Starting a Specialty Club
by Brenda Dumas, ARBA Judge
Holland lovers, don't just sit there wishing you had a club, create your own! A few years ago the breeders in Michigan all wanted a specialty club, but no one knew how to go about it. After many phone calls and a great deal of discussion, I decided to take on the task.
I borrowed constitutions from three other clubs to get ideas on how to develop our own club. The club must be chartered with both the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club. You must send for an application from each organization and complete it. That's the easy part.
Then, you sit at the typewriter for hours deciding what rules will pertain to your club. Things such as, who will belong and what officers will be needed in order to get the group together. When we set out to charter the club, we began with the following officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and three directors. The people in these positions were appointed for a one year term to get the club started. I took fliers to the shows looking for interested people, raising Holland Lops. When I had enough people together, I asked certain individuals to hold offices. With the interest we had, it didn't take long and we were getting closer to our goal.
Writing the Constitution and Bylaws was the hardest part of all. You need to decide what rules will fit your group and your area. Remember that these rules will run your club. Once you have the first draft of the constitution and Bylaws, and the officers in place, then it's time to hold your first meeting. When you get the membership together, go over the Constitution and Bylaws. This will be helpful because they will have new ideas and thoughts to add to what you already have in print. After reviewing the Constitution and Bylaws with the member, you must set the amount for dues, to enable the club to get off the ground. When all the decisions have been made, you can complete a final draft.
The person appointed as Treasurer, should open a checking account in the name of the club. In order to do so they will need a nonprofit number. By having a checking account, you can keep track of all of the funds coming in and going out.
The Michigan club meets at least four times a year and we usually have three or four specialty shows a year. Each and every year our club grows a little bigger and better. We plan outings together and are supportive of one another. We are very lucky to have a group that works and plays well together. We have traveled to several national shows as a club and have really had fun.
A specialty club is only as good as it's members. I hope this will help people who have a common interest get even more out of " The Hallmark Breed"!
HLRSC Official Guidebook - 5th Edition 2002