How do you organize/run your meetings?

Ann F - PA, zone 6March 7, 2000

I would love to have any tips or hints that anyone can offer on the subject of running meetings. First of all, what is the goal of your meeting; how do you set one? How many people do you usually get showing up for a gardeners meeting? How long do your meetings run?

What would you consider a 'good meeting'; what happens during a good/productive meeting? What's the 'worste' meeting (s) that you've ever been to? If projects or 'good' ideas are suggested how do you carry them out? Do you let people volunteer to meet at another time to work on a particular project? How do you reach a concensus on an idea; do you try to get everyone to agree? How do you procede if 'some' people like an idea, but others don't?

So far, our Community Garden is being run without formal officers appointed. If anyone else has been succesful with this I would like to hear about it.

Thanks for any ideas or tips.

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George Griffin - 5

Our Hort Society meets for general membership once a month.
We follow the traditional Roberts rules of order.
The president calles the meeting to order. We have roll call.
Minutes of last meeting are read. Treasurers report is read.
A callis made to accept the readings as correct. A second to the motion carries it and it is declared carried by the president ( or person acting in thier position )
Last August we made a motion to explore the creation of a special Public flowergarden to mark the Millennium. The motion was put forth seconded . Votings in form of " infavor of" and "opposed if any" are also put forth. Records are kept indicating such. Motion was carried. A commettee was formed of volunteers and a chairperson and a treasurer appointed. We meet in each others homes or at the local coffee shop and come up with ideas as how to go about our goals. Before any major decision is made it is put to the general membership and discussed. If they are any strong feelings they are presented and accepted as input. WE have had some very interesting meetings lately. We will be breaking ground for our new garden this coming May.
If you have any further questions feel free to email me and I will repost here.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2000 at 12:34PM
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Kris - oh

My group is an herb society and we too use the Roberts rules of order. After all the reports from the vice-pres, the secretary and the treasurer, we have old business where we discuss the previous meetings information and update as needed. Then we go on to new business we have an open forum. Next, is a short presentation of herb of the month. Then we have an herbal gift exchange. A try is worth .50 cents. The gift is purchased by the last months winner. It is herb related, bought or hand-made, and is less than $10. Then the program is introduced. It should only last no longer than 30-40 minutes. Then we eat! Each program, herb of the month, host and co-host is planned out a year in advance. Dues are $12 a year and the herbal gift is a money raiser also. We send out bi-monthly news letter to keep members informed. Running too long, 2hrs, and the people get chatty. It's important to have officers and have an election every 2 years. The Roberts rules helps you to get this all organized. We're going to have a tea party for another herb group soon. We have people volunteer for that committee and they meet seperately. They have their chairman speak during the new business segment about their plans. Have them keep it short and sweet! They're the ones with the decisions, not all have to agree with them. But a vote should be used in regards to how much should be spent. Hope this helps and good luck
From the former herb society president!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2000 at 2:47PM
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Karin Kostyzak - 9/10

Hi there! I've just read the other submissions and think that WE could benefit from them. You asked about "worst". . . ? We have an "environmental center" at our school. It is on permit to the neighborhood association, but used poorly by the school. After a citation for neglect, the neighborhood took over again. (yup, uh-hu), cleared the weeds, then reallocated the land. Meetings were loose affairs, no agenda planned in advance, and people with "opinions" yelling and threatening each other. Many people flat-out refused to follow the rules of the Gardens. We had no officers, but I stepped in to facilitate the meetings. I also wrote a monthly newsletter. I have many horror stories to offer, but won't bother to dump them all here. If you'd like to e-mail me, I will share ideas with you -- hopefully I'll get some great ones from you!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2000 at 10:41AM
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Linda Secker - UK

i am the secretary of an allotment association in the north of England. our association used to be 'failing' that is, only half our allotments had tenants. in theory, we should have a set of rules that sound similar to the ones already mentioned, but early on, when the new committee took over the running of the association, we decided we would run it very informally, for this simple reason: all that rather pompous language (calling the meeting to order, accepting the reading as correct, carrying motions etc) can be very offputting, and indeed downright laughable, to younger or more 'rebellious'members. we have a committee of between 6 and 8 including 3 officers. we make the decisions between us, and the decisions are presented to the rest of the members, (who have the opportunity to be voted onto the committee if they want). decisions are made by consensus rather than straight voting. this informal way of working works for us, and we have been very impressed with how many people now volunteer to do stuff even if they are not on the committee. we do of course keep minutes and accounts but these are the extent of the formality in our organisation. we also have a set of rules which members are expected to keep to in terms of what they do (or not) on their allotment, but again, this is flexible, and we are informal in the way we make complaints to members. ok, so we aren't the greatest allotment site in the uk, but we can honestly say we are thriving for the first time in 20 years, and community spirit is high! good luck with your organising


    Bookmark   December 2, 2000 at 1:09PM
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christine(Z5 Chicagoland)


    Bookmark   January 16, 2001 at 8:30PM
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Amanda - PA 5/6

Our community garden club (which exists to contruct, plant and maintain our 2 community garden sites) is very small and informal. We have about a dozen members. We have one person who serves as head of the group for a year. That person facilitates the group and makes sure key things get done. Lately it has been me. We have very few meetings and they are informal - usually 2 per year, held at someone's house. Our decisions are made different ways depending on how many people care. Usually whoever does the work gets to decide. Much of our planting and weeding labor is done by students from a local college who are required to volunteer several times a year. I have been involved in quite a few organizations that are more formal, but because we are a small community and are all really dedicated to keeping our two garden areas going, this has worked fairly well. It is important to have 2-3 people in the group that will make sure that important things get done and somebody deals with the people problems that always result with human interaction.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2001 at 11:21PM
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The Citizens Committee for NYC has a great handbook called "Tools & Tactics for Building Neighborhood Organizations" -- it has info on meetings, by-laws, fundraising, etc. Their number is 212-989-0909 -- and thier webpage is probably

    Bookmark   March 26, 2001 at 4:56PM
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