The Club Secretary: Keys To Proficiency



What Makes A Successful Club Secretary?


The secret of a well-run club is to have an efficient and proactive secretary who will handle all the administrative tasks and will do the necessary correspondence and communications within the organization to keep everyone up to date and on the same page.


Secretary duties can be beyond what is expected of the role. It is more than just writing the minutes of the meeting and scheduling meetings. Often, the Secretary is thinking of the connections that need to be made while decisions are taking place. They are already planning on what the next steps will be, who they need to talk to or share the information, and how it will be stored and managed. It can be an extensive and all-embracing role and below we outline the keys to being proficient and successful.


Keep The Club Organized And Date Driven


It is vital that the club secretary sets up a club’s calendar and labels all significant dates. These dates are not just for the athletes, it’s also to keep track of what is upcoming for the board. Appropriate planning ensures that not only dates are met, but they are met completely and accurately.


Your Club will have some dates that are specific to you, but here are some examples of significant dates that should be noted:


Board

  • Board and Subcommittee meeting dates

  • AGM

  • Legal Filing dates

  • Grant/Financial Submission Deadlines

  • Project Important Dates

  • Events

  • Important Marketing initiatives

Athletes

  • Competition Dates

  • Competition Team Registration Dates

  • Practice Schedules

  • Events


Keep Track And Maintain Valuable Records.


A club secretary is expected to ensure all the records are up to date or maintained and saved in a location that everyone who needs access can easily find the appropriate documents. This goes directly to the efficiency of the organization. Some clubs will have many volunteers some will have few, either way, the ability to access that information ensures that those volunteers aren’t wasting time being inefficient, or even worse, making decisions off of inaccurate information. Here are some examples of the records that a club secretary must hold:


Board

  • Updated contact details of the club vendors, landlords, sponsors, and any other stakeholders

  • Board and Subcommittee meeting agendas, packets, and minutes

  • Board Budgets, Cash Flow, and any other financial documents

  • Professional Documentation: Lawyer, Accountant, Insurances, Club Constitution and Bylaws, Contracts

  • Policies and Procedures

  • Projects: Planning Documents, Approvals, Budgets, and any other documents that go with each project

  • Marketing/Press Releases

  • Newsletters

Athletes

  • Updated contact details of members, supporting members, and past members

  • Updated profiles of team players

  • Collection of forms/documentation for upcoming competitions

  • Athlete record-holders per year and all time


Keeping track and being on top of these records will help you in reminding the club officer in charge about necessary changes, updates, and/or when a deadline must be met.


Be Persistent


This role can be time-consuming, especially when you first start and you are trying to bring some order to the role. You will work alongside the Board President, Treasurer, and other Board and Subcommittee people. While the club Secretary is responsible for the collection and maintenance, it is not their responsibility to write all of the documentation. You will have some, but the Board and Committees will have responsibility for their documentation. This is where persistence takes place. A successful secretary must know who is doing what and when. You will have to remind people of what needs to be accomplished and turned in for saving or dissemination. This means you will need to possess positive energy and a constructive approach to motivate others to keep up with their responsibilities...


Be Flexible


There are some duties that you may be called on to carry out. You must be very comfortable with talking to anyone about the club because after all, you are in the middle of all things and have knowledge of the happenings and goings-on of the club. So, there will come a time that you may be asked to act as a liaison or tasked to talk to a PR or media person. You may be asked to undertake initial research or investigation, again, because you have enough base knowledge to get the ball rolling.


Have Excellent Verbal And Written Communication Skills


Due to the nature of your role, you are the face of the club and hold a high profile. You will be in charge of making memorandums, secure minutes of the meetings, send necessary information and announcements. Oftentimes, you will be communicating with vendors, sponsors, and many other stakeholders so you must have the skills to convey clear and concise messaging.


Be Responsive


As you are the conduit and keeper of information, you will be sought out to answer questions and queries. It’s important that you:

  1. Respond to all correspondence as quickly as possible. (even if it’s to simply acknowledge receipt)

  2. Pass the correspondence to the relevant person if it’s not you

  3. Keep track of important messages that have not been answered completely, responded to, or have been passed on to someone else, to ensure there is timely and adequate follow-through.


Knowledge Of The Rules Of The Club


The club secretary must have detailed knowledge and understanding of the Club Constitution and Bylaws as the caretaker of the club’s legal documents. This includes knowledge of all legal obligations, club rules, and policies. This also means ensuring the recording of changes and notifying the club officers when something is due.


Be Unbiased


A club secretary must be impartial and act in the best interests of the club at all times. Provide transparency whenever possible, avoid powerplay and being influenced.


Championing Team Work Ethics


Successful club secretary works towards helping others when asked and foresees what might the club need in the future. You must be the number one promoter of teamwork. A good secretary must be able to anticipate needs before others may even ask you so you must pay attention to detail on every task.


At first read, these proficiencies might be very overwhelming but as you get yourself and the club organized, things will run more efficiently. Most successful secretaries love their role because they are the glue that holds the Club together, which can be a very fulfilling endeavor.