legal liability and
does not provide indemnity to the Association.
What does the Scheme cover? It provides an indemnity in respect of claims
brought against the Association or committee members by Third Parties
(including members and the public) arising out of the activities of the
Association. The Scheme currently has a limit of 2,550,000 any one incident,
unlimited in any one period of insurance. There is an Excess of 127.00 each
and every third party property damage claim.
The Scheme covers all the usual activities as listed in Section 2 under
“Activities”. Any other activity not listed will need to be agreed by the Insurers
before cover is granted.
The Scheme covers activities away from the usual premises including Outings
and the like.
The Scheme does not cover Property; separate insurance is required.
Is there automatic compensation? No. Settlement of a claim would depend
on whether the Association was legally liable for the accident.
Is there a responsibility on the Association. Yes.
A Public Liability claim can usually only succeed where negligence can be
proven. Negligence is a failure to exercise the proper and prudent care
appropriate to the circumstances. The Association, through its Executive,
should be on the alert to spot areas and situations which could lead to accidents,
If there are two Table Tennis tables side by side, Doubles should only be
played on one.
People should not be allowed to stand at the side of Bowling Mats.
It may also be prudent to issue Guidelines to members going on holiday - see
It is recommended that a few times during the year, members should be
reminded about safety and care. Notices could be displayed in specific cases.
These measures should be recorded in the minutes.
........................................ Active Retirement Association
1. You are expected to decide if you are fit and well enough to go on a
group holiday and be able to look after yourself.
2. You are expected to take all reasonable care to avoid injury to yourself
or others. Medical or other expenses incurred on your behalf must be
paid for by you.
3. Arrange to get to and from the bus/train terminal and home without
involving other members of the group.
4. Allow ample time to get your travel ticket.
5. Confine your main luggage to one case which you can handle yourself.
Use luggage labels. Don‟t leave your case unattended.
6. Watch your handbag. Carry your wallet in an inside pocket. Keep
credit/cheque cards separate from your cheque book.
7. If problems arise in the hotel or elsewhere, discuss first with your
8. Keep to the “No Rounds” practice whereby people pay for their own
9. Your swimming must always be supervised by a qualified Instructor.
10. Co-operate with your Holiday Organiser.
TAKE CARE AND ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY
........................................ Active Retirement Association
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
Full Name ..................................................................................
Special Interests (if any) .........................................................................
Signature ................................................... Date ......................
Membership is open to men and women Over 55 who are reasonably active,
physically and mentally and not dependent on others.
The applicant must complete and sign the form himself/herself.
Approval of membership is at the discretion of the Executive.
The subscription of €.... is payable on 1 January each year.
A new member may take part in activities for up to 4(?) weeks before paying the
Welcome to our Association
3 : Keeping People Informed
3.1 Good internal communications is necessary to let members know what
is going on. Communicating with members in a small Association is
not a problem. In a larger group with a wide range of activities it will
need more effort. The main method of communication is through the
spoken word but this is supplemented by other means such as
Circulars; Notices; Posters; Newsletters; Literature; and Photographs.
3.2 Letterhead: An Association should have a letterhead as soon as
possible. it is now easy to produce an excellent letterhead in colour on
a computer. You should use the Federation logo (AR) to give your
group status and identity. It also links all members of the Active
3.3 Circulars: It is good practice to issue a circular to members on
important occasions such as the group holiday. The circular should
contain details of travel arrangements, cost and tours. It is suggested
that Holiday Guidelines be printed on the reverse of such a circular.
See Appendix 2.
3.4 Notice Board: A Board should be located where members congregate
so that information would be available to members at all times.
3.5 Posters: High quality A4 posters can now be produced on the computer
using colour, Clip Art and Word Art. They are an effective publicity
aid, even though they usually only carry a short simple message. They
can be used in shop windows, pubs, post offices, libraries, Health
3.6 Photographs: Associations should build up a portfolio of colour
photos recording the activities of the group. These can be displayed at
3.7 There is no reason why Associations should not look for publicity.
They provide a valuable service and upgrade the image of older people.
Publicity helps Associations by building goodwill and attracting new
3.8 The usual methods of publicity include use of a Local Directory, News
Releases to Local Magazines and Newspapers, interviews on Local
Radio, Church Notices, and Display Units at local Exhibitions.
3.9 News Releases are a basic tool of publicity. Appendix 4 is a guide to
writing and presenting them. Opportunities may arise to address people
about Active Retirement. Appendix 5 gives guidelines on making
Twenty Hints on producing a News Release
How to use News Releases
1. A News Release is a way of sending information to the press and to
other media in the hope that it will get wide circulation. At Association
level a News Release will usually be sent to the Local Newspaper,
Parish Magazine or Local Radio. News Releases can cover such
- Annual General Meeting - Community work by the Club
- Club Outings or Tours - Fund-raising activities
- Socials - Annual Dinner
When possible, look for an unusual angle to make your story stand out.
2. A News Release is always better than a telephone call;
3. Editors and Journalists welcome material if it is (a) newsworthy (b) of
interest to their readers and (c) properly presented.
4. Timing is important. Get your release to the publication as early as
possible; it increases its chances of publication considerably.
How to write a News Release
5. The Release must answer the basic communications questions - who,
why, when, what and where. Put in another way, it must deal with the
following general points in sequence.
- subject (What) - name of the organisation (Who)
- location of the event (When and Where) - details (Why)
- source of information (Who)
6. The opening paragraph is all-important. It attracts the attention of the
Editor and gives the gist of the Release quickly. The paragraph goes
straight into the subject and should cover as many as possible of the
points referred to in 5 above.
