Club Life: Holding the purse strings
31st May 2018
In our current ‘Club Life’ series, we’re delving into some of the roles people take on to run volleyball clubs. We’ve gone behind the scenes at Wapping Wildcats, who play in the local London League, to chat to the key people at their club. In the previous instalment, we got the lowdown on what it is like to be the chairman of a club, from Wapping’s Cormac Byrne.
In the second feature, it’s time to talk about money as we put one of the most crucial roles at any volleyball club in the spotlight: the treasurer. From court hire and league fees, to kit and match balls, there are a host of things every clubs needs to pay for – probably far more than most people realise! Taking care of club’s finances ensures the day-to-day running is organised and means the club can look to grow and thrive.
Volleyball England chatted with the Wildcats’ treasurer Bernd Kuehl to find out how you keep a club’s finances in order…
What does being treasurer involve? What are the key attributes needed to do the role?
BK: I am treasurer for the club overall and look after our club’s money.
I keep track of all our members and collect the annual membership fees from either the team secretaries or from the members who just come to our social session.
Every Tuesday at our open social session in Wapping, I collect the money from the members and non-members who turn up to play. This normally also involves organising the block booking for our venue in Wapping and paying the bill for the hall hire. I also usually organise the session with some exercises so that less experienced players can learn but still making sure the better ones don’t get bored.
Our individual teams run their own finances, meaning they hire their training venue and collect money from their team members independently as every team has a different number of players or people who attend their training. We as a club have agreed to reimburse all our teams for the cost of referees and every other year we supply each team with a set of balls where all the costs for this run through me.
Any kind of finance transaction for the club overall goes into a spreadsheet which I keep as accounts or through our bank account which I have access to, together with some other key club members.
You have to be organised and to some degree you need to have some financial background. My personal opinion is that a treasurer should be financially sound and trustworthy.
Why do you volunteer to help run your club and what attracted you to the role of treasurer?
BK: Well, I kind of fell into this role, partially as I am a banker by profession and being in a club (especially when you have been part of it as long as I have) you don’t want to see it going down the drain and want to give something back to others.
With volleyball, especially in London over the years, you have many people from abroad coming to play for us for several years while they either work, study, or live here, but at some point, they leave. As a club, you need management by people who have been around for a while and have experience. We have a core of certain members who have been playing in a team or just coming to the club for many years and they hang out together outside volleyball and have developed a real closeness.
How much time do you put into your role per month?
BK: I would say it depends on what time of the year it is, but about one hour a week on average, so let’s say 4-5 hours a month. This is separate from the time I spend on Tuesdays running our social training sessions.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
BK: It is nice to see the club growing over the years. Despite the comings of goings of members and players, I have made some really good friends over the more than 20 years I have been involved in the club and it is nice that many others have done the same.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
BK: The biggest challenge is seeing people who just come and play and have no care for the club as such. They don’t really think about that there have to be people to help and take positions in a club, otherwise there is no club. Too many just take it for granted that a club is there. It shows at the annual meeting, where out of over 80 members and players plus many more social players, only around 10 people show up for an AGM. An even bigger challenge then is finding someone to volunteer if one of the existing volunteers is not available anymore.
Is there anything that Volleyball England could do to help treasurers at volleyball clubs?
BK: As a treasurer, there is not much Volleyball England could do. The biggest problem for our club is more finding a training venue suitable for volleyball.
What has been the highlight since you’ve been at Wapping Wildcats?
BK: Someone put me forward for a volunteer award in London for 10 years of service, which was nice.
How important is the working relationship between the other volunteers at your club?
BK: Very, very important. If people didn’t get on, this would make life make a lot harder in a club. The volunteers need to think alike or along the same lines to keep it together.
Do you feel your work is appreciated by the other people at your club?
BK: Not by too many. It’s appreciated more by the long-standing members. The younger or short-term members don’t really think much about it.
What top tip would you give to someone taking on the same role at another club?
Don’t expect praise or honour, and don’t get frustrated. It is not a job, it is a helping hand you give and somehow you help keep the legacy going for your club.