Author Topic: Limiting Club Memberships  (Read 5983 times)

Offline dbeechum

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Limiting Club Memberships
« on: June 30, 2011, 11:29:18 AM »
I do have to ask out of curiosity - what's the motivation for limiting club memberships per year? Is it infrastructure? (I've seen mentions of meeting space, etc).

Like other clubs, I know a good number of the members of the Falcons are members in name only for the discount. There's no way we'd be able to support all 300ish people at once, but I'm perfectly happy to take their money and spend it on things like beer for educational activities. Even among the dedicated, there's no way they'll all show up at any function.

My big worry with turning away potential members is getting yourself into one of the following sort of situations:

- "They're snotty, we're forming our own club"
- The potential member peters out of brewing due to lack of support
- The club is slow to recognize the natural attrition of the hobby and suddenly finds themselves at half membership with an increasing decay rate.

Now, that's my take, what's yours? There are good reasons, I'm sure, I'm just not seeing them.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2011, 11:53:28 AM »
I would go out of my way to make room for new members. Perhaps I don't understand the reasons why one would turn away a potential club member but I believe clubs should only embrace new membership with open arms. It will only fuel the club's future and bring in more revenue to help generate more events and/or activities.

Maybe in extreme cases there can be limited space, but I think that would only encourage the club to grow into a larger venue. If it comes down to it, the club should increase it's dues to accomodate the increased membership.
Ron Price

Offline denny

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 12:34:44 PM »
In our case,  a lot of it has to do with limited room in our meeting space.  In a perfect world, I'd prefer to find another place to meet, but that doesn't seem to be the consensus in the club.  Given that, we have no choice but to limit membership.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2011, 12:39:55 PM »
We don't limit membership, but we also don't have "drinkers" the way some clubs do.  At least, not that I know about.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline roxanne

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 04:59:58 PM »
We don't limit membership. If we had tried to limit membership when we were growing, we would be in a very difficult position now.  Club members grow into workers and leadership positions at different rates - and I think that most clubs need a mix of experience levels in the leadership positions.  There will always be attrition.  Some people will stay members, but not be present for a while as other life priorities need to be dealt with (or - will come back later when the other priorities settle down).  One side effect of limiting membership is that people in the club will start to burn out - there is little new blood to take on new roles.  Without new people, eventually the folks doing all the work just can't do it anymore.

Meeting space can be difficult - but maybe we can talk about some creative ways around that?
 8)We got lucky and found a community center that can accomodate us now (and with a fair amount of growth).  We pay a donation each month - and our meeting raffle usually covers those costs.
 8)If you have a club that is getting too big for it's location - increase the dues to cover location costs, or - maybe take a collection at each meeting to cover meeting location costs.
 8)For folks in states who are lucky enough to be able to meet in a place with a liquor license... - talk to them.  Maybe you can get an area for free if a certain number of members buy dinner before/after the meeting.


If people are concerned that others won't join a club that is too big - it's fine for those new folks to look at forming a separate club.  As an interesting note - the original members of the second club formed in Cincinnati formed for that very reason.  Both clubs are successful and growing (and - are about the same size, now :P).  The clubs get along fine today - and we do some events together - which makes us a very large group for those things!
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Offline bobby_m

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 08:46:53 PM »
I personally don't see much benefit to having members that no one ever sees. There are plenty of virtual groups online for people that can't attend meetings. Sure, taking their dues and not having them ever make claims against it is one benefit, but that's not really in the spirit of what most clubs are about.

Meeting location is one of the practical limits and it's probably a bigger issue for old clubs that have been in one establishment for a really long time. Before our explosive growth, the club had been at the same joint for 10 years. A lot of members were adamant against moving to a new place. The people that were in favor of moving couldn't come close to finding a suitable alternative (free and larger). We would have settled for inexpensive.

The other reason for limiting membership is keeping meetings under control.

Offline punatic

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2011, 11:24:38 PM »
Like other clubs, I know a good number of the members of the Falcons are members in name only for the discount.

FINOs? 

Welcome all with open arms!  You never know who might be the next Sam Caligeone just looking to get her/his feet on the path.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 04:54:51 AM »
You never know which new member will start making outstanding beer, win awards, and go pro.

Carl, the Falcons already have some big names from the pro ranks on the alumni list.  I know of a few, Drew could through those names out there.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 11:13:15 AM »
Sure, taking their dues and not having them ever make claims against it is one benefit, but that's not really in the spirit of what most clubs are about.

At least in our case the "MINO"s are getting their discounts at the shop and a couple of other establishments, so they get their benefit and everyone else gets the benefit of expanded coffers to things entertaining and educational.

The meeting space is an interesting conundrum. We're fortunate that we have a space that we can pack 70-80 people into and usually have people milling around on the outside, talking, making food, sampling homebrews, etc. In some ways I think of the self-limited aspect of the clubhouse as being a feature rather than an impediment. The meetings are already hard enough to manage at 50, let alone 100.

Trying to think - the two biggest names usually associated with the Falcons are the Grossmans from Sierra Nevada and John Maier from Rogue. Somewhere out there in all this electronic miasma I have a photo of John in his old school banana yellow Falcons T-Shirt at the 2010 NHC Club Night. It was truly awesome.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Limiting Club Memberships
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 10:58:06 PM »
I do have to ask out of curiosity - what's the motivation for limiting club memberships per year? Is it infrastructure? (I've seen mentions of meeting space, etc).

If you're in a situation where you have to limit memberships, you're lucky!

The only real reason for limiting membership is infrastructure and organizational reasons. Even so, if you're willing to take it to the next level, and have the leadership which is capable of handling a larger group, it's certainly possible. Bigger groups certainly require more logistical support, though, and the finances and legal issues get trickier.

Locally, in a part of the country with static or declining population, our HB club membership has remained relatively constant at 60-80 members for 5 or so years. Of that group, some people are just in it for the club discount, so we might get anywhere from 30-60 people at any given meeting. Were we to get much bigger, we'd be hard-pressed to find a meeting space which could both accommodate our members and which allows us to bring beer in.

Given a big city, I see no reason why there can't be multiple HB clubs to serve different regions or different areas of interest. In that case, it sort of makes sense to cap membership. It would be a better strategy to encourage people in a different region of the city to form their own club, however.