Probus Toronto - The First Year - Some History
This note was prepared at the end of our first year as a Probus club.
Starting the Club
In early summer of 2014, John Agnew (a former Rotarian and also a Senior) was looking for a Probus club to join. He knew about Probus from a number of friends and their enthusiasm for the clubs they had joined. But, he found that while there were many clubs in the Toronto suburbs and in the surrounding areas, there were none where he lived, in central Toronto.
On July 7th, 2014 he wrote to Richard Furlong, the Probus, District 2 Director, to ask about any plans for a Toronto club, only to find that although a couple of attempts had been made in the past there had been no success to date.
So, he asked the obvious question - "How do I go about starting one?"
Fortunately, Probus Canada has a
By 2018, the Toronto PROBUS Club was so popular that they could not accommodate more members and even the wait list was full.
The new PROBUS Canada website has made public an extensive Club Reference Guide for operating a PROBUS Club. We highly recommend reviewing the advice and sample forms they have created. You will find a standard constitution, bylaws, information on liability insurance, financial guidance, suggested roles for the management committee, and much more. While created for Canadian clubs, the information is of use to any club, anywhere.
Tim Casey from the very successful Port Perry PROBUS Club, Canada, shares two documents discussing how many members is the right number for your club, and how to gain new members. Tim has also indicated his willingness to speak at your club on these and other club management subjects.
Rob Neary recently ran a survey at the AGM of the Probus Association of Queensland, Australia in which he asked “What things does your club do that makes you feel happy to be a member of that club?” What he received back are the Keys for a Successful Club out of the pens of the 36 clubs represented there.
The keys were:
Rob is preparing more information for this page. Please be patient.
The Probus Association of Queensland is currently working with Probus South Pacific on a Membership Development and Retention Strategy. We hope to make it available to PROBUS Global members soon.
A district meeting of 118 Canadian PROBUS Club executives held a day-long discussion on best practices, inefficiencies and potential solutions.
Rob Neary from Queensland has produced a lot of materials to help with membership retention, club growth, and club management. He is happy to share his materials with other PROBUS clubs. Here are some samples to use in your emails. Contact him for more.
There are so many ways to promote PROBUS and your local club that Rob has compiled an extensive list of Marketing Techniques [PDF]. Don't give up until you have tried every one of them.
On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons (resolution 45/106). This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.
PROBUS Global has declared October 1 as PROBUS Day. PROBUS Day is celebrated by PROBUS organizations in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and by individual PROBUS clubs around the world.
The September 2022 Newsletter features a long list of ways to celebrate PROBUS Day and use the opportunity to promote PROBUS and your club in your community.
Rob Neary, President of the PROBUS Association of Queensland, has provided a guide for Marketing Your Club with templates for business cards, flyers, and posters and a myriad of ideas.
In Australia, PROBUS Day is celebrated in towns and cities by lighting landmarks such as bridges, towers and city halls in blue and gold. Look at the list for 2022.
Let us know how you promoted PROBUS Day in your community.
These days, a web site is expected of almost all clubs and organizations. Wordpress is often used to create one and there are a lot of examples to follow and YouTube explanations on how to go about it. Even so, some computer skill is necessary.
We invited someone who has set up a club site recently to create a template for a club to follow or to offer any suggestions for making a simple club site without too much trouble or cost. Patrick Whittick has set up the Dunmow PROBUS Club website and useful tools using Google products. He offers this comprehensive guide: Using Google Products for a PROBUS Club.
Linda Metcalfe has a lot of experience setting up club websites with Wordpress and can give you some tips if you are looking into it.
Many clubs and individuals with no experience or technical ability have used Wix to set up their websites.
Many clubs in our directory have websites. Browse some of them and if you see a style you like, ask their webmaster about how they built it. You might be surprised to find that they didn't know anything about how to do it until they began.
If you are in the UK, David Vickery, one of our members, recommends ProbusClub.net who provide a web site service for a nominal fee.
Probus clubs are often very active and can use systems to help manage their activities. These can be in the form of stand-alone tools like Excel or Wordpress, or in the form of specialized integrated membership software. Gaylen Racine, of the East York Probus Club (Toronto Canada) recommends a membership software package called Wild Apricot which has removed a considerable amount of grunt work from the volunteers. Gaylen has written about Computer Administration Systems [PDF].
The Men's PROBUS Club of Newmarket, Canada hands out an achievement award at their annual Christmas luncheon.
Rob Neary, President of PROBUS Queensland, has produced an extensive checklist for clubs to prepare for reopening. It appeared in the PROBUS Global June 2021 Newsletter. If you are in the process of returning to physical meetings you would be well advised to work your way through the checklist.
Many clubs are now holding monthly meetings by Zoom. This is a great way to keep your club active during the pandemic. Members can attend from the safety of their own homes.
For attendees, it is easy enough that most are able to figure it out from the emailed invitation link. For hosts, many features are only available in the paid version of Zoom and it is worthwhile spending time to understand the features and options.
Download the comprehensive Dummies Guide to Using Zoom [PDF], created by our friends from the Lions Clubs International organisation in the UK.
The definitive source for information about how to install Zoom and run meetings is the Zoom YouTube Channel with a collection of short, clear, instructional videos.
Setting up and running a Zoom meeting is not difficult. All your club needs is one volunteer willing to coordinate the process and learn how to manage the meeting. For a PROBUS Club perspective, the PROBUS Club of Cambridge (Canada), has created a page of instructions with two very complete training videos aimed at their members.
PROBUS Global members are invited to attend many online club meetings. For an invitation, pick a meeting you wish to attend on the PROBUS Global Club Meeting and Presentations page. If you are holding a Zoom meeting, please consider inviting PROBUS Global members.
If your club is recording the meeting with the expectation of making it available on YouTube or for download from the club website, it is a good idea for the meeting invitation to include a warning about the recording, telling participants who wish not to show their face to leave their video off while making comments. Some may also wish to only show their first name or nickname on the display. A similar announcement should be made by the coordinator at the beginning of each meeting. When the meeting is being recorded, a RECORDING symbol appears at the top left of everyone's screen.
Several clubs have now implemented hybrid meetings that include Zoom guests and members who can't attend in person at the meeting venue. These have been shown to be extremely popular. Speakers do not have to be local residents or visitors. International guests make the meetings more interesting. Members who are unable to attend due to mobility or transportation issues can see their old friends again.
The clubs that have done this are willing to help other clubs work out the kinks in the system. It is not as difficult as it might seem at first. The Newmarket Club has prepared a short PDF describing their setup that you might find useful.
We are compiling a Directory of Speakers willing and able to present to your club. Depending on distance, they may be able to come to you, but more likely, they will present by Zoom. All of the speakers listed will have been recommended by one or more PROBUS clubs.
If you have enjoyed a speaker at your club and feel their talk would be appropriate for other clubs, please let us know about them so we can include them in our directory.
Please tell us here.
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