Why is it that the thought of the AGM fills many of us with dread?
It doesn’t have to be like that……
With ample planning and some thought we can use the AGM as a great PR exercise and social activity as well as complying with the legal requirements.
Use these tips to help.
Set the date
Get the date in the diary well in advance and publicise it well. Think about when you are having it. It has to be within six months of the end of financial year depending on when yours is. With a March year end, would a mid-September AGM be a great welcome back for the term? If the year end is December how about a late May barbecue or family camp with the AGM thrown in? Set the date to suit you; don’t be afraid to change it.
Notify the District and County, they may like to send someone along. As soon as the date is set, invite local officials, the Mayor , local councillors and the MPs. Have you got any celebrities living locally? They may get hundreds of invitations to things, but they may just turn up if you ask them. Nearer the time formally invite the Group Scout Council. How about running a competition within the Group to design the invitation? There are probably older Scouts or Explorers who would do a great job of getting something printable for you from the efforts of the younger members. Do any of your sections meet in a school? Invite the Head Teacher and the caretaker; they will be the ones tidying up after you! The local faith leaders and head of other youth groups may be good people to invite, telling the community about the good activities you are doing is an important aspect of the AGM.
Share it out
Think about the logistics of the evening. Is the access to your headquarters obvious? Often we are tucked round the back of buildings, down footpaths. Whether you are or not, get a couple of people wearing uniform to greet and direct visitors and not sullen Scouts who would rather not. Use people who are keen and enthusiastic, a couple of bouncing Beavers with the appropriate adult supervision would set a great example. Make sure that you have asked someone to provide refreshments and discuss in advance what that will be. Cheese and wine or tea and biscuits? Make sure that there will be plenty of people there before and after to get the chairs out and tidy up afterwards. Share out the responsibilities otherwise you may find that you are trying to do it all.
Format and agenda
There is nothing to say that this has to be a very formal evening. Some of the most successful AGMs are held at camps and barbecues. Make sure that you have enough time though to get through the formal part of the meeting. There are some AGM ideas at the end of this section as well as a possible template for an agenda.
Make sure that you have the minutes from last year’s meeting and enough copies as well as the agenda to give out. You will also need an Annual Report and Accounts pack. This is the requirement to satisfy the Charity Commission that we are administering our charity’s money wisely. You will need signed copies for the District, County, HQ and Charity Commissioners. Have extra copies of the report to hand out and leave locally. How about putting a copy in the doctors’ waiting room, the library, the hairdressers, local churches and schools?
On the night
Reserve seats at the front for the VIPs. Make sure that everything you need is to hand. Are you presenting prizes or thank you gifts? Are there any long service awards to presented?
Make sure that the formal parts of the meeting are carried out, and minuted accurately. Follow the agenda. And then relax.
Setting the scene
Why not run a video or slideshow of photos as people are arriving? This will give you a chance to welcome people as they arrive, give them a chance to have a read of the report and see what their young people have been up to over the last year. You would need a laptop, data projector and screen to do this. You may find that someone within the Group has access to this sort of equipment, or ask your District or County if you can borrow theirs. A professional start looks good. District and County may already have DVDs that have been prepared for other events (it’s worth asking). Plan B, make sure that you have covered all eventualities in your planning. Have a contingency plan in case guest speakers are unable to make it at the last minute. Short and sweet, keep the meeting part as short as possible and the social part as long as you need. Make the event a social and sociable one. Make sure that all leaders are present and circulating to chat with parents and VIPs.
SAMPLE AGENDA FOR A GROUP AGM
Before start: DVD of year’s highlights (photos and video)
1. Introduction from the Chair of the meeting (Group President or Chairman). Introduce key people, don’t assume everyone knows everyone. Housekeeping arrangements.
2. Agree minutes of previous AGM.
3. Apologies for absence.
4. Receive and adopt the Annual Report for the previous financial year (just ended).
5. Receive and adopt the Financial Statements for the previous financial year (just ended).
Elections and appointments
6. Reappoint or elect key appointments in the Group Scout Council (Presidents, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, etc).
7. Appoint the Independent Examiner for the coming year.
8. Elect and/or co-opt members to the Executive Committee.
Extras (where applicable)
9. Elect representatives to external organisations.
10. Presentation of awards.
11. Guest Speaker.
12. Vote of thanks.
13. Close of meeting.
SOME IDEAS FOR AGMS WITH A DIFFERENCE
Include the young people
A short presentation by Beavers, Cubs or Scouts is a good thing to include, but keep it short. Don’t allow every Beaver, Cub and Scout to do something; otherwise you will be verging on boring the audience.
Everyone likes to see their son or daughter receive a prize. Approach a local business for a small amount of money to sponsor your annual Group Awards. Think up some snazzy titles or topics for them: most activity badges earned; most nights away in the year; best attendance; most cakes baked. The only limit is your imagination.
Hold the AGM before, during or after a quiz night, beetle drive, rounders match, sports day or race evening. Just make sure that there is adequate time to do both.
Barbecue or party
Invite everyone to a social event and throw in the AGM for good measure.
Not only is family camp a great adult recruitment tool, you could always slip the AGM in on Sunday morning after breakfast. Everyone has had such a great weekend, they may just volunteer.
Invite a really inspirational speaker who people would be interested to come and hear.
There may be other Groups in your District and County who already have an AGM with a difference. You may be one of those Groups. If so, share the information of what works for you. Ask for an agenda point to be raised at the next District GSLs meeting to share information.