7. The rest of the Release gives details in short direct paragraphs. Points
are made in order of importance. This makes it easy for the Editor to
re-write or change the material (as often happens); it also helps to
ensure that those parts which you think are important have a better
chance of publication.
8. The whole purpose of the Release is lost if the name of the Association
is not mentioned (more than once if possible).
9. Always check to make sure you have not left out important details of
time and place.
10. The source or identification of the Release should be clear i.e. the
name of the Association and the name, address and telephone number
of the sender; it should also be dated.
11. The News Release should have a headline to identify the content.
Keep it short. Type it in block capitals. Do not use subheadings in the
main body of the Release. There should be no underlining anywhere,
not even in the headline.
12. Keep your Release short. One page should be enough.
How to present a News Release
13. A successful News Release must be (a) well written and (b) well
presented. The purpose of good presentation is to achieve legibility to
make the Release attractive to read and to minimise editorial work.
14. It should be typed.
15. Use the Association headed paper with NEWS RELEASE typed at the
top. An A4 sheet 11.7” x 8.3” is best as it makes it easier to restrict the
Release to the ideal of one page. If a second page is absolutely
necessary, use a second sheet, not the back of the first sheet.
16. To conform with editorial needs, typing should be in double spacing,
with additional spacing between paragraphs. There should be a margin
of 1½ “ on the left hand column; better still at each side. If you must
use two or more pages, try not to break a paragraph at the end of a
17. If going on to another page, type or write “more ....” in the bottom right
hand corner. Number the pages.
18. A paragraph should never begin with a numeral but the number can, of
course be spelt out. It is usual to spell out numbers from one to nine.
Numerals should be given in dates i.e. June 1 or June 1st. When giving
a date it is useful to give the day of the week also - it helps to
emphasise the date. It is usual to write dates as follows: Wednesday,
October 16th, 2002.
19. Only use capitals for titles or proper names though an exception can be
made sometimes to emphasise a term. Full stops should not be used
between initial abbreviations e.g. FARA.
20. To assemble a release of more than one page, staple diagonally across
the left hand corner about ½” in. Do not use pins or paper clips. Fold
as few times as possible e.g. fold an A4 sheet once to fit into a 9” x 6”
envelope. Fold backwards.
Twenty Hints on Effective Speaking
Officers in Associations are sometimes asked to give a talk to other groups
about Active Retirement. These guidelines may help in the presentation of
information and ideas on this or any other topic.
1. Know exactly what you want to say.
2. Consider how much your listeners know already.
3. Don‟t think about the impression you are making. Act naturally and
Preparing your talk
4. Consider the purpose of your talk and what vital points do you want the
audience to remember. There should be three or four main points.
5. Write down your main points, in LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS, on
separate sheets of paper or card as the headings for your talk.
Make a short list under each heading - using single words or short
phrases - just enough to remind you of the most important things you
want to cover under each of your main points.
Just as you have only three or four main points or headings, so you
should have only a few sub-headings (say not more than five) under
each point. Be ruthless in pruning your list.
6. Now put your main thoughts in order on fresh sheets of paper. Under
each heading put the ideas that have survived your pruning in the
sequence in which you want to give them. Write them in large
CAPITAL LETTERS, and in short words or phrases - a separate line
for each. It‟s a good idea to write out your opening sentence in full.
7. The end of your talk should consist of a short clear summary of your
main points. Like your opening sentence, write this out in full. Many
good talks are ruined because the speakers haven‟t thought about the
ending, and don‟t know how, or where, or when to finish.
8. Aim at a talk of not longer than 20 minutes. If you go beyond that
“Stand up, speak up, shut up”
9. Learn off the gist of your opening and closing sentences; don‟t read
them. Apart from these you have a few main points and some ideas on
each of these - all jotted down clearly on separate sheets which you
have put in their proper order.
10. Face up to your audience - all of them. Turn your head deliberately
from side to side.
11. Use simple familiar language, and fairly short sentences.
12. Speak out clearly. Don‟t speak fast. Pause occasionally, especially
after making an important point. Use “signposts”; that is, tell your
audience when you have finished with one point and propose to more
on to another.
13. Don‟t be apologetic, in words or manner. No slouching or mumbling!
14. Keep an eye on your time. Have a watch in front of you.
15. Distribute Active Retirement leaflets.
Inviting questions from the audience
16. At the beginning of your talk, let the audience know you will welcome
questions, either during the talk or, usually, at the end. Provide time for
17. Questions involve participation. They introduce variety. They may
reveal gaps in your talk and you may learn from them.
18. When handling questions, make sure everybody knows what the
question is. Repeat it, if necessary. Make sure you understand it.
Keep your answers short - don‟t give another talk. Be patient and
19. Establish good contact with the Chairperson, before, during and after
the talk. Agree procedures. Encourage his/her involvement.
20. Thank him/her at the close of the proceedings.
If you follow these hints you will do a good job. Remember too
that you have the basic qualifications for giving a good talk i.e.
- knowledge and experience of your subject - enthusiasm for it
- an eagerness to tell people about it.
4: Running an Association (Part 1)
4.1 This Section deals with the Constitution, the Executive Committee and
the duties of the Officers. The next Section (Part 2) concentrates on
committee procedures and the role of the Chairman in making meetings
effective. It also deals in detail with the Annual General Meeting.
4.2 A new Association need not rush into adopting a Constitution but
should have access to it from its formation and formally adopt it at its
first Annual General Meeting. A Constitution is necessary because:
It gives the Association a formal identity. While it is not a legal
document it may have legal implications in some circumstances.
It establishes an organisational structure, regulates membership and
ensures democratic procedures through, for example, the Annual
It provides for financial controls.
