A 4th Division for WA Toastmasters?

When and Where will it come?

Currently we have 3 Divisions, 50 active clubs and an active membership of about 800, which is an average of about 16 per club.  You can check out the current nominal membership on the WA DCP page. When the Renewals figures to the end of March are published next month you will find that my estimates are approximately correct.

District WA challenges us to do better

The Toastmasters International Directors have started a process for WA members and clubs to separate from District 73 and form our own Provisional District.  The process is already underway.

    In May this year the District 73 Council will elect a District Governor for the whole of District 73, a Lt Governor Education & Training and a Lt Governor Marketing for WA and a Lt Governor Education & Training and a Lt Governor Marketing for the balance of District 73 – Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

    In May next year, 2011, the District 73 Council will elect the 3 top officers – District Governor, Lt Governor Education & Training and a Lt Governor Marketing – for both WA and the balance of District 73.

    On July 1, 2011, we will be a Provisional District, with all the privileges and responsibilities of Toastmaster Districts.

How do we go from Provisional to Full District status?

Earlier this year the International Directors redrafted the previous rules.  My understanding of their published results is this:

We can apply for full status when we have at least 60 clubs with an average membership of at least 20 members.  When we have reached those two targets, there will be an assessment made of our general efficiency and prospects for further growth.  If we pass that, we’ve made it.

So why do we need a 4th Division?

Essentially a Division needs at least 16 clubs with 4 Areas of at least 4 clubs each.  You can see my Maths – when we go through the 60 club target we will be close to qualifying for a 4th Division.  Further, we will have to show there are prospects for further growth, and the best evidence of that will be more new clubs coming onstream.

We need a challenge, a friendly rivalry between our 3 existing Divisions, to drive the steady growth necessary to become a full District.  Currently I am Western Division Governor and the WA New Clubs Coordinator.  So, I issue these challenges

    To Western Division to be the growth engine which drives us forward to split off the 4th Division

    To the 2010/11 Western Division Governor to continue our current growth and to do even better

    To the current Innercity and Perth Division Governors to galvanise their Area Governors and emerging leaders to match Western or do even better

    To Toastmasters living in the northern corridor based around the railway to Joondalup to seize the opportunities available in that enormous population base which hasn’t had a new Toastmaster Club since Stirling was chartered in 1994.

Ambitious plans for Western Division

Currently I am discussing with Mark Richards, the District 73 Lt Governor Marketing and a prominent Western Division member, a forward plan which will achieve the first of my challenges – for Western to split off a new District.  This year looks like being very successful with the Division on track to be President’s Distinguished along with 3 of our 4 Area Governors, all of whom will finish with a new club.  That involves 3 new clubs with no loss of any current clubs.

The railway to Mandurah is the key to our forward plans.  New suburbs are springing up on either side of the railway.  We are developing a plan to set up new community clubs based on the new suburbs.  Mark and Robyn Richards established a blueprint for publicising and forming such community clubs with their founding of Canning Vale.   Now the Canning Vale club, through member John Palmer, is setting out to follow that blueprint in Southern River.

How do we raise our average membership from 16 to 20+?

Well, that is a different issue.  It wont be easy, but it has to be achieved.  Next week I will have some suggestions.

For any queries or more information
David Nicholas DTM
Western Division Governor
WA New Clubs Coordinator

2 Responses to “A 4th Division for WA Toastmasters?”

  1. Avatar for Andrew Bolotin Andrew Bolotin says:

    Time to make myself unpopular again..

    I’m going to assume the current gross membership figure of 951 and club numbers of 52 are correct. This means that the AVERAGE of all clubs is still less than the Charter Strength of 20 members across all of WA Toastmasters. Then I have to subtract the many, many dual memberships that are part of that total. Empirically I am certain that dual and special memberships are at least 5% of the total and perhaps as much as 10%.
    Then in commonsense, the average attendance in clubs is perhaps two-thirds of the membership strength on paper. This means the number of “real” Toastmasters may be somewhere between 500 and 600. Still impressive, until one considers this represents an average of 10-12 “real members” per club!

    All I’m driving at is that we need to take a deep breath and consider what membership strength we really will have to contest the first vital years of the new District. By all means let us build as impressive a paper membership and club count as we can, but let’s not fool ourselves in the process.

    I have written and spoken about the imbalances created by the many dual memberships in WA. Of course, I’m not against any Toastmaster trying to maximise their educational and leadership experience. I AM definitely opposed to the same group of 50 or so people spreading themselves all over the place in club after club. While I applaud the commitment, I really have to question the practical benefits – for anyone.

    I would earnestly recommend that no further special, advanced, theatre or leadership clubs be set up for some years. I would even more earnestly recommend that those members who belong to 3, 4, 5 or even 12 clubs consider channeling their efforts for more effect in the higher leadership positions. If club after club can really only survive because of the commitment of a very few individuals, then emphatically they have been chartered for the wrong reasons.

    On a related note, one of the structural shortcomings of the “old” District 73 is its enormous geographical reach across four states, which then have to be supported by District resources. Yet we are beginning to set up more and more clubs in remote areas in Western Australia – hardly less than the square mileage of D.73 – and some of them in precisely the same locations where previous clubs have failed in the identical locations in the past. And one day, very soon, the support of all of these clubs will become the responsibility of the new District WA.

    We need to be much more selective in where we establish clubs, particularly given our limited early resources. We need to understand the enthusiasm and enterprise of our current most committed Toastmasters is not unlimited. We must begin to recognise the point of maximum risk for all of us is not in forming a new District, but the immediate aftermath.

    In a little more than 12 months time, the once impossible dream of becoming a District in our own right will be realised. This is an incredible tribute to the dedicated Toastmasters who have worked tirelessly for this success. We owe it to them and to ourselves to be sure this new District is sustainable.

    Andrew Bolotin DTM
    Past D.73 Governor

    • Avatar for David Nicholas David Nicholas says:


      As so often I am mostly in agreement with you when you comment on the overall situation. I am one of the serial offenders with regard to dual membership clubs – both in founding them and belonging to them. As of tomorrow when the Renewals become effective (though I expect they wont show up on the reports for a few weeks) I will be a member of Victoria Quay, and a dual member of Western Founders, WA Governors, Amity, Netmasters and Marketers. With the exception of Marketers I am active in all of them.

      The reason I posted this blog was to alert our officers to two main issues – the average membership issue and the gaping hole in the northern suburbs. When the Renewals numbers are posted, the average across WA will drop much lower than the nominal figures right now. But not as much as we might expect – because 3 clubs with very low numbers are folding. None of them are dual member clubs by the way. It is a good thing that we are losing clubs. Toastmasters is a growth organisation – we grow by putting on new clubs. Not all of them turn out to be viable, for many different reasons. So they fold – and that brings the average membership up again.

      Why don’t we have new clubs starting to the north of Perth? Where are the leaders and the potential leaders who can do it? They are emerging east of Perth and very much so to the south of Perth. We have a gaping hole in the northern suburbs. Let’s do something about it.

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