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Fall: Membership

At a well-run Little League, there are two types of members: regular members and player members. This section deals with regular members — the people usually defined as eligible to vote at the annual meeting and other general membership meetings.

Regular members of a well-run Little League include, by definition, all current managers, coaches, volunteer umpires, board members, officers of the board, “team moms/dads,” volunteer maintenance workers, volunteer concession stand workers, etc. Just who exactly is a member is defined in the local Little League’s Constitution. (Model Constitution, Article III, Section 2 b).

One of the worst mistakes any league can make is to define its membership as all the parents in the league. Think of it the same way as any parent/teacher organization in a school. Simply having a child in the school does not mean you are a member of the organization. You must DO SOMETHING to be a member — even if it’s simply to pay the annual dues. The league Secretary can be tasked with maintaining a list of current regular members.

So it is with a regular membership in a Little League program. The registration fee paid at most  Little Leagues does not include dues for being a regular member. In fact, the league does not even solicit for new regular members at registration time, since it knows a majority of the parents who sign their children up will probably not attend general membership meetings.

A well-run Little League requires those who wish to be regular members to pay $5 in dues annually. If dues are not paid prior to one day before the annual meeting, the member is dropped from the rolls. It is recommended that the deadline for payment of dues be several weeks prior to the scheduled annual meeting. However, your league could choose to waive a membership fee for the volunteers mentioned earlier in this section.

A league that includes all of its participants’ parents in membership is inviting problems, such as:

  • The single parent of four children in the league could charge the system is unfair, and he/she should have FOUR votes.
  • Which parent gets to vote? If both get to vote, the single parent above has an even more compelling argument of unfairness.
  • The normal quorum for a meeting is one-third of the members. In a league with 200 participants, this could result in more than 400 eligible members, requiring more than 132 members to be present before any business can be conducted.
  • If business is conducted with fewer members, the election could be challenged.

A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League/2010-2011.htm

Next article: Review Constitution