Most book clubs have bylaws in place in order to help guide their group in the direction that they see fit. Many times while creating bylaws you may find that your group either do not want to make certain decisions on specific aspects or you may feel that you need to make final decisions in order to insure that the book club is consistent and doesn’t cause more work on the back end. In order to make practical decisions there are a few things you should take into consideration but first let’s start out with introducing a common book club dilemma:
Your book cub finally agrees to take up dues, beginning in January, to help pay for partial expenses for two visiting authors per year and the deposit for all your members to attend a literary event. Many of your members would prefer not to pay an annual payment of $120 in order to cover their dues and would prefer to pay monthly during book club members. At the same time, you nor your treasurer want to collect, deposit, and keep record of dues on a monthly basis for various reasons.
The dilemma is figuring out a happy medium with how often dues should be paid in order to make it affordable for all, keep you and your treasurer sane, plus have enough cash to pay for impending expenses.
Gather Relevant Information
It’s always important that you gather all of the relevant information needed in order to make the best decision.
Relevant Information - You have an author scheduled to visit your group in late February and the deposit for your trip is due in mid-March.
You know that some of your book club members do not consistently show up to meetings, which would require your treasurer or you to notify members who fall behind with paying their dues on a monthly or bimonthly basis. Also based on the commitments for the upcoming year, you know that collecting dues monthly may not cover your commitments that are coming up during the first quarter.
Pay Attention to the Issue While Keeping the Big Picture in Mind
In this case, the issue is handling and keeping account of what’s due by members on a monthly basis. The other issue is that your members do not want to pay $120 in one payment. The bigger picture is that your book club have expenses that must be addressed in order to participate in an upcoming event and pay for expenses for an author in the next few months. Also, you need consistency, which will help with book keeping overall.
Seek Out a Solution with Others
It’s important to hold a discussion with your officers at this point to see if they can help you come up with a solution. It would also be helpful to reach out to other book clubs to see how they collect dues and what their suggestions may be.
Don’t Make a Hasty Decision
It’s important that you take all of the suggestions into consideration and make your decision based on what’s relevant, upcoming responsibilities, your treasurer’s responsibilities and also how much and often your book club members can handle paying dues.
Consider the Short-Term and Long-Term Benefits
Some of the short term benefits is that you’ll have enough money to cover your expenses within the first quarter. The long-term benefit is that you’re setting an expectation for your members that will be a part of your book club’s bylaws, which will also help with setting a budget while planning for the upcoming year.
Stick to and Be Confident About Your Decision
Once you’ve made your final decision don’t be afraid to share it and stick by it. Share your final decision with confidence and trust that what you’ve decided is the best decision based on the information gathered, the history of your book club and the obligations that need to be met.
Based on the concerns of your members and the impending expenses you decide that your members’ dues can be split up in quarterly payments of $30 to be paid on the first day during the months of January, March, June & September. This would allow enough funds to cover the first quarter costs and also limit the trips to the bank by you or your treasurer. You also decide to offer alternatives to taking up cash dues during meetings by offering alternative options like auto-pay through PayPal or Pop Money and/or depositing checks through your bank’s app.
Making final decisions for your book club can be an unsettling experience if you’re not sure about making decisions about what’s best for an entire group. Figuring out what’s relevant, talking to others, taking the time to consider the information gathered and looking at the short and long-term benefits can help you stick to and be confident in your decision.