How to become club secretary

Today, becoming a club Secretary is really easy. Simply say the words “I might think about becoming Secretary of my club one day” and BOOM before you know it you are the Secretary. Alternatively you might attend an Annual General Meeting with no intention of joining the committee but because nobody put their hand up you drive home, the new secretary of your sports club.

The formal process for a club Secretary will be defined in your club rules/constitution but generally each year at the Annual General Meeting committee members and office holders of the club are elected. It is becoming very rare for there to be elections for office holders but be aware that this is what will happen if two people run for Secretary.

Your club rules/constitution may have a nomination process which needs to be followed so the best place to start when thinking about becoming club Secretary is to read the club rules/constitution.
Once you understand the formal process to be elected then what you do next depends upon why you have decided to run, or the situation the club finds itself that has caused you to put your hand up for Secretary.

The current Secretary is standing aside
This is the most common situation, that the current Secretary has given notice that they will not continue in the role next year. In this situation the best scenario is for an orderly handover so once you have decided to run for Secretary talk to the current Secretary about the role. It is best that you find out exactly what the role entails and if anybody else has expressed interest in the role.
If nobody else expresses interest in the role, you will still need to be formally appointed at the Annual General Meeting, but you can start to work with the current Secretary to get as much information as possible prior to leaving them leaving the role.

The current Secretary wishes to be reelected
If the current Secretary has decided they wish to continue as Secretary but for whatever reason you have decided that you would be a better option then this creates a really interesting situation. The simple reality is that both the current Secretary and those seeking election would nominate for the committee and/or the Secretary’s role as per the rules of the club and then the members would then vote on who the next club Secretary will be.

The challenge then becomes the election process. How do you go about getting more votes than the other nominees? Another interesting question often asked is when do we let the current Secretary know of our “challenge”?
Our responses to both these questions is that you are not in politics, your role is to act in the best interests of the club and its members at all time so the less politics the better.
We recommend talking to the existing Secretary as early as possible about any concerns you have and your reasons for considering taking over the role. Often you will be surprised to learn what the Secretary is going through and with a little help and support the issues can easily be resolved.

If, after this discussion you decide to continue and seek election then make sure everything you do from this point on is respectful to the club, the members, the current committee and Secretary. Remember after the election, regardless of the result the club needs to come together and continue into the future.
Make sure that in any campaigning that you do for the role that your focus is on the future, your vision for the club and what you bring to the role of Secretary. Give the members a clear choice. There is absolutely no need to get personal in the election campaign, it is about vision and ability and not personalities.

Preparing to become Secretary
The perfect scenario is that a couple of years from when you wish to become Secretary you make it known to the existing Secretary that your goal is to be the next Secretary whenever that is and use this time to prepare. Ideally you will join the committee and even become an assistant secretary so you can get a strong understanding of the role and its requirements before you get into the role.
This is the perfect scenario for the club and is called succession planning. Strong and successful clubs develop their next Secretary and don’t wait to an Annual General Meeting hoping one will magically appear..


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