Would You Associate with an Association?

I find that I spend too much time on Social Media, but when you are this side of retirement then there is only so much else to do. OK I can spend a lot of time in the garden, but any time in the garden usually results in the death of a lot of innocent plants. I tend to leave that to those who have a way with the dumber of God’s species.

So, when you have reached Dr Xan’s recommended daily 10,000 steps it is time to break out the laptop to see what time-wasting activities others have been up to on the various Social Media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter are a few that I tend to alight on in my internet rambling. Facebook appears to be the most popular. On there you have all sorts from individuals, through unincorporated groups, through to Companies. It is a good way of disseminating information and keeping people in touch. In these strange times it is good that we have the electronic means of contact because of the restriction in physical association. That comes to the point of this blog. I sometimes look at the Shottisham Village Association” Facebook page and while I was accessing their FB page it suddenly occurred to be that I don’t really know what an association is.

What is an association? My Collins English cites the meaning as ‘a group of people with a common interest’. There are good reasons for having a group of people with a common interest. It could be a love of birds, trains, cars, butterflies and even one that we have accessed in another blog WW2 pillboxes. So, people will band together under an umbrella organisation for a common purpose.

So an association is a group of people with a common interest or purpose and there cannot be a much better way of bringing people together. An association will generally collect a subscription for membership and the amount will depend on the purpose and the needs of the organisation. I am assuming, not being a member of any, that the amount is dependent on what the budget for the organisation is. The strength of an association is dependent on the number of members and what the aims and achievements of that group, not necessarily the budget. I have heard that the Village Association has a smallish number of members but is looking to expand this to further enable it to achieve its objectives.

The whole thing with an association, and the Village Association in particular, is that is just what is says it is, an association of people with a common purpose or purposes. It should have no raisons d’être other than that contained in its constitution.

I have taken this from the Village Association Facebook site.

‘The Association, formed in 2019, has the following objectives;

a) to promote the social activities of the village

b) to promote the attractiveness of the village including those areas within the conservation area and without

c) to promote the well being and support of the village inhabitants and their pets

d) to promote the local flora and fauna to ensure that, where possible, these remain protected from unnecessary interference.

In striving to achieve these objectives the Association will work with any group or individuals as the committee sees fit.’

Quite altruistic and provided that the Association maintains these objectives then it is the one organisation within the Village that has a single purpose to improve the Village for its residents. Now if you get two people in a room then they will probably disagree at some point and that gets more probable the more people you bring together. This will be true of the committee any Village Association but provided they stick to the objectives of the Association then it will only disagree on what to do and if there is more than one ‘current project’ then the disagreement can only be ‘what to do first’. The balance is to make sure that all the agreed projects get done if possible.

So what can association do? Basically anything that its constitution allows and its finances permit. Unlike other organisations it is not very constrained by legislation but in having this lack of constraint it is limited as to what it can do as an organisation because legally it is not separate from its members. There are always ways around things, and it is through its members that it can do what other incorporated organisations can do except make profit. A lot of people believe that an unincorporated body, and in this case an association, cannot hold property. That is of course true but an association can hold property through its members individually, as trustees, or similar.

So an unincorporated association can be quite powerful because the members have a common purpose and that is very different to the other organisations that exist. It is non-profit profit making and although the members may disagree on individual issues, like what to do first etc, provided they continue to have their original purpose in mind they can be of great benefit to their members or whoever they intend to help.