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Articles – chapters

Attendee Sign-in Sheet

If you are hosting an event, you might like to have a sign-in list, so that each attendee signs in.  This may be beneficial (or even required) for your Public Liability Insurance, so there is a record of who attended the event.

You can download this sign-in sheet, which has spots for 25, 50 or 75 attendees (1, 2 or 3 pages) – the spots are numbered so that you can easily count attendees and/or run a door prize where you draw numbers and the corresponding signed-in Hatter can win.


These sheets are blank so that attendees write their own names in, however you can fill out the attendee list prior to the event and have the Hatters sign in as they enter.   If you download the .doc format file (rather than the .pdf), you can edit the file to suit your own event.

~ Download Sign-in Sheet (25 spots) in word .doc format ~
~ Download Sign-in Sheet (25 spots) in .pdf format ~

~ Download Sign-in Sheet (50 spots) in word .doc format ~
~ Download Sign-in Sheet (50 spots) in .pdf format ~

~ Download Sign-in Sheet (75 spots) in word .doc format ~
~ Download Sign-in Sheet (75 spots) in .pdf format ~

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Fundraising Ideas

Generally speaking, the RHS doesn’t do fundraising.  However there may be times when chapters want to raise money to help a particular charity, or to raise chapter funds for convention costuming or other chapter needs.

Fundraising ideas:

  • Fines – Charge a $2 fine for forgetting to wear a hat or name-badge, or for being late
  • Craft Auctions – If you have crafty members who can create something like hats, cards, jewellery or even baked goods, you could auction these off.  Either splitting the profits with the person donating the items, or with the chapter keeping all profits.
  • Bake sale – Have members bake cupcakes, muffins, slices and other individual portioned foods, then come together for a bake sale where everyone buys a cupcake etc. for a nominated price per item (eg $1/$2 each) with proceeds going to the chapter.
  • Cupcake Decorating – Everyone pays $2 to decorate their cupcake, with decorating items provided by the chapter (eg red and purple frosting, choc chips and other fun things).  The chapter then keeps any profits made.
  • Book Sale – Members bring old books they no longer need and these are then sold off for $2 each or auctioned to raise money.
  • Lucky Dip – Have a selection of inexpensive items wrapped up, and charge $1-$2 per go.
  • Raffle Auction –  (AKA Penny sale) Each member buys a set of raffle tickets or coupons (eg 10 tickets for $1), and there are several items to raffle off, each with a bowl next to them.  Members put their raffle tickets into the bowls of the items they want (they can choose to put one ticket in the bowl or several tickets if they really want it) – then each item has the winner drawn from the bowls.
  • Mystery Auction – Everyone brings a wrapped gift worth $5 or $10, in a particular theme.  People then bid on the mystery package without knowing what is inside it.  You could set a maximum bid for each item so that it doesn’t go beyond a certain limit.  The chapter gets to keep all raised funds.
  • $2 raffle – Have a prize worth $2 and everyone puts $2 into a jar as their entry to the raffle, and their name goes into a hat. The person who gets drawn from the hat gets the prize, and they then buy the prize for the next month raffle.
  • Lolly Jar – Have a jar of lollies and everyone pays $2 to have a guess at how many lollies are in the jar.  The winner gets to keep the lollies and the chapter keeps the money.
  • Cook Book – Have members send in their favourite tried and true recipes, gather them together, then have them printed and bound.  Sell the books to cover the cost of printing plus extra funds for the chapter.
  • Car Wash – Have members bring their cars along and pay a fee to have their car washed (bonus if you can rope in husbands/children to wash the cars, then all the Hatters can gather around relaxing while their cars are being washed!)

Hatter Pledges / Vows

These are several examples of pledges/vows a new member or REDuating member can say during a ceremony.  Authors are unknown.  You can tailor these to your own needs.

Pledge Example #1

“I solemnly swear that I will greet middle age with verve, humour and élan.
I will take my silliness seriously as it is the comic relief of life in the spirit of friendship and sisterhood.
I join my red/pink hat sisters as we go for the gusto together.
And beneath the frivolity we will share a bond of affection, common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for life and living.”

