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Does your club regularly vote in new members?

April 10, 2012

Justin O’Donnell is the District 86 Public Relations Officer (PRO). He is also the VP Membership at Garden City Club, and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Marketing (LGM) for District 86 for the 2012-2013 year.

Justin has posted the following article on Facebook, reprinted here with his permission.

Does your club regularly vote in new members?

This may seem like a silly question, but you would be surprised at the number of clubs that don’t bother with this simple procedure. Voting in new members is something all Toastmaster clubs should do.

Some have questioned the necessity of this procedure. Toastmasters International is an organization that is supposed to be an open all. It is an organization dedicated to helping everyone improve their communication and leadership skills, regardless of one’s race, religion, gender, etc. Clubs provide a positive, supportive and safe environment for its members so they reach their full potential in terms of both communication and leadership skills. By and large clubs are successful in providing this atmosphere for its members. So why would it be necessary to vote in new members to supposedly such an open, inclusive and supportive organization?

Occasionally, there may be a club member that engages in disruptive behaviour to the point that the positive, supportive and safe environment that is supposed to be offered by a club is compromised. The results can include low morale, poorly run meetings and may even result in some members leaving the club. When it reaches this stage, it’s time to consider voting the disruptive member out for the sake of both the membership and the overall health of the club.

This brings us back to the question why members should be voted in. First, the TI constitution requires all clubs to formally vote in its members. Secondly, although it is possible to remove a member that was never voted in into a club, the club will be on firmer legal ground if they had first voted said member in. For example, a member who was never voted into the club and is subsequently voted out could take legal action against the club, claiming that since he/she was voted into the club, the club has no legal right to vote them out! Clubs that vote its members in can avoid such situations.

If your club does not vote in new members, then it’s time to seriously consider doing so. By performing this simple procedure, a Toastmasters club can both ensure the long term stability of its club and head off any trouble that a disruptive member may cause.

J. Justin O’Donnell, ACG, ALB
Lt. Governor of Marketing Candidate
District 86 Toastmasters

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