Further thoughts about the unsustainability of the current model of BrisLETS, ahead of the July 2018 AGM

Every member of the BrisLETS organisation has joined because they wanted to trade their goods and/or services without actually spending hard cash. It’s a lovely idea!

Being an organisation implies that at least some members are carrying out the actual organising.

So BrisLETS has two kinds of members:

  1. volunteer organisers, who spend their time and energy for very little reward to make the organisation thrive
  2. everyone else, who benefit from these volunteers’ generosity without being directly obliged to contribute anything in return.

This system works well … for a while. Then the volunteer organisers grow tired of carrying the burden of making the organisation thrive. If they were plants, they would wilt and then die.

So the BrisLETS organisation is now facing a crisis of sustainability. Chief symptom is that no one wants to replace the current MC members.

Brainstorming possible solutions

  • Reward the current volunteers – also known as the Management Committee and its team members – more significantly than is currently happening.
  • Rejig the current model in which new members are recklessly sought without asking for any commitment from them. Getting this commitment could simply be via another question on the application form: WHAT TALENTS OR ABILITIES WILL YOU CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE SUSTAINABILITY OF BRISLETS? And give a list of desired qualities or skills.
  • Also include this quote on the form, from William H Johnson: If it is to be, it is up to me.
  • Decree that there are two different membership options, for Lifters and Leaners, with an appropriate CASH joining fee reflecting the level of responsibility.
  • Make the undertaking of the management committee member finite, say, one or two terms.
  • Draw lots for the positions on the management committee.
  • Ahead of time, survey the membership to see who COULD take on a committee position, then suggest this to them and groom them for the position. That’s what they do in Rotary where the changeover is always at the end of the financial year. In Rotary Carindale, the 2018-2019 President will be inducted this weekend, but they have already tapped the 2019-2020 President on the shoulder and he has accepted.
  • Current burnt-out MC members could simply tell themselves that no one should be indispensable, then walk away. Often things only change when a vacuum is created.


So, what do you reckon? Whatever you think, please come along on Sunday 15 July and have your say.

―Josephine Brown, BLCE 1073

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