Pledge Example #2

“We do solemnly promise on our red hats,
That we will do our best to uphold the spirit
Of the ……..(name of the group/chapter) and Red hatting.
And proudly wear the colours – purple outfits and red hats, at all our functions.
And never take our hats off, even though it gives us hat hair.”

Pledge Example #3

“I, ……. pledge to have fun, and only fun with the …….. Red hat group/chapter.
I offer friendship to my Red Hat sisters and respect the ideals of the society.
I will wear my full regalia of purple (lavender) outfit with my red (pink) hat to all chapter gatherings”

Pledge Example #4

“I,…… not solemnly, but with a silly grin, pledge on to uphold the spirit of Red hatting and have fun while participating with my Red Hat sisters.
I will proudly wear my regalia of purple/lavender outfit with my red/pink hat and will participate and give all that I can with my red heart.”

Pledge Example #5

“I……. pledge to wear my colours proudly, never be ashamed of having fun,
And show my spirit of adventure at dressing up and trying something new.
I will forget the troubles of the outside world and turn back the hand of time and reach inside for the little girl within me.
I will laugh, giggle and enjoy in play and treat all fellow Red hatters with hattitude and show honour amongst my hatter sisters.”

Pledge Example #6

“I… being of somewhat sound mind, and desiring to have more fun in the prime of my life, do solemnly swear to uphold the ideals of the RHS, as soon as I figure out what they are.”

Pledge Example #7

“I,_____ , not solemnly but with a silly grin, pledge on my red/pink hat to have fun, and only fun, with ________. I will uphold the spirit by proudly wearing to all gatherings the full regalia of a purple/lavender outfit with an accompanying red/pink hat, even if I look horrific in purple/lavender. I promise to never take off my hat at gatherings, even though it gives me hat hair. I will do more than just belong. I will participate and give all that I can with my red heart. I will be more than friendly, I will be a friend in sisterhood to all the Hatters.”

Pledge Example #8

“I vow to embrace this time in my life as the beginning of the best.
I will reserve at least one day of each month for me.
I accept chocolate as a main food group.
I consider dessert as the main course of a meal.
I will do my best not to take life too seriously.
I choose to laugh as often as possible.
I believe that fun is an essential in life.
I welcome the Red Hat adventures that await me.
I accept the friendships that are around me.
I will be a dedicated Red hatter!”

Pledge Example #9

“Do you solemnly promise on your red hat, that you will do your best, to uphold the spirit of ___{chapter name}___ and The Red Hat Society

and proudly wear the colours at all our functions and never take your hat off, even though it gives you hat hair?
Do you agree to deal with growing more mature with humour and to take our foolishness seriously?

Do you promise to speak only of pleasant subjects at ___{chapter name}____ gatherings?

Do you promise to learn to play your kazoo in the proper manner, or at least learn Happy Birthday?

Do you join in the spirit of friendship & sisterhood as we bond together affectionately, by common, been there, done that & with real enthusiasm for whatever comes next?”

Pledge Example #10

“I, _________________________, A royal subject of the of the red hat society, do hereby pledge:
To wear my hatter colours proudly.
To never be ashamed of having fun.
To show my spirit of adventure at dress-ups by trying something new.
To forget the troubles of the “outside” world during dress-ups.
To turn back time and reach for the little girl inside of me.
To giggle, laugh, dress-up, and play.
To treat not only my chapter, but all other chapters of the red hat society with hattitude that shows honor among all my hatter sisters.”

