It’s not always a well known fact that our association’s committee and core team are largely voluntary, with nobody drawing a full time salary for their work with the BMABA. Juggling association work alongside working and family commitments is far from easy, but has been at the centre of the BMABA’s community run ethos since our inception in 2012.
We’re really keen for you to see the real people behind the e-mails, as it demonstrates our commitment to remaining in the community interest.
See how an average day’s work is managed by one of our committee;
How Does A Typical Working Day Look For You?
“The time I contribute to the organisation is likely a little more than some of the other members of the committee, but we all certainly share our free time with the organisation’s workload.
My alarm typically starts up at 7AM. I work in Insurance as a ‘day job’, something I’ve done for a number of years. The insurance cross-over to what we do as an association is very helpful, as it helps us negotiate superb cover for our members via our group cover policy.
One of the first things I do in the morning is check my duty mobile, to see what’s come in over night. During a typical period we’ll likely find around 30 enquiries a day in our individual workloads, and around 20 system processes that need our attention. The organisation sees a huge number of monthly visitors through our extensive websites – in excess of 30,000 usually. This generates sometimes hundreds of e-mails, queries, requests, processes and tasks a day just to keep us ticking over. A quick glance helps me to prioritise certain lines of enquiry before the day begins.
Like most people, I’ll start the morning with a cup of tea and breakfast. The morning is mine to be spent with the family, before the working day beings. By 8AM I start my morning commute (around an hour door to door, through West Sussex and across the border into Surrey). If there’s anything on our daily agenda, I’ll speak with members of the committee and admin team before arriving at work. This helps us ensure everything is being managed.
We’re very fortunate to have invested heavily in our new CRM technology towards the back end of 2017. This has made it considerably easier to divide up the mammoth amount of enquiries and contact we receive on a daily basis as an organisation.
Like most, my working day begins at 9AM, and lasts to 5.15PM. My lunch break is usually spent practicing martial arts in the adjoining work gym. As a Muay Thai boxer ‘by trade’ conditioning is important. I still teach, on Tuesday nights, so it’s important I’m as fit as I would expect my students to be.
On a usual week night I’ll find my commute home is completely full of scheduled calls. Most of these are with prospective members who want to find out more about our insurances, or what we offer. If we have members wanting to speak, we’ll prioritise them too. We have members of the committee on hand to try and answer calls during the day – but the sheer number can be overwhelming so we really do appreciate people taking the time to e-mail, or at least scheduling a time to chat rather than constantly calling through on the main switchboard number.
With the BMABA, every club that joins is assigned a personal senior management team member as their senior point of contact. This helps us get to know you better, and saves you ‘starting afresh’ everytime you speak with a member of our team. At the time of writing, I have direct supervision of more than 500 clubs, so time is scarce.
Arriving home at around 6PM, I’ll usually find around 15 packages or postal runs ready to go out, but requiring my attention. This is usually just a supervisory signature to sign off insurance paperwork or dan grades before they’re posted. Often documentation will need to be securely posted from one committee member to another before heading onto you. We need to do this as quickly as possible to ensure you’re not left waiting too long for your documents.
My evenings are heavily absorbed by the association’s work. I’ll use atleast one hour a day to respond to as many e-mails and queries as possible. With as many as forty a day to get through, it can really add pressure to the working day but we all enjoy dealing with our members, and sharing what we do with prospective clubs.
Evenings post 7PM are for my family, and it’s an important balance that needs to be struck. When everyone turns in for the night – usually by around 9.30PM – 10.30PM, my work continues. I’ll typically be in the home office until midnight during weeknights. As a senior member of the team there’s not just the day to day of e-mails and queries to manage. Financials, marketing, compliance, regulatory matters and more all form part of my usual responsibilities, shared between me and my fellow committee members.
How Do You Cope With Such A Volume Of Work?
“Sometimes it’s challenging, as when we’re busy, we’re exceptionally busy. But like most things, if you genuinely love what you do, it’s never that much of a chore. From time to time the association work load – ever as relentless as we grow – can be problematic, but for the best part it’s good fun to be ‘riding the wave’ and we have a great network of fellow committee members and senior management all in similar boats. Our members are great, and are largely understanding of our time restraints too which makes a world of difference.
Why Don’t You Just Pay A Wage To Do It Fulltime?
“We’ve thought about doing that, and it’s something in the future we will no doubt have to look at again, but for now, we prefer not to. As soon as you start introducing a salary you begin diverting funds from the organisation’s key aims. It makes good sense for us to continue doing what we do for as long as possible, drawing only a minimal wage where necessary to directly compensate for time lost not working in our daily careers.
Doing it this way means we’re sure everyone on the board is here because they love doing what they do, not because they’re after a fat-cat salary.
With the average UK salary costing £28,000 per annum (and that’s without the employer’s contributions, tax, pensions etc), it’s alot of money that right now we’d prefer to spend improving what we offer members, beefing up our online services and improving the association.
How Many Others On The Committee Are Involved In The Running Of The Association?
“We have 8 members of the senior committee, and then the Director General and Secretary. Our committee is set to grow, too.
Not everyone can put in as much time as others. Some have more career or family commitments, and others are happy to help in different ways. From handling the day to day enquiries through to data input for our vast membership network, everyone has an important role to play – even those just acting on an advisory basis to help us ensure we remain politics free and impartial.
Is This Approach To Running An Association Sustainable?
“We’ve done it this way for more than half a decade, since 2012. Whilst we’ll need to adapt in the coming years to keep up with demand, yes – it largely is. We’ll continue to focus on the best way to ensure admin is turned around quickly and for as long as possible, we’ll continue to keep putting money back into the business rather than into the pockets of shareholders.