Frequently Asked Questions
As questions arise that are potentially relevant to other Coast Guard Spouses' Clubs, we will post them here (anonymously), along with the National Council's response, in order to help other clubs gain perspective.
Q. How many members are needed to form a club?
A. Our by-laws samples show a small club as having 15 or fewer members, but you’d need enough members to fill the elected positions that are outlined in the proposed by-laws that a prospective club would submit.
Q. What is the amount of the dues?
A. This is entirely driven by the club and what they define their goals use any dues collected. So, that means you could have no dues and collect monies as needed. Or, you could collect dues and use those monies to cover costs of events (ex. CG activities), community efforts (ex - backpack for needy children) or scholarships for CG dependents (a frequent program). There are two things to think about - if you want to fund raise, you can’t take money as a “non-profit” for which individuals or business could see a tax deduction (which means registering with the IRS) and second, if you do collect dues, your by-laws will need to specify what to do with money should you ever shutdown.
Q. How often is the club required to meet?
A. You decide and you can put that into your by-laws. Remember though, we encourage meeting, even if unofficially, as one of the benefits of forming the club. Getting to know each other helps to develop the social support networks that spouse clubs can be.
Q. What does a general meeting look like?
A. We are currently in the process of reviewing our handout on how to run clubs and meetings. But in general, we like to see clubs run meetings along the general outline of having an agenda that outlines a “business” part in which club business is conducted, a useful presentation to help the members learn and a social element.
Q. Are topics/meetings designated?
A. As noted above, and which you’ll see in our handbook once it is finalized, we do encourage having an agenda to help successful run a meeting. How the club designates topics or items during a specific meeting is entirely up to the club. We have found though, that if a specific agenda items is included and advertised, it becomes a great way to draw people in. For example, you could ask the Ombudsman to be a speaker and tell the club members exactly what the Ombudsman’s role is, how to reach out to them, etc.
Q. How are board members elected?
A. This is also part of your by-laws, though the initial start up of a club includes volunteers willing to “kickstart” the club in leading its formation. Once a group of spouses is able to lead the creation of a club, you can then hold elections based on your submitted by-laws at the first meeting.