It may be a requirement for a state grant.
4.3 A model Association Constitution is available from the Federation
Office. All that is necessary is to fill in a few blank spaces with the
name of the Association and other details.
The Executive Committee
4.4 The Executive manages the Association. It shares out work by
Appointing Activity Organisers to look after specific areas such as
Bowls, Table Tennis, Dancing, Holiday, etc. While each Organiser is
responsible to the Executive, he/she is free to select someone to assist
him/her. An Organiser is usually a member of the Executive and is
therefore able to report direct to it. Some larger Associations may
appoint sub-committees for special tasks. The Chairperson of a sub-
committee should be a member of the Executive.
4.5 The general membership is kept informed of decisions made at
4.6 All members of the Executive share the leadership and have collective
responsibility for the Association. They are expected to express their own
views and the views of the general membership at meetings and to work
together in harmony to promote the aims of the Association and Active
4.7 They have an important part to play in welcoming new members to the
group. They should make themselves known to them, ask their names
and generally help them to integrate with existing members. Not only
does common courtesy demand this but once a newcomer has been
ignored it is highly unlikely that he/she will ever have the courage or
desire to come again.
4.8 However, there are particular responsibilities on the Association
Officers i.e. Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. They will have,
or should have, some things in common such as high degree of
commitment, willingness to devote time to the job and a capacity to
work together as a team. As individuals it is hoped they would be
tactful, courteous and good with people; impartial to all members; and
have a sense of humour!
It is not easy to get such people and, indeed it is often difficult to fill
positions. This makes it all the more important to clarify the duties of
the posts so that people know what is expected of them and to realise
that the work would be well within their capability.
4.9 The following pages outline the duties of each Officer. While the work
of the Treasurer can be well defined, the distinction between some
elements of the work of the Chairman and Secretary may be blurred
because, perhaps, of differences in personalities or abilities.
(For convenience and clarity we use “Chairman” and “he”.
In the case of other Officers, we use “she”).
A Ten Point Guide For Officers
Know how to lead without being dictatorial.
Submit suggestions rather than imposing them.
Develop leaders while leading.
Be happy to be involved and accept responsibility.
Serve cheerfully and avoid complaining.
Think for yourself and don‟t be a rubber stamp.
Treat all colleagues equally.
Be considerate and do not make personal criticisms.
Develop your sense of humour and have fun.
Remember your Association is like a wheelbarrow -
it stands still unless somebody pushes it.
THE ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN
The Chairman is the driving force behind the Association.
His responsibilities include:
To ensure the efficient working of the Association.
To preside at Executive and other meetings.
To inform members about matters discussed and decisions made at Executive
To become acquainted with the general rules of committee and meeting
procedure including financial matters and to be familiar with the Association‟s
To decide, with the Secretary, on the agenda of meetings.
To share out the work fairly and encourage people to accept responsibility.
To give credit and recognition to others.
To develop others for leadership.
To make sure decisions are taken and carried out.
To represent the Association and act on its behalf between meetings.
To sign cheques
To welcome guest speakers and act as host at social events.
To try continuously to improve the Association by, for example, enlarging
membership and expanding activities.
Chairing meetings is the most important function of the Chairman because
effective chairmanship means effective meetings. Effective meetings mean that
time is not wasted, decisions are taken, work gets done, progress is made, and
the interest and enthusiasm of committee members are maintained. This function
of the Chairman is dealt with in detail in Part 2.
It is usual to have a Vice-Chairman whose function is to take the Chair in the
absence of the Chairman. It may be useful to make him Chairman of a sub-
committee. Succession to the post of Chairman should not be automatic.
THE ASSOCIATION SECRETARY
The Secretary is involved with the practical running of the Association and
has a key role in a personal and individual way. Her responsibilities may
be listed under four broad headings:
(a) Meetings: Work before, during and after
(b) Communications: Internal and external publicity
(c) Records: Storing of information and documentation
(d) Correspondence: Dealing with incoming and outgoing
Convene meetings and prepare agenda in consultation with the Chairman.
Make all physical arrangements e.g. book the room, check heating, arrange
Prepare any necessary back-up material for the meeting in the order in
which items will be taken on the Agenda.
Check progress or action decided on at previous meetings.
Attend early for the meeting and have prior discussion with the Chairman.
Read or circulate copies of the Agenda;
Read the minutes of the previous meeting.
Take notes of the meeting.
Read or summarise correspondence and deal with it, as agreed
Write the minutes (See Appendix 5).
Take action on any matters assigned to the Secretary.
Convene the Annual General meeting as required by the Constitution.
Arrange for Nominations (See Appendix 6 for specimen) and for Ballot
Compile Annual Report (A.G.M.)
Make all other arrangements for the A.G.M. as outlined above for meetings.
Use the Notice Board and announcements to keep members informed.
Prepare and issue News Releases as required to local media.
Assist with publicity for any special projects.
Maintain stocks of Association letterheading.
Arrange for a photographic record of special events for publicity.
Keep a record (scrapbook) of press cuttings and other publicity material.
Keep in touch with Federation activities.
Maintain copies of the Constitution and keep the Executive aware of it.
Arrange appointment of signatories of bank account/s as required through a
formal resolution of the Executive and notify the bank.
Keep records of all aspects of the Association‟s work by means of an
adequate filling system. This means, for example, that if someone else runs
an event such as an Outing, the documentation about it should be filed by
Maintain lists of useful organisations and individuals.
Keep file of FARA Bulletins.
Keep a diary of Association events.
Use a Petty Cash book.
Send annual affiliation form, with fee, to the Federation.
