There are several issues that you need to consider to bring the initial idea to a successful conclusion:

First: have I got time and commitment to devote to a Branch? Remember that, especially in the early stage, you will be 'The Man/Woman': while people will attend a meeting readily enough, getting volunteers to help organise things may be rather more difficult!

Next: is there another Branch in my area, and if so, what can my new Branch offer without detracting from the existing one? It would be courteous at this time to email the closest Branches to you, to seek their opinion and ideas and to ensure they will be supportive of a new Branch.

Now: have I got a nucleus of like-minded people, or do I need to investigate further? Where will I get my ongoing support, how/where will I recruit new members?

(You may at this point want to post on the website Front Forum in the 'Branches' section to see if there are like-minded persons out there, or contact the Web Editor who can 'advertise' your idea on the site. You can also contact the WFA Branch Co-ordinator who can email potential supporters in your catchment area.)

Once you have established that you have a reasonable chance of being able to attract at least 10 people to an inaugural meeting, then you can begin to look at further tasks and the criteria you will need to satisfy to become an accredited Branch:

First, re-contact the geographically closest Branch Chairmen, telling them what you intend to do, see if they have any objections and if they can offer help and advice. Then, perhaps with their help, establish a date and time for your first meeting that does not coincide with any events they may be hosting.

Once you have gathered together the nucleus of your new Branch, the first step is to elect a Chairman for the meeting: you are probably the ideal candidate! Acquaint yourself with the aims and objectives of the WFA (basically, remembering and education), and explain this to your gathering. When/if those who did not understand the nature of your 'call to arms' have left, it is time to elect a working committee to move things along to the next stage. My advice here would be to accept everyone who volunteers - you can always find them jobs later.

Crucially, you need to elect an executive committee: a chairman(woman), a secretary and a treasurer (these latter two may be combined initially if and you are short on suitable volunteers) who are full members of the WFA. At a later stage you may decide to have a speaker secretary, a research officer, an education adviser or any other office you need. These should also be WFA members, or at least contemplating joining. Before you adjourn, remember to fix the time and place for your first 'open' meeting (or a further planning one if necessary).

Once these elections are over, inform the Branch Co-ordinator, providing names and contact details, indicating what may be published in the Bulletin and on the website and what held internally.

You will probably have many more questions: this brief is simply to help you decide whether to continue with your aim. For a fuller set of guidelines, email the WFA Branch Co-ordinator and ask any specific questions you have at this time. Help and assistance is available from a number of quarters on IT, speakers, advertising, publicity and basic rules for all WFA Branches.

 

David Easton
WFA Branch Co-ordinator

17 January 2014

This document should be read in conjunction with "Guidelines for Operating a Branch" to be published later this month.

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