Club Trouble?

By Bill Fivaz ( )

Is your numismatic organization in need of a  transfusion???
Are you experiencing one or more of these problems?

  • Declining membership
  • Lack of member participation
  • Financial difficulties
  • Attracting new members
  • Lack of YN participation

Here are a few suggestions that  may help....

Suggestions on Club Management

The following represents some thoughts I have assembled over the years regarding Effective Club Management, something I feel every club in the country could use, in varying degrees.

The suggestions outlined here are presented for the betterment of the hobby, and may be used, modified or rejected as each organization sees fit.

These certainly do not represent "all the answers," but may be used as a framework for addressing certain problems, and may hopefully provide stimulus to make your club a better, more effective organization.

I have based the eleven topics on the word NUMISMATICS, with each letter representing a specific segment I feel is a vital part of a successful organization. While the following outline is primarily addressed to the local coin club, both State and Regional entities may also draw helpful ideas from the presentation.

I hope you will be able to use this information to strengthen your club and enable more people to enjoy our wonderful hobby.



N: New Members

How to attract new members, especially young ones (not necessarily YNs).

  1. Timing - when are your meetings? What night and time? How often? Consider Saturday night meetings to attract YNs.
  2. Location - Where are your meetings?
    1. Security - Library? Church? Bank? (ensure wherever you meet that auctions are allowed if you plan to have them as a part of your meeting).
    2. Easily accessible for everyone - stairs? Handicap ramp?
    3. Good lighting - both inside room and area around location.
    4. Adequate parking
    5. Kitchen - for setting up refreshments?
    6. Room cost - contract needed to lock in meeting dates?
    7. Enough room for seating? Additional chairs and tables available? Comfortable chairs?
    8. Is a screen available for slide presentations? Adequate outlets?
  3. Ensure that dues structure is reasonable
  4. Where to go to attract new members
    1. Local coin dealers - provide them with flyers, including all info, map, etc.
    2. Enlist assistance from State and Regional organizations
    3. Request help from the ANA and State organizations through a mailing to their members in your area.
    4. Check The Numismatist for new members near you.
    5. Take advantage of National Coin Week by placing exhibits in local banks, libraries, etc. with a handout on the club.
    6. Ads or announcements in local newspaper
    7. Use the free classified ad offer in each issue of Numismatic News to promote your club.

U: Uniqueness

What are you doing that other clubs are not, or, what  aren't you doing that successful clubs  are?


  1. What is the format of your meeting?
    1. Mini-bourse prior to the meeting?
    2. Encourage local dealers to attend and participate?
    3. Business meeting (utilize Roberts Rules of Order); President must control the meeting and not get sidetracked or allow it to go on too long.
    4. Must have enthusiastic and creative officers
    5. Metals report at each meeting? Show schedule?
    6. Market update - what's hot, what's not.
    7. Attendance prize?
    8. Exhibits? Show and Tell? Subject of the evening? New acquisitions? Non-numismatic night?
    9. Educational Program:
      1. Interesting topics
      2. Not always a slide presentation
      3. Outside speakers (Police or security, lawyer on wills, "coin shooting," etc.)
      4. Work through your Regional and District Reps.
    10. Refreshments (club reimburse or donated?)
    11. Auction (40-50 lots is ideal); good auctioneer
    12. Raffle drawing (where permissible)?
    13. Bid board?
  2. Club-sponsored show?
    1. Must have one dependable, respected person in charge, and willing workers.
    2. Auction in conjunction with show?
    3. Attendance drawing?
    4. Seminar on popular topic in conjunction with show?
  3. Provide counsel for members' spouses/family re. disposition of past member's collection
  4. Provide information on good/bad experiences with dealers (on a national basis).
  5. Preview new numismatic publications

M: Membership Retention

Once they are members, how do you  keep them?