Deal with all correspondence promptly. Where necessary, consult the
Chairman or, if very important, the Executive. Keep the Executive
Keep copies of outgoing letters in date order.
Confirm all arrangements with guest speakers in writing.
Send out letters of thanks, where applicable.
Dispose of out-of-date correspondence at intervals.
“Communications” is listed here as a function of the Secretary. Except in the
case of large Associations dealing with the public, a separate post of Public
Relations Officer seems unnecessary. The Secretary is closest to the
Association’s activities while the chairman is the one who speaks on its behalf.
THE ASSOCIATION TREASURER
The Treasurer is answerable to the members for the financial
affairs of the Association. Some General Guidelines are set out
below but basically there are six working rules to be followed:
(a) Enter into books an account of all money received.
(b) Give receipts for all money received.
(c) Lodge all money received in the Bank Account.
(d) Enter into books an account of all money paid out.
(e) Get receipts for all money paid out.
(f) Never pay out of income.
The Treasurer’s responsibilities include:
See that Executive makes responsible decisions about money; also activities
which involve money.
Ensure that detailed costings are done in advance for special events.
Keep Executive informed of state of finances by regular reports.
Recommend suitable fund-raising as required.
Compile information on sources of grants.
Open and operate the Association‟s bank account/s.
Arrange for Executive to appoint account signatories and revise as
Sign cheques, with another approved officer.
Invest surplus funds in a deposit account.
Be responsible for insurance arrangements.
Receive membership fees and other monies collected.
Pay affiliation fee to Federation.
Maintain adequate accounting records.
Present account books and records for audit.
Prepare a Statement of Accounts for the A.G.M.
Provide a Membership Application Form for new members and encourage
Maintain up-to-date records of all members – their names, addresses and
Take any necessary action in the case of illness or bereavement of members.
Arrange for a record of attendance of members at activities, if required.
For a membership record use a typed list which can be copied and used for
various purposes. The list should be in strict alphabetical order (as in Telephone
Directory). It is suggested that the full names be typed in capitals, with the
address and the telephone number.
Most Active Retirement Associations do not handle large amounts of money.
Even so, it is important to see that finances are managed effectively and
smoothly. The Executive must keep control of money, know how much is in the
account, how it is being spent, what the likely demands are and take decisions
accordingly. It is the job of the Treasurer to give information; the Executive
must see that they get it.
The Treasurer must not adopt a negative attitude to spending money. But it is
his/her job to advise and make recommendations. Only the Executive has the
authority to decide its priorities and how money should be spent. The Treasurer
should ensure, however, that any large or unusual expenditure is properly
approved and recorded in the minutes.
When running special events, detailed advance costings should be done - see
checklist on Running an Annual Dinner (Page 44).
The Treasurer should give the Executive a verbal summary of income and
expenditure at least once a quarter together with an overall statement of
finances. The more often a report is given, the less likelihood there is of
difficulties arising. The Treasurer should have delegated authority to spend
small amounts e.g. up to, say €50 or to pay certain categories of bills.
Raising funds is not a function of the Treasurer; it is the shared responsibility of
the whole Executive. The Treasurer is likely to call attention to the need for it
and will be involved in the accounting aspects. The Treasurer should seek out
and maintain records of possible sources of funding.
Every fund-raising project should be approved in advance by the Executive and
organised in the name of the Association, even though it may be for a specific
purpose. All income and expenditure must be accounted for in the Association‟s
Donations should not be made from Association funds for outside organisations
or causes. Similarly, collections among members should be discouraged.
A Bank Current Account should be opened in the name of the Association.
The Executive should appoint as signatories the Chairman, Secretary and
Treasurer. They will be authorised to sign cheques drawn on the Association‟s
account; the cheques should be signed by the Treasurer and either the Chairman
or Secretary. Blank cheques should not be pre-signed. Opening the account and
the appointment or changing of signatories will need a formal resolution by the
Executive, recorded in the minutes. The bank will advise on the form of
resolution and will provide specimen signature forms.
Cash collections are often made by people other than the Treasurer for example,
for membership fees, for outings, for the Annual Dinner and other events.
While the person organising such activities should keep his/her own records, it
is the Treasurer who eventually receives the money and who issues individual
receipts for it.
Annual Accounts must be provided for the information of the members at the
Annual General Meeting. They are prepared in summary from data recorded
during the year and presented in a way that members with little knowledge of
accounting procedures can understand. A large Association with assets and
property would need two linked accounts i.e. an Income and Expenditure
Account and Balance Sheet. . But for the vast majority of Associations a
simpler Receipts and Payments Account will suffice (see information sheet no.
Annual accounts should be audited. Where amounts are small, the audit should
be done by one or two experienced people, preferably not Executive members.
If satisfied, they should add a report as follows at the end of the account:
“We have audited the above accounts and have obtained all the information we
considered necessary. In our opinion, the accounts give a true and fair view of
the state of the Association‟s affairs at ______(date)_______________”.
The audited Annual Accounts should be put to the last meeting of the Executive
Committee before the A.G.M. for approval.
The Treasurer who keeps books as indicated below will have no difficulty
answering any questions at the A.G.M.
An Information Sheet on Account Books, Records and Specimen Annual
Accounts is available from the Federation Office.
APPENDIX 6 - MINUTES
MINUTES are a concise written record of a meeting - where and when it took
place; who was present; items discussed and decisions made. Minutes provide
continuity of information especially for those who may miss a meeting. They
also provide references for the Association Secretary when she comes to write
her report for the Annual General Meeting. Minutes are confidential to the
committee members concerned.
