New clubs start up all the time for many different reasons. In the case of classic motorcycle clubs, a new club may be started to accommodate the interests of a particular group, such as British bike enthusiasts.
Before starting a club, it is essential to research the legal requirements, if any exist for your type of organization. The legal requirements generally revolve around the status of the club and its tax reporting requirements. In most countries, the different types of clubs fall into one of three: social, nonprofit, or for profit.
Social clubs may be formal or informal. Informal clubs are no more than a group of friends who share a common interest and meet occasionally.
A more organized club will generally require a fee to join and also a monthly fee to maintain membership. It is this fee charging basis that legally separates a group of friends who meet and call themselves a club, and one that is registered as an official club—either for profit or nonprofit.
For nonprofit clubs, which make up the bulk of classic motorcycle clubs around the world, establishment is relatively simple. But one of the first requirements is to draw-up or write an organizing document.
The organizational document, or charter, is a set of rules and procedures that governs the club and its members. However, before the charter can be written up, a number of individuals must be elected as temporary officers (these temporary positions may be made more permanent or time limited once the club formally meets).
The temporary officer posts will have specific responsibilities; the club’s officers usually consist of:
- Chairman or President (also a vice-chairman/president in bigger clubs)
- Event coordinator
- Technical officer
- Web master
The chairman of the club is the person responsible for the organization of the club in general and official meets in particular. With the assistance of the club secretary, he will ensure that activities within the club are carried out within the rules of the original organizational document or charter. Typically, chairmen retain their position for a set period; this period of chairmanship will be noted in the club’s charter.
Any club supported by fees from its membership must have a treasurer. This individual is in a position of trust as he or she will have, to an extent, control of the club’s finances. In the case of larger clubs, the bank account can carry relatively large amounts; therefore, safeguards must be built into the club’s charter. Typically, funds can only be released from a club’s bank account with two or more signatures on any checks.
As with many companies, the position of secretary is a very important one. The individual holding this post will be very well organized with a clear understanding of the many facets of the club. Although they may be required to take and reproduce notes from any official club meetings, the club secretary will be responsible for meeting all legal requirements associated with the club.
All classic bike clubs have events; this may well be why the club was formed in the first place. The event coordinator will be responsible for taking ideas suggested by, and agreed to, by the membership and managing the event. Event coordinators must ensure that the club members’ needs are met at all events.
Motorcycle clubs are associated with technical, mechanical machines; therefore, a technical officer post within the club should be established. In all cases, the technical officer will have an in-depth knowledge of classic bikes in general and, in the case of single make clubs, a specific make in particular.
The vast majority of clubs operate a basic web site for the convenience of their membership and also to publicize themselves. For example, the Antique Motorcycle Club The web master will be familiar with all aspects/activities of the club and also have an in-depth knowledge of the internet and web sites.
Further reading: Further reading.