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Mike, I had to smile when I started reading your post. Halfway through, I was shaking my head. Depending on your personality and tolorence level, you're about 6 months behind me. I could have been reading my own story. Mine ended by resigning two months ago.

I, too, was the treasurer of my club--along with wearing many other hats. I, too, put in 10 times more time every month. And I, too, put together a fabulous website which no one used. Hell, I didn't even get a thank-you for the 200 hours of time it took me to learn html and develop the site.

I, too, questioned whether I was asking too much of my members--and allowed them to "let me" do all the work and feel guilty for it. This story is all too familiar.

Your club developed requirements for membership. They obviously agreed to these requirements, or they wouldn't have joined the club. So, you are not expecting more out of them than they originally committed to. What you "are" doing, is giving them permission to NOT honor their commitments.

I started my club 5 years ago. We had a small but close group of 5 that did a good job of pulling their weight. When we added to our group (doubling it this past year)the incoming personalities actually changed the group's dynamic.

I can see now that we didn't have a well-structured mentoring program for incoming members. Because they didn't know what to do, they didn't do anything. This had an effect on the current members and the work ethic started to decline all the way around. I worked like a dog to get the new members up to speed, but it was like talking to a wall--especially when my emails went unanswered, and my offers of individualized help went unaccepted.

I have seen New Member Packets from model clubs (those few "perfect" clubs out there) that seem absolutely treacherous. They make their potential members sit in for 4 months, learn the club tools (like the SSG) and provide a completed stock study to be used as their final test to get voted in. I've heard that 8 out of 10 potential members don't make it through the process because they are overwhelmed by what is expected of them. The theory goes, if they aren't willing to do the work to get into the club, they certainly aren't going to do it afterwards. In turn, those that survived the process were more likely to pull their weight.

So, Mike, are you really looking for an evaluation set in stone to gauge or test your members' participation? Or are you looking for ammunition against the ones who aren't pulling their weight? Because I can tell you from experience, it won't matter.

You know who is and is not participating. So do the other members, and so do the laggards. And if your club hasn't been holding members accountable for their lack of participation, if you aren't adhering to your by-laws, then they know the rules don't count.

Can you get it turned around? I sure hope so. And I would love to know how, because I couldn't change this dynamic, once it started. Eventually, I found it affected my own desire to get the work done, so I chose to leave.

I think the best you can hope for is to gather the members who are truly interested in pulling their weight, and put pressure on those who don't. But that would require a joint consensus, and probably result in asking for the resignation of several club members.

In my situation, there were others who agreed that we needed to take action, but none who were strong enough to take such a hard line to turn the club around.

The point of my story is, you are not alone. This problem is very common. Personally, I hope you find that magic solution, because I sure couldn't. In the end, I had to save myself.

If you need some moral support, feel free to write me privately. And please share any solutions you may find. I'm sure it would benefit many of us on this board.

Good Luck,
Lynn Ostrem
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