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Growing Your Astronomy Club
Part 3: Cultivating Volunteers

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3. Make Each Job Manageable

Consider all the positions your club has and make sure each of them has a reasonable amount of work. A generally acceptable workload is 3 to 6 hours a month. This is in addition to regular club events, such as the monthly meeting, board meeting, public events, and club observing events.   

checkTIP: If any of your members are devoting more than eight hours a month to administrative tasks, to avoid burnout you may want to consider splitting jobs up.

too many hatsReview the list of roles below. Which ones does your club have? How many of these roles are managed by the same person in your club? If there are members who are wearing more than two or three hats, the Volunteer Coordinator may want to check with them regarding how they are handling the load.

Common Board Positions:

  1. President: Prepares agenda and presides at monthly board and general meetings; Provides support to board members and committee chairs as needed to enable them to fulfill their jobs; Represents the club at club and public events.
  2. Vice-President: Steps in for President in his/her absence; assist President with his/her duties
  3. Treasurer: Receives all monies and makes disbursements to pay obligations of the club; keeps club’s financial records and manages bank account(s).
  4. Secretary: Records minutes of all Board and Business meetings and distributes minutes to members.
  5. One to five “Member-at-Large” positions. These are voting members of the Board and often fill other administrative or support roles in the club.

Common Committee or Administrative/Support Roles:

  1. Membership Coordinator: Tracks and keeps membership records up-to-date, accepts new member applications, sends reminders about renewing membership, keeps track of dues paid.
  2. New Member Steward: Supports new members during their first year of membership, introduces new members to the club, its culture and activities.
  3. Volunteer Coordinator: assures that all club positions are filled and the process to recruit is followed. Recruits for positions as needed.
  4. Outreach Coordinator: Accepts requests from the public and schedules special events, notifies club members of outreach opportunities, gets signups and assures enough members will be present. Cancels and reschedules special events as needed.
  5. Public Astronomy Coordinator: Manages regularly scheduled events, like monthly star parties: plans dates, plans programs, prepares materials. 
  6. Outreach Training Mentor: Partners an experienced club outreacher with new outreach volunteers. Prepares members for outreach and uses Night Sky Network ToolKits, videos, and resources for training.
  7. Meeting Program Coordinator: Plans and makes arrangements for speakers and programs for club meetings in coordination with the Board
  8. Webmaster: assures website is up-to-date and operational.
  9. Newsletter Editor: compiles and does layout and production of the Club Newsletter.  Distributes newsletter to membership.
  10. Publicity Coordinator: Publicizes regularly scheduled events to local media, schools, and other organizations
  11. Meeting Greeter: Greets visitors to club meetings, provides them with information on the club, and introduces visitors to other members. Assures the Welcome Table is stocked.
  12. Refreshment Coordinator: Responsible for meeting and event refreshments.
  13. Equipment Manager: Maintains and manages any club-owned equipment; transports equipment as needed to events.
  14. Meeting Room Set-up Manager: Opens meeting room, puts out signs, and sets up meeting room with tables and chairs as needed; sets up audio-visual and computer equipment.
  15. Observatory Manager: Assures all equipment is in working order; manages the schedule for use.

Public Outreach Event Roles:

  1. Public Astronomy Program Presenter: Prepares and delivers appropriate presentations and demonstrations at public events; prepares relevant visitor handouts such as star maps, telescope tours, or astronomy information sheets (e.g. Solar System Planets).
  2. Telescope Operator: Operates telescope at public events and prepares “scripts” for objects s/he shows in the telescope.
  3. Event photographer: takes photos at public events, gets photo releases as needed.
  4. Event reporter: writes newsletter/website articles about past and upcoming events, encouraging members to participate in the next one. This could be someone who would write a regular column for your club newsletter on your outreach program.
  5. Event Host: Greets members and visitors at public astronomy events; helps visitors get oriented at the event; has handouts with club information.
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ASP logoSharing the Universe videos are produced by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) from research conducted by the Institute for Learning Innovation, the ASP, and from astronomy clubs like yours. www.astrosociety.org/SharingTheUniverse


NSF logoThe Sharing the Universe project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is supported by the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) of the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DRL 0638873. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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