  1. The comments under Motivation are also very applicable here
  2. Get members involved...
    1. In programs - on their specialty or area of interest
    2. Refreshments (providing, not eating!)
    3. "Outside" programs - National Coin Week, Scout programs, etc.
    4. Coin show duties
    5. Club Rep (must be a pro-active participant)
    6. Serve as an officer
    7. Give metals or upcoming show reports
    8. Public Relations chairman
  3. Phone Blitz
    1. Assign names and phone numbers of old members or members who have not attended recently, to active members. Have them call to let the non-attendees know what they've missed, bring them up-to-date on what's happened, what's coming up, and extend a personal invitation to attend.
    2. Send the club newsletter to all these people for 2-3 months with a hand-written note encouraging them to attend.
    3. There will always be some members who "don't want to be involved" ...tread very carefully here, as too much pressure may lose them.

I: Interesting Items for Newsletters

Your club newsletter is your prime link to your members 

  1. It should be:
    1. Informative - upcoming meetings, programs, market information, results of last meeting, winners, on-going projects, area shows, etc.
    2. Creative - make people look forward to receiving it!
    3. Educational - short article on numismatics by a member.
    4. President's Message - where we have been, what are we doing. What are our goals (membership, financially, etc.)
    5. Tantalizing - a hint of what's coming up at the next meeting - "don't miss it!"
    6. Possibly include upcoming auction lots
  2. The Newsletter editor is an extremely important position
    1. He/she must be conscientious in getting the publication out on time
    2. Must ensure that it gets to everyone, including prospective members and visitors
    3. He/she must be creative, both in content and presentation. If stamps are used, old stamps create a lot of interest, and possibly you can buy these from a member-dealers for a discount.
  3. Send copies of your newsletter to Coin World, Numismatic News, The Numismatist, your state and regional organizations, and ask them to publish at least the highlights, including the time and place of your meeting. Make it work for you!!

S: Stimulate

To stimulate your members, potential members and your community by publicity on your club in newspapers, bulletins, etc. 

  1. Post bulletins in supermarkets, church bulletin boards, etc. (where permitted to do so)
  2. National Coin Week - the perfect time to get members involved with exhibits in banks, libraries, etc.
    1. Have person on-site during peak hours to explain displays and promote the club, especially if you will be examining and evaluating coins at that location.
    2. Be sure to have sufficient club literature for interested parties.
    3. Try to get the institution to promote the exhibit(s) as much as they can.
  3. Explore the possibility of getting your coin club involved in a community services project.
    1. Habitat for Humanity
    2. Red Stocking Fund
    3. Collection of clothes, goods for Good Will and other needy organizations
  4. Stress the FUN element of numismatics in everything you do or say, print or show. Don't promise the "quick buck," but don't downplay the rewards of collecting, either.

M: Motivation

What are you doing to make the members  want to come back to the meetings? 

  1. What can they look forward to?
    1. Good educational programs
    2. Fellowship
    3. A well structured meeting
    4. Auction
    5. Opportunity to see a rare coin, set or item on exhibit (ensure proper security).
  2. Opportunity to pick up an addition for their collection
  3. Point Program - for attendance, giving program, exhibit, bringing refreshments, etc. for drawing for a meaningful coin or prize at the end of the year. (Important to have at least a 2nd and 3rd place prize as well).
    1. Attendance - 3 points
    2. Putting on program - 5 points
    3. Exhibiting at meeting (and talking about it) - 2 points
    4. Providing refreshments - 2 points
    5. Secretary records above and puts name in barrel for each point for year-end drawing

A: Activity

Are your meetings always the same? Become an  active, innovative club!

  1. This covered in large part under "Uniqueness." Please review this section.
  2. Have meetings at locations other than the regular meeting place once or twice a year.
    1. At a member's home (if the group is small enough to be accommodated)
    2. At a place corresponding with the theme of the program (Federal Reserve, Security business, local landmark, etc.)
    3. Summer picnic/Christmas party
    4. At a coin show (with the permission of the show coordinator). This is a great way to pick up new members!
  3. Have a "YN Night" where the YNs run the entire meeting (business meeting, program, refreshments, auction, etc.). Minimal help form officers may be necessary.
  4. Former President's Night - have them responsible for the entire meeting.

