Regional Development News


David Marshall from Skerries Sailing Club ran an excellent interactive workshop which simulated a practice of empowering all members to take ownership and get involved in club initiatives that has proven very successful in their own club when setting out on new membership drives. This workshop can be applied to many aspects of a club and the following is a breakdown of what is involved.

Questions Posed


A world of ideas? This workshop contains the seeds of many of ideas.  Some of them will emerge during the discussions, others only later.  Which ones surface now or later, will depend entirely on the experience the participants at the workshop …. on you. And on how you perceive the relevance of those ideas to your club

Of course we could have created a list that just illustrated all the ideas; but ideas only really blossom when we discover them for ourselves.  Workshops like this one are a kind of discovery activity. They give us the opportunity, to work together productively. The structured format allows us to share our experience and to use that to explore ideas and suggestions, the opportunities and the challenges that they are going to offer us.

Winning the “buy-in”:  Once anyone, you, me, members in your club, have participated in a decision made in this way, they tend to be committed to it.  To have “bought-in” to the idea is the phrase often used today. And their motivation is all the stronger for it. I hope you will discover that for most of your members, sharing in something they help create is far more rewarding than blindly following a leader. And in the process you will have created an advocate for your club and its activities.

The challenge for you as club officers, and your committed activists, is how do you create the environment which embraces members in that process and how do you manage it productively.

I hope the small group and plenary discussions, based on the three attitude statements will have begun to give you some insight, or offered you an opportunity to explore and re-evaluate your own similar experience.  And that any brief chat about the aims of the discussions on the attitude statements might have shed some light on how they can be used to win a consensus among members, on almost any issue, by helping members themselves re-evaluate their own thinking on any topic…. Including what contribution they might be able to make to recruiting new members and winning greater participation from other like themselves.

 Sample Questions used in Groups at the 2014 Conference


If the workshop has done its job, it should have given you a glimpse of the possibilities for increasing membership participation.  I’d like to suggest that this might be a place for you to start in your won club. To run this workshop, with these attitude statements, in your own club workshop.

Some suggestions:  Get all your club officers and activists together; as many as you can and any club members that want to come;; and give yourselves 90 minutes to work in small groups, so that everyone discusses each of the three statements, each group reports back and all of you discuss in plenary; and you record your conclusions

Building on your discussion: Build on your discussion.  Make sure that there is a note-taker reporter in every group, and a couple of others for the plenary sessions. Record the conclusions of the discussion, the opportunities, and the challenges. Get a consensus on which ones to follow up. Circulate the workshop report among all members; and start work on the opportunities you’ve chosen to pursue by shoving-off with the same workshop process and working to involve as many members as you can get.  Bon voyage!

©2014 David Marshall

Posted in: Development
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