On Saturday, August 15, the Nederlandse Debatbond once again organized the board day. This edition was a great success. With more than 20 participants, more than half of all board members were present and every association but one was represented. Due to the corona crisis, this edition of the board day was held online. On the board day, the new board members of the Dutch debating associations get to know each other and the Debatbond. There are also workshops specifically aimed at supporting the board members.
The day started with an opening speech by Tom Pouw, chairman of the Debatbond. After this, three workshops were given. The first was given by Jos Buijvoets (former general board member of the Debatbond and honorary member of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero) and was about member recruitment and promotion. Jos explained, for example, how social media can be used to attract new and larger groups of members but he also talked about more traditional ways, such as lecture talks and the open houses.
After Jos’ workshop, a workshop was given by myself. I built on Jos’ workshop and talked about member retention and activation. Now that the board members know how to attract members through Jos’ workshop, I explained to them how to retain those members and how to make them more active. I did this by splitting members into different groups and explaining what each of them needs to stay with the association.
Finally, Tom Pouw gave a workshop on sponsoring and selling trainings. Unfortunately, many associations often do not think of sponsoring as one of the bigger points they will be working on even though it can be very useful. So Tom discussed this topic and emphasized that sponsorship is not free money: it is actually an exchange of services. To explain this clearly to boards, he went through a step-by-step plan that boards could start to take up sponsorship.
Mike is an alumnus of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero and has served as the secretary of the Nederlandse Debatbond (2019-2021). He was vice-chair of Cicero (2015-2016) and in that function oversaw the newly set-up international branch. He also organized the Dutch Debating Winter School, a debating training week that attracted participants of over 20 nationalities.