T: Team

To encourage participation from  all members in some way, so they will feel part of the team.

  1. 80/20 principle - 80% of the work involved with any club is done by 20% of the members.
  2. Review the Membership Retention Comments
    1. Assign auctioneer, auction recorders and/or runners
    2. Have a "Sunshine Committee" - reports on ailing members; sends cards to them from club
    3. Room set-up and tear-down responsibility
  3. Group projects - National Coin Week, civic projects, etc.
  4. "Being a member of any organization is like playing tennis...if you don't  serve well, you'll be a loser." (ANA Executive Director, Ed Rochette at the 1978 FUN Convention)

I: Informational handouts about your club

Let people know who you are, where you meet, etc.

  1. Club brochure - every club should have one. Make it attractive, informative and to the point.
    1. State the name of your club, the purpose, when and where you meet, a brief outline of the agenda, welcome interested parties, including YNs.
    2. A map on how to get to the meeting is always helpful
    3. Stress the educational aspect of the meeting
    4. Also the auction, mini-bourse (if you have one), and the fellowship for all attendees.
  2. Have calling card size pieces made, giving the basics of your club (time, place, etc.). These are great to keep in your wallet for handouts.
  3. Make up flyers to pass out at coins shows and for posting in supermarkets, etc.
  4. If applicable, indicate that there are members available at meetings to examine, authenticate and evaluate coins.
  5. Also indicate that the club can assist and make recommendations for disposal of numismatic estates, etc.
  6. Prevail upon local dealers to tout the club to people who might be interested, and provide them with flyers.
    (Note): Some dealers may perceive the club as a threat to their business in that the auctions take away from sales they might make, sales may be made to members at the meeting that could have come to them, etc. This is somewhat of a touchy subject, so be aware of possible problems with some dealers.

C: Coin Shows and Conventions

Are you taking full advantage of them?

These are ideal venues to:

    1. Have a Club Table (must be manned at all times)
    2. Distribute your brochures and literature to potential members
    3. Explain to potential new members (and YNs) about your club, what it does, etc.
    4. Have a full club meeting (with permission). Refer to Activity section.
  1. Offer to assist show coordinator in:
    1. Registration
    2. Set-up and break-down
    3. Exhibit judging
    4. Pages

S: Sons and daughters; neighborhood kids - the "YN Connection"

How can we get young people interested in numismatics and get them to attend the meetings?

  1. The meeting must be more interesting to them than the many things currently occupying their time.
  2. Meeting time is critical - preferably not on a school night
  3. Encourage YNs to exhibit and have members help them improve it
  4. School Programs, etc.
    1. Boy/Girl Scouts - assign a member to give a talk at local troops on numismatics (keep it basic). Have a handout for each scout.
    2. Get a list of all local troops from the area Scout Council - mail them an info sheet on the club and how you can assist toward their merit badge.
    3. Take a similar info sheet to schools in the area, stressing the educational features of numismatics (history, economics, etc.). Help start a coin club in a school.
  5. Zero in on YNs at local shows by announcing in the program and on the P.A. system that a special coin will be available at the club table for any YN who visits that table and picks up a club flyer. Ensure that they are aware of various club programs where they may win various coins, etc. by attending.
  6. Have a YN advisor on the club board for his/her input and voting power only on YN matters. The rules and regulations should have some sort of YN input to allow them to feel as though they are a part of the club.
  7. Appoint a YN coordinator to develop special programs for the YNs present, possibly meeting with them in a different room during the business meeting.
  8. Have lower dues for YNs.
  9. Have a "YN Night" where the YNs run the entire meeting
  10. Ask local dealers to promote the club to YN customers and their parents
  11. Arrange for club members to pick up and take back YNs from meetings if parents can't. Encourage parents to be a part of the fun, however.