Do your preparation
Whomever is leading the charge of becoming a club will need to do a little homework ahead of time; the Incorporated Societies website has excellent guiding material to help you through this process, but in summary you need to;
- Get 15 people willing to sign the Incorporation application.
- Write up set of Rules.
- Choose a name.
- Hold a meeting to agree to Incorporate, ratify the rules, choose the president and other relevant positions.
- Send in the completed form with the fee.
The obvious first step is to surround yourself with other people who share your idea. Eventually you want to get around 20 people – having 20 members means you can apply to join FMC as a fully declared club!
Writing your Rules (aka Constitution)
Every club needs Rules to meet the legal requirements of an Incorporated Society. They also provide a written framework to guide the Club and ensure it is managed properly. Our advice; do not try and write a set of Rules from scratch! Get a set from another body, and modify them to suit what you want. The Incorporated Societies website has some helpful guides. The Rules must cover:
- The Name of your Club.
- How people can join and leave your club.
- How your club will be managed including the financial year.
- A procedure for dealing with disputes.
- How the rules can be changed.
- How the club can be wound up..
The Rules are a public document so if you search the Incorporated Societies website for Tramping Clubs you will find Rules that other clubs have adopted.
FMC has a model set of Rules which you can use as a basis for drafting yours; click the icon’s to download the rules in Word or PDF format.
FMC will help member clubs or intending clubs – we will not write your Rules but we are happy to read your drafts and provide you with feedback. If you would like FMC to comment on your rules then send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Don’t expect to get your Rules perfect first time. Every society should review its Rules from time to time and changes will be made. Changing rules is much easier than writing them for the first time !
Make sure you take a look at the Inland Revenue Department website about applying for an Income Tax exemption. You’ll find there are a few rules that IRD require, before you can get the exemption. Basically those rules ensure the club is not financially benefiting any person associated with the club. Common sense really, but make sure your rules comply!
Hold your first meeting
Here, you and your 15 or more soon-to-be clubmates agree on a few things. First that you are going to actually send the application form! Next, that the rules you’ve drafted are acceptable to the founding members (of course you’ll have shared this with these folks before the meeting!). Having done your homework to ensure your Club’s catchy new name isn’t already in use by some other body corporate, you’ll agree on that name.
Then you have to find a few people who are willing to do a little bit more than just be a member. Traditionally most clubs have at least a President (or Club Captain / Chairperson), a Secretary and a Treasurer (these could be combined). These are the more official positions that outside agencies – such as your local bank – will expect to see.
Don’t worry about other positions such as Trip Organiser, Social Convenor, Newsletter Editor, Archivist etc. All these can emerge as the club develops and sees a need.
Remind the founders that they agreed to chip in for the Incorporation fee, take their money, and then sign the form! If your founding members are geographically separated, electronic signatures are totally fine; but an inaugural meeting at the pub does make it easier, plus you get to have a drink with your new friends!
Now you’re Incorporated!
Not long after the application is submitted, and provided everything is in order, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation, which is your Clubs founding document. You’ll use this (and your rules) to do things like open bank accounts, in funding applications, when entering contracts etc.. You know, the stuff the Facebook group couldn’t do…
If you have any feedback, or additional wisdom to offer, please get in touch. Thank you to Phil Glasson who wrote this article and Dan Clearwater who adapted it for Wilderlife.