Minute Book: It is desirable to have a strongly bound hard-covered book with
at least 80 pages. The best size is A4. Paper quality should be good. Pages
should be ruled and if there is not already a ruled margin it is good practice to
rule in one about at least 1” down the left-hand side.
The Minute Book should include minutes of Executive meetings, Special
Meetings and the Annual General Meeting. Sub-committees should keep their
own minutes, if these are thought necessary.
Don‟t tear pages out of the Minute Book and don‟t use it as a filing cabinet!
However, it is a good idea to record at the back of it the names of Bank
signatories and a copy of the Constitution.
The cover of the Minute Book should have a label with the name of the
Association and the starting and finishing dates. Books are the property of the
Association and should be carefully kept and handed on from Secretary to
Taking Minutes: Avoid long and detailed minutes. Use a separate book to keep
your rough notes. Do not record detailed discussion, use an outline, with facts
and decisions. Get the sense of the discussions rather than taking verbatim
notes. Try not to refer to members by name as you will then have to include all
points of views. At committee meetings it is not usually necessary to record
proposers and seconders of Motions. Neither is it necessary to record votes for
and against. However if a Motion is very important or controversial it might be
as well to put such matters on record. It is a good idea also for the Secretary to
check the draft of any important item in the Minutes with the Chairman before
writing the Minutes in the Book.
Having a proper Agenda for the meeting will help you in making notes. Better
still if you have a good Chairman! Do not hesitate to ask for clarification of
decisions, if necessary.
Recording Minutes: Write the Minutes into the Minute Book as soon as
possible after the meeting. There is nothing wrong with drafting some parts of
the Minutes before finally writing them into the Book. Check with the Agenda
that you have covered everything.
A suitable heading should give the kind of meeting, the place, the full date and
time. If your meeting is held at the same place and at the same time each week
or month, it is not necessary to repeat these details.
Record those present. It may be useful to list members in alphabetical order if
you analyse their attendances at the end of the year. Record apologies.
Write in simple straight-forward language in short paragraphs. Avoid long
involved sentences and keep punctuation to a minimum. Use indirect speech
always. Use headings in the margin in the same order as the Agenda. It makes
Correcting Minutes: If a mistake is made in the Minutes i.e. if a fact or
decision is not accurately recorded, the error can be corrected before being
signed by the Chairman a the next meeting. Simply cross out the incorrect
words and insert a correct version; the Chairman usually initials the correction.
If the error is not noticed until after the Minutes are signed, the correction
should be included in subsequent minutes.
Signing Minutes: Minutes should be read, approved and then signed by the
Chairman at the next meeting. Once signed they should not be altered.
APPENDIX 7 - Specimen Nomination Form
To be returned to the Secretary not later than
Note: The consent of the person being nominated must be
obtained. Members may be nominated for more than one position.
Executive Committee (*)
*Number of ordinary members on Executive Committee goes in here.
Running an Association (Part 2)
5.1 Much of the work of Active Retirement Associations is done through
informal and formal meetings, usually using committee structures, but
with special inputs from officers as set out in Section 3 (Part 1).
These notes deal with some aspects of committee procedures,
particularly as they relate to meetings of the Association Executive and
the Annual General Meeting: the principles can, of course, be applied
to any meeting. They also deal with the vital role of the Chairman in
ensuring effective meetings.
Why Committee Procedures?
5.2 Committees and meetings have an important place in the running of
organisations. But they attract much criticism, mainly because far
more committees and meetings are badly run than are well run. Much
of the poor conduct of meetings is because of:
(a) Lack of advance planning of the Agenda.
(b) Poor chairmanship.
(c) Failure to use the mechanics of procedure properly.
It is clear, therefore, that the efficient transaction of committee business calls for
the use of set procedures. The extent to which these are put into practice will, of
course, vary a good deal in relation to the size of the group and the type of
meeting. The rules of procedure are designed:
To ensure full and orderly discussion
To encourage full and fair participation by all members
To reach decisions by consensus if possible
To avoid wasting people‟s time by getting business done quickly. Broadly
speaking, the rules of procedure will ensure:
That, for practical purposes, the majority decision is the right one
That at a committee meeting the majority vote or view will represent the
That the minority will accept the majority ruling.
The Association Executive
5.3 Associations should hold regular Executive Committee meetings. It is
helpful to specify a special day, say the first Thursday of the month.
At the first meeting of the season, all should agree on a time; meetings
should begin punctually at that time. Meetings should also end
At the first meeting also, members should agree to send apologies if
they cannot attend. It could also be agreed that persons who fail to
attend at three meetings in succession without an apology should be
regarded as having resigned. A decision on a quorum should also be
taken, usually not less than one-third of the committee. The quorum
recommended for an Association Executive is four.
The Secretary calls a meeting. If held at a regular time no formal
notice should be necessary unless there is something special on the
Agenda. In that case, members should be told about it in advance.
5.4 Agenda: There should always be an Agenda for a meeting: this
prevents members raising matters at the wrong time. Any change in the
order of the Agenda should have the agreement of a majority. The
Agenda will usually have been drawn up by the Secretary after
consultation with the Chairman.
An Agenda for an Association Executive could be on the following lines:
1. Apologies for absence. 7. Activities Programme
2. Minutes of the last meeting. (a) Routine
3. Matters arising. (b) Special Events (Indoor)
4. Financial Report (quarterly) (c) Special Events (Outdoor)
5. Report from Federation delegate 8. Other Business (Correspondence)
6. Reports from 9. Next Meeting
„Minutes‟ (Item 2) must be agreed as a true record of the previous meeting and
then signed by the Chairman and dated. Any agreed amendment should be
inserted at once and initialled by the Chairman. (See Appendix 5 also).
