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Thread: How to engage parents at an AGM

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    How to engage parents at an AGM

    Last year we had only two non-exec people turn up at the AGM - which was run immediately after a Cubs session. The preious year we had perhaps 6.

    I'm wondering if anyone has ideas how we can make it more engaging - wondering whether we could somehow get parents involved in something with the kids and then pull them aside for 10 minutes to do the AGM. It would have to be outside if we were to fit all the kids and parents in but it could be in the grounds of the hut.

    Have you any experience of how parents respond to the idea of a group walk?

    We're fortunate to live in a beautifully hilly area and I'm wondering about the idea of taking the group as a collective up a hill and feeding them hotdogs and hot choc - then while they're sitting around munching, we could do the "boring" stuff that they usually avoid.
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    We have also had an AGM many years ago where only 1 parent turned up. Now we hold a family fun evening at a local camp site where we put on games and activities with hotdogs and drinks. Part way through we hold a short 10 minute AGM. Last couple of years we have had really good attendance with 60 people.

    One of our neighbouring groups have a playing field next to their hut and put on a BBQ with a short 10 minute AGM, they have done this for many years and get close to 100% attendance.

    Nick

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eskibrew View Post
    Last year we had only two non-exec people turn up at the AGM - which was run immediately after a Cubs session. The preious year we had perhaps 6.

    I'm wondering if anyone has ideas how we can make it more engaging - wondering whether we could somehow get parents involved in something with the kids and then pull them aside for 10 minutes to do the AGM. It would have to be outside if we were to fit all the kids and parents in but it could be in the grounds of the hut.

    Have you any experience of how parents respond to the idea of a group walk?

    We're fortunate to live in a beautifully hilly area and I'm wondering about the idea of taking the group as a collective up a hill and feeding them hotdogs and hot choc - then while they're sitting around munching, we could do the "boring" stuff that they usually avoid.
    we have zero non-exec at the agm. Everybody is invited but nobody comes. That is just fine. The agm is less than 15mins and covers all the basics required.

    We engage at other times.

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    Senior Member Puzzledbyadream's Avatar
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    A quiz or a campfire are quite good for getting parents in. I always fancied running an adult wide games night.
    Nyika (formerly Bagheera)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    We have also had an AGM many years ago where only 1 parent turned up. Now we hold a family fun evening at a local camp site where we put on games and activities with hotdogs and drinks. Part way through we hold a short 10 minute AGM. Last couple of years we have had really good attendance with 60 people.

    One of our neighbouring groups have a playing field next to their hut and put on a BBQ with a short 10 minute AGM, they have done this for many years and get close to 100% attendance.

    Nick
    Despite being rural, our nearest campsite is about 30 mins drive - definitely worth considering though. Could also consider meeting at the nearby nature reserve as I know that can accommodate well over 150 people having a picnic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    We engage at other times.
    I'm trying to think of ways to show the parents it can be fun getting involved in scouting too - the idea being we may get more helpers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Puzzledbyadream View Post
    A quiz or a campfire are quite good for getting parents in. I always fancied running an adult wide games night.
    Sounds great - I wonder how many parents would be up for it :-)
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Another youth organisation I know of near by doesn't call their AGM by that name - they call it a showcase and get some of the sections to do a presentation - so the dance group do their thing etc. They then do the AGM stuff in the intervals between the presentations. To be fair to parents (and most adults) the invitation to sit through the formalities of an AGM (approval of accounts, re-electing the same faces etc) isn't going to feature highly on their "most exciting things to do this week list" however important it is in legal and other terms. So if your reason for wanting them there is more about getting them involved in the exciting stuff, recruiting leaders etc, don't call it something that has connotations of being the most boring form of event possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    Another youth organisation I know of near by doesn't call their AGM by that name - they call it a showcase and get some of the sections to do a presentation - so the dance group do their thing etc. They then do the AGM stuff in the intervals between the presentations. To be fair to parents (and most adults) the invitation to sit through the formalities of an AGM (approval of accounts, re-electing the same faces etc) isn't going to feature highly on their "most exciting things to do this week list" however important it is in legal and other terms. So if your reason for wanting them there is more about getting them involved in the exciting stuff, recruiting leaders etc, don't call it something that has connotations of being the most boring form of event possible.
    Agreed, I was thinking of calling it anything but AGM and then just dropping the AGM stuff in during an interval. Need to get the exec on board first but I don't think there will be any objection.
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    It's one of those Holy Grail questions! As others have said, it's not exactly the event most parents are going to jump at these days, given the other options available and a general apathy for such things now.
    In my first Group we ran a BBQ at a local Pub with a 'family' night out theme i.e. easy quiz with silly prizes etc and then spent a few minutes doing the 'boring required' bit. It proved very popular for many years.
    I then moved to a neighbouring Group who had the same issues but the same formula of a family BBQ (at the same Pub) just didn't work? Simply no interest in turning up.
    The point is that each Group has a different demographic of 'Parents' so the solution will be different. Looking back I think it was a strong 'friendship group' of parents who were the movers and shakers that actually encouraged the others to take part. That built success and something the rest wanted to be part of (and of course didn't have to organise) Find a sizable group of parents like that and you probably have the start of a solution. Exactly what that solution is however may be very different to what those around you are doing.

