Finding a New Club Secretary

Thursday, September 04, 2014

As the season draws to a close some clubs will be confronted by a situation where one of their key volunteers is no longer able to continue in their role.  This can be a difficult and stressful time for a club but it also presents the club with an opportunity to bring someone new into a key post.  Ideally there has been a transition plan in place for some time where the outgoing secretary is able to train and pass over key knowledge to someone who has already been identified to take over the position.  However, in some cases the club will be left with a blank canvas as they search for a replacement.

In this article we look specifically at the role of the club secretary and how to find a replacement.

What does the role of secretary entail: 

The secretary is often the first person an outsider contacts, therefore the position of secretary is critical to the successful management of any club. The secretary is the chief administration officer of the club and provides the coordinative link between members, the club executive committee and outside agencies such as another local club.

People interested in the club will generally contact the secretary when seeking information or details about activities.

The position of the secretary comprises a wide range of tasks. If these tasks were not undertaken many clubs would cease to operate efficiently and effectively.

Secretarial duties can include a variety of tasks according to the skills of the person in the role.

  • inward and outward correspondence
  • preparing for meetings
  • maintaining club records
  • maintaining membership records

Finding a new secretary:

A good secretary is often found from within the club. Good communication and a clear description of the tasks involved will help when recruiting a secretary.  To help with the recruitment process a club should take time to speak with the outgoing secretary and list all the roles they undertake and put it in a clearly articulated job description.  Download a sample secretary job description 

The secretary is often someone who has a keen interest in the organisation and wants to see the club progress. They may or may not be actively involved in the club's activities. They may be from a member's family, a former participant or a keen spectator of club events. With good support, previously well-maintained records and clear instructions on what has to be done, many enthusiastic volunteers have become valuable assets as secretaries for their club.

When recruiting a secretary a club needs someone who can:

  • communicate
  • think clearly
  • maintain confidentiality on relevant matters
  • manage and supervise others (in relation to secretarial duties)
  • organise and delegate tasks

If there is a member of the club with enthusiasm for the position and some of the necessary skills, with plenty of encouragement and committed support, they can become a valuable asset to the club. They should be provided with opportunities to develop their skills through any courses made available.  

To help identify an existing member with enthusiasm for the position the club should encourage members to come forward and express an interest in the role but also speak amongst the existing committee about approaching people directly who they feel could be interested and who would be ideally suited to the role.  Remember that sometimes people will not come forward to apply but if approached will happily take on the role and may be quite delighted that you thought highly enough of them to ask them to fill the role.  

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