After having a club for about 9 or 10 years, my club finally just last month passed some by-laws. We had initially set quorum at 33% but based on additional discussion decided that it should be 40%. We are currently at about 16 or 18 members, so it's still a small club, definitely not huge, but growing a lot lately. A year ago we were probably at about 11 or 12 members, but we're all pretty hardcore with everyone coming to almost every meeting. Counter-intuitively, I believe it is our hardcore beer-geeky nature that has made the club STRONGER and NOT weaker. We can all speak our minds at any time about anyone's beer, give them light-hearted wink-wink crap about DMS or diacetyl or whatever, but we've all developed thick skin and just try to do better next time, and conversely, when someone brings a truly fantastic beer and we rave about it, they can go home knowing that it truly IS a fantastic beer and we're not just being nice. I think we do tend to get a little carried away and it does turn some potential new member away, but the ones who stay inevitably become, or already are, awesome hardcore beer nerds, so, is that such a bad thing??? I dunno!! I guess we kind of like it this way!?!
One big criticism I have of our club is the lengthy "business" portion of the meetings..... I have mentioned time and again that while we do have important business to get through, planning our next events or competitions or whatever, plus a presentation on "How To _____", this stuff does not need to take long, we should be able to discuss and take votes and get through it all in 20 minutes, or 30 minutes tops. Any top-tier club would be able to do that I think. And yet, we don't, we can't... no..... it usually takes a friggin HOUR or so, plus or minus, to fully discuss every nitty-gritty detail, and it drives me nuts. Observant folks will catch me yawning and rolling my eyes at times, when what I'd rather be doing is talking to Joe, Dick, or Harry about the beer they've made and how awesome it is, or discuss my own process with others.
Bottom line, for me at least, is to make sure it's fun and educational, and NOT too much business. Committees could be set up for the extra business stuff, for members who are most interested. This will become more and more important as our club (and any club) continues to grow, with a greater core membership and leadership team who wants the club to do more public stuff, and not just lay back and drink beers with minimal production. In the early years, we did that. We just talked beer the whole time with no expectations of getting out into the public and promoting this event or that event. Now, it just seems like a few people want to do all this extra stuff while most of us would rather go the old route of just talking and laughing and having a good time talking about homebrewing, and not be required to sit on our hands with our mouths zipped shut for a full friggin hour.
Guess I should probably pass all this on to my leadership now. </rant>
Hope some of this helps other clubs in some way. Something to think about for sure.