„Matters arising‟ (Item 3) provides for a short review of progress on minor
matters. Matters of major importance should be on the Agenda separately.
„Federation report‟ (Item 5). Delegate to give a brief account of what is
happening at Federation Council level.
Items 6 and 7 deal with the main business of the meeting and should get most
time. The items listed here are only suggestions.
Other Business (Item B) includes correspondence and discussion of minor or
urgent business that people may wish to raise. No matter of major importance
should be decided under this heading; it should be deferred to the next meeting.
5.5 Minutes: Minutes are a brief and accurate record of the business
transacted and the decisions taken. (See Appendix 5 for guidelines on
5.6 Motions: The procedures relating to motions are dealt with under the
heading Annual General Meeting. The formality attached to motions at
General Meetings does not usually apply at committee level where a
less formal decision-making process usually operates. However, where
there is disagreement in a committee, the Chairman may call for a
definite proposal to be proposed and seconded; this often helps to
clarify the issues.
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
5.7 NOTE: It is not expected that all Associations will be able to run
an Annual General Meeting on the lines set out below.
Nevertheless, the procedure outlined is the ideal to be aimed at by
any large well-organised group.
5.8 Elections: At least 14 days before the Annual General Meeting, the
Secretary should issue a notification Form to all members setting out the
date, time, place and agenda of the meeting. She should enclose a
Nomination Form and give the date and time by which it should be
returned to her, usually within a week i.e. one week before the date of the
Annual General Meeting. The Nomination Form should also have space
for Notices of Motion - see specimen Nomination Form (Appendix 6).
A Nomination Form should be signed by the person making the
Nomination. It is important that the consent of the person being
nominated is obtained. Persons may be nominated for more than one
position e.g. a person nominated for an officer post should normally be
nominated also as a committee member in case he/she is not elected to
the officer post.
When Nomination Forms are returned, the Secretary lists the names of
nominees for each position in alphabetical order. This list, together
with the Annual Report is then circulated to all members at or before
the Annual General Meeting.
The Secretary should then prepare Ballot Papers from the nominations
submitted i.e. in any case where more persons are nominated than are
required to fill the posts. Names should again be in alphabetical order.
Enough copies should be made to ensure that every member will get a
ballot paper. Ballot Papers are not signed.
At the meeting, Tellers whose names are not on the Ballot Paper should
be appointed to count the votes when cast. The Tellers distribute and
collect the papers. Before voting takes place, the Chairman should
announce clearly any changes that may be necessary on the Ballot
Papers e.g. the deletion from the committee Ballot Paper of those who
may already have been elected as officers. He must also ensure that
only Members will vote.
Instead of the arrangement above the list of nominees could be written
on a blackboard in alphabetical order and a blank sheet of paper given
to members to write down the names of those they wish to elect. (The
list should be written before the meeting).
It may be useful for the Chairman to ask those nominated to identify
themselves by standing up.
Voting, where it concerns people, should always be by secret ballot.
When the count is finished, the Tellers summarise the results and hand
them to the Chairman who announces the results. Details of the voting
should not normally be given. The names of Committee members
elected should be read out in alphabetical order, not in the order of
voting. The Ballot Papers are destroyed by the Tellers when it is
certain that a recount will not be necessary.
5.9 Termination of Office: It is recommended that the Chairman and
other officers and Committee of the previous year remain in office until
the end of the Annual General Meeting.
5.10 Annual Report: The Annual Report by the Secretary is probably the
most important item on the Agenda. It should deal with the work done
during the year and, depending on the size of the Association, be
written under various headings.
The main business of the meeting should be transacted on the
Secretary‟s Annual Report. It is the place to discuss the work done -
or not done - during the year and to outline plans for the future.
5.11 Annual Accounts: Each Association should present at its Annual
General Meeting a Receipts and Payments Account for the year.
Presentation of a Balance Sheet as at the end of the year may be
necessary in the case of large Associations. Account should be kept as
simple as possible and not too detailed.
Production of a Receipts and Payments Account is relatively simple but
a Balance Sheet (for a large Association) is a more complicated and
specialised document and professional help would normally be required
for its production. For most Associations, therefore, a Financial
Statement would suffice. It is suggested that for convenience and
clarity all sums be rounded up or down to the nearest 1.
Discussion on the Accounts should be confined to financial affairs -
including fund-raising. It is usual for the Treasurer to first explain the
items in more detail and then to invite questions.
5.12 The Secretary‟s Annual Report and the Treasurer‟s Annual Accounts
should be discussed separately.
5.13 Notices of Motion: These are usually formal amendments of the
Constitution but they may also take the form of general directives from
the Annual General Meeting to the Executive Committee. A motion or
proposal must be proposed and seconded before being discussed. If
proposed but not seconded it is dead. Matters are, of course, often
discussed without a motion but if there is disagreement, the Chairman
may call for a formal motion.
A motion should begin with “I propose that .........”, followed by the
actual words of the motion. It should cover only one issue and be
short, clear and positive. For a simple example a motion “That a
Finance Committee be set up”. If that is agreed, the members could
then be decided (some people might agree with setting up the Finance
Committee but not with the members mentioned!).
When a motion is proposed and seconded it is open for discussion and
cannot be withdrawn without the consent of the Proposer and Seconder.
A motion may be amended. A slight alteration in wording to a motion
need not be dealt with as a formal amendment if it is acceptable to the
Proposer and Seconder. A formal amendment must be proposed and
seconded. It may add, delete or change words or phrases in a motion
without being contrary to the original motion. A simple direct negative
is not an amendment as those who are against a motion can speak and
vote against it.
An amendment is voted upon first and if beaten the original motion is
then put. if the amendment is successful, it then takes the place of the
original motion and is put as a substantive motion.
