The question of how to get members more involved ranks in the top 10 of the most frequently asked questions of the AOPA Flying Clubs staff. Last month, we looked at understanding your membership, the importance of a club’s mission, and encouraging members to get involved in club leadership. This month, we’ll focus on unofficial club positions and various events and activities a club may undertake to help keep members engaged and active.
Unofficial Club Positions
Most clubs have the standard board positions – president, vice president, treasurer, safety officer, maintenance officer, and possibly a few others. In addition to these formal positions, it can be beneficial to have other positions to help spread the workload, and to have more members actively engaged in club management.
There are a few advantages here – by getting members involved in a formal capacity provides an opportunity for those members to learn more about club operations as well as develop leadership skills. It’s a way to encourage leadership development from within, by offering jobs and responsibilities that may require less time, effort, or experience than the formal club positions.
It helps to know what talents your members bring to the club, or skills they want to develop. People generally like to do things they are good at or are interested in learning about. For instance, if you have a member who is a photographer or a writer, or wants to develop and practice those skills, it might be useful to have them chronicle club activities as Newsletter Editor, Web Master, or Club Photographer.
Other members love to go on fly outs – either for breakfast, a $100 hamburger, or to visit museums or regional tourist attractions. So, why not create a Fly-Out Captain, who plans events in which club members may fly together in club aircraft or personally-owned aircraft?
Perhaps a broader Social Chairperson fits your club better, having responsibility not for just fly-outs, but BBQs, holiday parties, etc. It’s really up to what the club wants to do. And don’t forget some of the unsung tasks – Plane Wash Captain, or perhaps your club has Aircraft Captains that work with the maintenance officer to ensure squawks and other aircraft issues are attended to in a timely fashion.
Lastly, there could be temporary jobs. For instance, if the club is interested in a new plane, form a search committee of a few members to do the research that can be presented to the entire club. That can also be done for many capital improvements, such as avionics, paint schemes, interior upgrades, etc.
Events and Activities
There are a several types of events that flying clubs can host or participate in – some geared for pilots, while others may be focused on the general public. Whether the event is for the aviation community or a broader audience, it helps build the club’s reputation at the airport and in the community, and creates an opportunity for club members to spend time together to build camaraderie and friendships.
Among the events that a flying club could host for pilots and club members include:
Events that could be marketed to a broader audience/general public include:
All of these events provide an opportunity for members to take an active role in the club, and are a great way to have some fun, build club camaraderie, and let the community experience what your club is all about.
Participate in Existing Events
Another good way to gain exposure in your community is to participate in existing events. Perhaps your club has an Outreach Director that works with other aviation groups, such as EAA, the 99s, the airport authority, or the community like town or civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. It’s a great way to interact in the aviation community to reach other pilots, as well as with people who may be interested in aviation but don’t know how to get involved.
Don’t limit your participation to just aviation related events. You could have a booth at your local town or county fair, or perhaps have a float in a local holiday parade. Whether it is Labor Day, July 4th or Memorial Day there are usually plenty of opportunities for your club to participate in events, and someone in the club has the opportunity to step up and lead the effort.
If you are looking for ideas, give Steve Bateman, AOPA Flying Club Director, a call at 301-695-2356 or contact your Regional Ambassador. The Flying Club team is here to help.