Much of the fun of owning a sports car is sharing its trials and tribulations with other people who have the same kind of car. But what if you’ve just bought your first sports car and don’t know of any clubs in your area. Well you could contact Moss Motors who maintain a comprehensive directory of British Car Clubs across the country and they might be able to point you in the direction of your local club-if they are aware of the club!
Obviously you could ask around at local parts stores, gas stations to see if they know of any clubs or owners. You could also look in the club advertising section of one of the magazines which cater to our type of car. However we’ll assume you draw a blank-but that your enthusiasm remains undampened and you decide to start your own local club!
First you have to enlist the support of your local news media. The “free” sheet which drops in your mailbox every week. The local newspaper or town magazine. Ever hungry for local news they will be happy to print a press release worded along the following lines:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“Local Enthusiast to start MG Club”
John Smith, proud owner of the beautiful 1965 MGB pictured above, invites all local MG owners to the Inaugural meeting of the Spring Valley MG Car Club, to be held in the Public Library meeting room at 7.00pm on Friday March 14th.
Since the MG Factory ceased production in 1980, the value of all MGs has risen steadily. By forming a local club, John hopes that the club will help owners preserve, maintain and enjoy these delightful cars. Planned activities for the future include social events, driving events and technical sessions.
If you own an MG. or are at all interested in MG cars then plan to attend the meeting, or give John a call on 555-1212.”
Obviously, names, marques, etc should be changed appropriately but the essential message remains the same. There’s a new club in town! If you can arrange for refreshments to be provided (coffee and cookies will suffice!) or can maybe tent or borrow an interesting car movie on video to be shown at the meeting, then print that in your announcement as well. You’ll be surprised how many people will show up!
The photograph is important as this will catch the eye of the readers who skim through the paper. Also if you paper has an “automotive” page once weekly, ask for your release to be printed in that section.
The most important thing is to have a plan of action and be ready to take charge! Everyone who shows up will be willing to hear you out but differing ideas will surface in due course and other ‘take-charge’ individuals will emerge from the group. The first meeting, however is up to you. Your agenda might take the following form:
1.Welcome your guests, introduce yourself and give a brief background on your involvement and interest in MGs (exaggerate if you must!)
2. Pass out sheets for people to record their names, addresses, phone numbers and types of car owned. Leave them space to record their preferred meeting night, and the type of activity they personally prefer (Tours, Rallies, Social events, Tech Sessions, Weekend Trips etc). This becomes you first mailing list.
3. Ask guests to introduce themselves by name, briefly telling what kind of car(s) they have. (Make a note of those who arc obviously unafraid of speaking to a group of strangers. These are your potential first club officers!)
4. Announce the first couple of planned events. A Sunday drive to a scenic spot or car museum, would be one choice. Or a meeting at a friendly local garage where everyone could look at each other’s cars, discuss problems and maybe hear a presentation from the garage owner on the type of maintenance an owner can undertake, or basic servicing for your type of car. However it is important to tell the group what the first event will be, rather than say “O.K.now, what do we all want to do?” After one event is safely and successfully past, then future plans and ideas can he solicited and discussed at subsequent meetings.
5. Suggest a meeting night for the second meeting and get a consensus as to which night is best for everyone overall. Also whether future meetings should be held in public rooms, a local eatery, or private homes. However be decisive and try not to get too many contradictory ideas under discussion!
6. Adjourn the meeting to the parking lot to kick tires, look at the cars, maybe watch the movie if you obtained one. Make a point of getting to know the two or three people who seemed most interested, least shy, etc. and sound them out as to whether they’ll help organize the club. At your second meeting, you will want to propose the formation of a committee or board of officers to help the club and you’ll need volunteers for this. It’ll be nice to have some volunteers primed to speak up right away!
So, now you’re on the way! The continued success of the club depends on having regular meetings and activities which in turn depend upon having enthusiastic leaders who organize and communicate. So long as you don’t over do it, your local media will continue to publish news releases about your club, and especially major events which the general public can attend such as your annual car show.
This publicity, plus a constant recruitment of new members ( a club card with a contact phone number placed on the windshield of every British car, you sec parked, will help!) will ensure a healthy membership base. Good Luck!-and if we here at Moss Motors can be of further assistance then you know where to find us.