There can be more than one amendment and amendments can
themselves be amended. This can be very confusing and it is better to
try and incorporate suggestions into the motion or existing amendment
with the consent of the proposers.
When the Chairman puts the motion or amendment to a vote, he should
state it clearly so that members will know exactly what they are voting
on and so that the Secretary may get an accurate record for the Minutes.
When a motion is approved, it becomes a “Resolution”.
5.14 Voting: The usual way is by show of hands. There is also the vote by
Secret Ballot when each member records a vote on a ballot paper.
Voting for Secret concerned. It may also be used when voting on
important matters as it gives members a chance of voting without
hurting anyone‟s feelings.
Members should be encouraged to vote one way or another. Those
who abstain are really voting with the majority because they are doing
nothing to hinder its decision.
A motion is carried unanimously when all vote in favour of it with no
The Chairman has a vote like any other member. In addition he has a
second vote called a casting vote but he can only use this if he has
already voted as a member in the ordinary way. (He should not wait
for the result and then cast two votes!). A casting vote may be used by
Chairman when voting for and against is equal. It is wise to use the
casting vote to vote against change. If a written ballot has been used,
the casting vote should be given against the motion. The Chairman
need not use his casting vote but declare the motion “not carried”. The
motion may then be brought up again at a subsequent meeting.
5.15 No confidence vote: The Chairman‟s ruling on all matters of
procedure is final. Very occasionally a situation may arise when the
great majority would disagree with his ruling and wish to have the
matter discussed. The way to do it is for members to move and second
“That this meeting has no confidence in the Chairman”. The Secretary
then takes over and puts the motion to the meeting. If carried, the
Chairman must leave the chair. The meeting will then close or the
members will elect another Chairman to complete the business. The
motion operates for one meeting only.
5.16 The Chairman with the Secretary will decide on the Agenda. The
Chairman should decide what the priorities of the meeting are and put
these items high on the Agenda. He should also make sure he knows
what happened about decisions taken at the previous meeting. He
arrives in good time and starts and ends the meeting punctually.
The Chairman, by virtue of his office, takes precedence over all others
at the meeting. He has more authority than any other member of the
committee but this power must be used carefully and tactfully. He
should use this power to make the meeting effective, not to assert
himself unduly. He must guide but not lead. The following are some
of the ways by which the Chairman can guide the meeting.
He must encourage all members to express views.
He must keep to the point and see that others do likewise. He must not
allow talkative members to dominate the meeting.
He must close discussion on a subject when he thinks it has gone on
long enough; summarise the points made and make sure that members
understand the decision/s they are taking.
He should see that all speakers discuss matters „through the Chair‟ but
can use his discretion to allow some open discussion and reasonable
Only one person should be speaking at any time and mini-meetings
between a few members should be discouraged.
He should not express his own views early in a discussion but should
remain impartial. However, he should still get his views considered.
In general, he should keep the business moving briskly so that people
remain interested and involved.
Some techniques in Chairmanship
5.17 The technique of handling groups of people comes with experience,
though some of it can be acquired by training. An important technique
of Chairmanship is the use of questions. Instead of making statements
beginning with “I think _____” or “Yes, but don‟t you see ____” or “I
don‟t agree with you”, the skilled Chairman uses phrases such as
“What do you think about ___?” “Do you feel strongly ___?” “Can
we turn to this other aspect ___?” “Can we take Point A first?” “Mary,
can we hear your views?” Sometimes these questions will be directed
to the whole group, sometimes to a particular individual. Searching
questions from the Chair can uncover information, facts and opinions,
call attention to problems or ideas or to another phase of the subject.
Another important technique is summarising e.g. “We have agreed to
do ___” “Our solution seems to be ___” “We are still disagreed about
___” Summaries help a committee to confirm or modify their
decisions; they help the Chairman to keep control; and the Secretary to
record decisions accurately.
6: Doing Things Well
6.1 Doing things well gives a status to your group, makes work easy for
organisers, encourages new people to take responsibility, ensures
continuity and stability and keeps the membership happy and involved.
It could also be argued that because of the myths that surround older
people, there is a special obligation on those who run Active
Retirement Associations to do so in a businesslike way.
We have emphasised in this Handbook the importance of:-
Letting people know what Active Retirement is all about
Creative effective structures
Consulting with members
Cultivating new members
6.2 It is the Executive which gives leadership in all these areas. What the
Association does, how well it performs and the results that it achieves
depend on the quality of its management and especially on the skills
and enthusiasm of the officers and their ability to work as a team.
6.3 The key to getting good results is good organisation. To organise well
Know what you want
Take time to plan
Prepare a programme
Decide who does what
Follow things through
Develop co-operation of people
Resolve problems quickly
It is not possible to cover all aspects of organisation here but a few
points are dealt with as a guide.
6.4 Whenever there is more than one way of doing things or any kind of
choice or alternative there is need for a decision. As early as possible
in the life of a new group there should be agreement on the powers of
officers and on how decisions should be made. While minor decisions
can be taken by officers such as the Chairman, important decisions
should be made at committee level, usually by consensus. In this way,
everyone has an input. It should be noted that decisions arrived at after
a certain amount of disagreement tend to be better decisions.
There is an accepted way of dealing with problems or matters requiring
1. Be clear what the real problem or question is.
2. Collect all the relevant information on it.
3. First list all the possible ways of dealing with it. Only then
discuss the pros and cons of each alternative.