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

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    We get c. 100 parents and non-Scouting guests (e.g. Parish, District and County Councillors, school and school representative, Rotary, local business leaders) plus a handful of District team attend every year.
    We hold and advertise an Open Evening (incorporating the Group AGM).

    In outline, it looks like this:

    • Send a quality looking and sounding invite; upbeat on brand message. Include reference to awards for young people and free food and drink. Invite parents and District team, plus lots of local VIPs (aka ‘community stakeholders’)
    • Decorate the HQ with lots of photos and displays of YP and branded posters, banners, etc
    • Circulate professional looking annual reports at the meeting – if you look serious, people take you seriously.
    • Formal AGM agenda is brief and delivered in a snappy business style, mostly referring to the annual report rather than people talking – about 15 minutes max.
    • Presentations and awards to young people and adults from both Group and District.
    • Quality audio-visual presentation review of past year – lots of photos of YP with loud, fast music.
    • Free barbecue and drinks for everyone, with a camp fire in the field next door.


    It costs money and might take a few years to build an audience but it works for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pstretch View Post
    might take a few years to build an audience but it works for us.
    I'd hazard a guess that this is going to be an important part, possibly the most important part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevynxxx View Post
    I'd hazard a guess that this is going to be an important part, possibly the most important part.
    I think you're right. I suspect that the level of engagement at an AGM is probably a barometer for the level of engagement generally with parents and the wider community. But that probabbly doesn't help the OP. "How to do you get to X? Well I wouldn't start from here."
    Last edited by pstretch; 09-03-2015 at 11:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pstretch View Post
    I suspect that the level of engagement at an AGM is probably a barometer for the level of engagement generally with parents and the wider community. But that probabbly doesn't help the OP. "How to do you get to X? Well I wouldn't start from here."
    True, and I'm not putting down the suggestions that have been put forward. I like them, and I think getting people together like that is vital. I'd be tempted to have 2 or 3 such things each year. One of them get's 15 mins taken out to do the AGM stuff.

    It's something a few of us are trying to push at the moment, but it's taking time to get momentum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eskibrew View Post
    Agreed, I was thinking of calling it anything but AGM and then just dropping the AGM stuff in during an interval. Need to get the exec on board first but I don't think there will be any objection.
    NO!

    you are under a legal obligation to hold an AGM to present the report and accounts at the required time (annually). you must take reasonable measures to see that everyone who is entitled to the report and accounts gets a copy and gets an opportunity to attend the AGM. 30-days notice of the AGM is the recommended period. the people receiving this notice should be made quite clear that they are invited to an AGM, not a 'showcase event', nor an 'open evening', nor a 'family barbecue', &c. somewhere in that notice must be the words 'annual general meeting' or the notice must convey the meaning that the event is an annual general meeting. an 'open evening incorporating the AGM' will suffice.

    the AGM has a set number of objectives:

    to present the annual report and accounts, within which you need to state constitutional matters/info, management, risks, aims/objectives, responsibilities, and such like; a statement of the accounts/relevant financial info; and, most importantly, the achievements of the charity - the most important bit! has the charity achieved the aims it set out to do!?;

    to appoint, nominate, elect a GEC/members/officers;

    to appoint an independent examiner/auditor.

    by far and away the biggest and most important part of this is presenting the achievements of the charity. you are a charity; you have been set up with some aims and objectives in mind; now prove to people that you are achieving those aims and objectives! if you can prove you are achieving those aims and objectives then you are also likely to prove to people that you're managing the charity well and spending the money it has well too!

    i did once have a GSL ask me what were those charity achievements! i recommended he be relieved of his role.

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevynxxx View Post
    True, and I'm not putting down the suggestions that have been put forward. I like them, and I think getting people together like that is vital. I'd be tempted to have 2 or 3 such things each year. One of them get's 15 mins taken out to do the AGM stuff.

    It's something a few of us are trying to push at the moment, but it's taking time to get momentum.
    I guess what we’re saying is that getting engagement at an AGM is part of a much wider, long term plan to increase local engagement with a Group generally. You can’t ‘fix’ the AGM problem in isolation.

    For example, we had 100 people at our AGM last year, but we also had over 300 people apply to attend our Group’s family camp too. These two events are intrinsically linked despite their apparent differences.

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    TM, I am glad you came along and spotted this!

    I thought of you when I read that comment earlier and you have been far more eloquent (or should the be verbose? ) than I could have been.
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


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