4. Choose the best course of action as agreed by all or by a
5. If it is a major issue, consult the full membership about it.
6. Take action on it.
7. Review the action, if appropriate.
The vast majority of decisions will, of course, give little
6.5 The work of running an Association should be shared out as much as
possible so that no one person is overloaded. While there is division of
work between officers, some additional delegation is often needed and
is in fact desirable. No Association should, for example, be dependent
on one person.
It is worthwhile to look for ways of sharing work. More people then
become involved and gain experience; this is healthier for the
Association. Finding work to share and people to do it is a special
responsibility of the Chairman. Work may be shared with a person or
When people are given tasks, give them a clear statement of what they
are to do and how far they can go. When a job is delegated, the person
should be left to do it. However, the Chairman must make sure that the
job is being done properly. This needs some skills to avoid being seen
to interfere as all voluntary activity requires a certain amount of trust.
Give credit where credit is due when a job is done well.
Some ways to involve people in the work of an Association are:
- To organise an outing or trip
- To make all arrangements for a lecture or demonstration.
- To represent the Association at specialist meetings, e.g., Bowls, Art
- To get rooms ready for activities and to tidy up afterwards.
- To act on a rota for catering facilities.
- To organise internal competitions.
- To do typewriting, copying other secretarial work.
Associations send a delegate and observer to Federation Council
meetings. Committee members should take turns to act as an observer
so that they make contact with others similarly involved and gain
encouragement and knowledge from them.
Sharing work is not easy especially if the same people hold office year
after year and tend to keep things to themselves. There should be a
limit on holding office. On the other hand, people are slow to accept
responsibility. It is usually necessary to “persuade”. Begin with short-
term and minor assignments. But the best way to attract help is by
having a reputation for good organisation so that people would know
they would be helped. A major tool of good performance is the use of
checklists whenever possible.
6.6 A checklist is a formalised list of all the things that need to be done
when organising an event. It is prepared before the event. It provides
an assurance that every point is covered and that as little as possible is
left to chance. It forms a tight agenda for discussions with resultant
time saving. The checklist also provides a permanent record which can
be passed on from person to person and from group to group. It builds
on experience. Most importantly, it facilitates the delegation of work.
A checklist can be compiled by one person but ideally it should be done
by a group who take part in a “brain-storming” session at which ideas
are swapped. The procedure is like this:
1. People sit around a table, each person with a sheet of paper.
2. They list what needs to be done - in a word or phrase - no
discussion - no particular order. Each person writes down the
point made. It will be convenient to number them for
3. When all ideas are noted, they are put into order. It may be
useful to divide into “Before”, “During” and “After”. It may
also be possible to put the ideas under sub-headings.
4. When the final list is ready, it should be typed in double or
treble spacing (to put in additional items, if necessary). The
“Master Copy” should be put on file and photocopies used as
working copies, with items ticked or noted according as they
An example is given at Appendix 9 of a checklist for an Annual
6.7 Many Associations arrange talks or demonstrations by outside
speakers. The subject matter of these should be carefully selected to
interest the majority of members. Offers from commercial firms should
be given careful consideration as their aims is likely to be the
promotion or sale of products or services. Decisions should be made
by the Executive Committee.
When a booking is being made, confirm it in writing, making sure to
get the date, the venue and the time noted. The duration of the talk
should be known as well as any special requirements. The location of
the Association and how to get to it should be fully explained by means
of a sketch map if necessary. The appointment should be checked by
phone a few days beforehand.
The question of a fee should be raised. If no fee is requested it may
sometimes be appropriate to give a gift voucher.
Arrange for someone to meet the speaker and introduce him/her to the
officers. Check the format of the meeting, e.g. arrangements for
The Chairman will usually preside but may nominate someone else.
Introduce the speaker correctly even though he/she may be well known.
Say what the topic is but do not pre-empt what the speaker is going to
say. Explain procedure for questions.
At the end of the talk, encourage questions. The Chairman then thanks
the speaker if arrangements have not been made for this to be done
from the floor. The speaker is then given refreshments.
Have an alternative programme ready in case the speaker does not turn
Checklist: Running an Annual Dinner / Social
Open file Hotel - Meal ..........
Select sub-committee - Wine ..........
Decide date - Tips ..........
Select venue - book in writing Band - Fees ..........
Arrange for music - Tips ..........
Select menu - Meal/s ..........
Prepare costings - Other ..........
Fix admission price - Members – Guests Travel - Special Bus ..........
Decide duration of social - Tips ..........
Arrange bar extension, if held in a hotel Printing ..........
Print / Duplicate tickets Raffle Tickets ..........
Members only? Raffle Prizes ..........
Limit on guests per member? Spot Prizes ..........
Arrange distribution of tickets _______________
Must admission be prepaid? Total Cost ..........
Circular to members, past and present ..........
Arrange special transport, if necessary Pay band
Arrange raffle? Pay tips
Buy prizes Letters of thanks
Buy raffle ticket books Collection of any money due
Appoint people to sell the tickets Prepare final account for Executive
CHECK HOTEL Report to Executive
CHECK CATERER IF SELF-CATERING
Decide on special Invitations Menu
Arrange for presentations and speeches, if any Written quotation from caterer
Select M.C. Confirm booking, with lists of requirements
Arrange for provision of
Organise hall decor, sign-posting (Toilets) etc. Cups, saucers, plates, glasses
Rota of people for the door Condiment sets or equivalent
Allocate duties to Committee members Cutlery
Arrange to fill the „band break‟ interval Trays
Arrange for cloakroom Corkscrews, bottle-openers
Check fire exits Table covering, decoration, serviettes
Decide on top table seating Who will do what?
Display raffle prizes, with details Tidying up
Acknowledge sponsors, if any
Mid Western Region
South Eastern Region
North West Region
Revised June 2004