Hosting an Event

You may like to hold a larger get-together with ladies from other local chapters, or open it up to invite any Hatters from around Victoria or Australia. Organising a larger event can be a bit daunting so here are some tips:

  • Pick a date that doesn’t conflict with any existing events or any public holidays.
  • Choose a venue that has good access to public transport and facilities for those with mobility issues. If serving food, check they can cater for food intolerances.
  • Work out your costings and what dates you’ll need to cancel by to get deposits back.
  • Be mindful of the cost – not all Hatters have the same budgets (or time)
  • Splitting events up and charging for each part separately would allow for Hatters with a limited budget, or those who cannot be away for a whole weekend to attend some parts of the event
  • Communicate with other chapter Queens – Letting them know of the event, and if necessary asking for their assistance in running it.
  • Give plenty of notice – so everyone has time to prepare.
  • Give all the information – Cost, timeframe, dresscode, expectations, who is running it
  • Delegation – Make sure it is not just the Queen running it. Form an event planning committee and set tasks for everyone to help organise and run the event.
  • Use your members expertise. If you have members who are creative, set them to work on decorating. If you have members who are good at talking to people they can look after bookings and so on.
  • Pacing – not all Hatters can cope with a lot of activity or a long event. You may need to schedule a rest time between morning and evening events
  • Give yourself plenty of time to organise it
  • Consider the Public Liability Insurance issue, and if necessary choose venues that have their own insurance cover.
  • Borrow decorations from other Chapters, members or even your local theatre group or school to avoid buying them.
  • Themed events can be fun, but be mindful of how easily members may be able to find/make outfits to go with the theme. Try to pick an easy theme and perhaps offer some suggestions to get the creative juices flowing.
  • If making “showbags” or goodie bags for the attendees, make sure you plan this in advance so you can grab some bargains to keep your costs low. Make sure you check $2 shops, art supply shops and online stores like ebay for cheap supplies.

Indemnity Waivers

Please note the following information is NOT legal advice and is here to give you a very basic understanding of indemnity waivers as they relate to Red Hatting. If you have any questions please see a professional Lawyer.

In layman’s terms, an Indemnity waiver as it would be used for a Red Hatting event is where you sign a document to say that you agree to accept all the risks involved in partaking in the activity, and agree not to hold the organisers responsible for any injury/harm caused to you, or by you, as a result in your participation.

Having attendees sign an indemnity waiver when booking for an event, and having members sign one when joining your chapter may offer some protection, however it may not be a substitute for Public Liability Insurance. Liability waivers are not always considered to be legally binding, particularly if the terms are considered unreasonable and if if the host has been grossly negligent. However if someone does injure themselves because of something that was of their own doing, then a waiver may help you establish that they were aware that there may be some risks involved with their attendance at the event.

You may also like to include a photographic release as well, which clarifies that there will be photographs and/or video taken at the event, which you may use this for publication online etc.

Searching online for an Indemnity Waiver will give you a lot of example waivers you could use to draft a waiver that works for your specific situation. Some general waivers that  have been used by Chapters are offered below as an example. Please note these are examples and are not guaranteed to be legally binding. You should talk to a lawyer to obtain further advice.

Indemnity Waiver Example #1

By signing this Waiver, I fully assume the dangers and risks in participating in this activity ({name of activity}) and agree to use my best judgment while engaging in these activities. I further agree to indemnify and hold harmless the organisers ({Queen’s Legal name and Chapter name}) from and against any and all liability incurred as a result of or in any manner related to my participation in the activities.

Indemnity Waiver Example #2

By filling in this registration form for the {name of event} , I hereby agree to waive any liability to {Queen’s Legal Name} or any member of her chapter for any personal loss or injury that may result from any activity during the event, including but not limited to, traveling to and from the event.

Indemnity Waiver Example #3

I, ________ (Participant’s Name) Understand, acknowledge and accept that:
I knowingly and freely assume all risk, both known and unknown, even if arising from the negligence of the hosts or any of their individual members of participants or others, and I voluntarily participate at my own risk and assume sole responsibility for any injury, death or property damage I may suffer that arises from my participating in any of the activities.

Indemnity Waiver Example #4

The event {Name of Event} to be held in {Location} on {Date} is being hosted by {Chapter name and location} . This chapter is not incorporated and has no rules or by-laws. In consideration of being permitted to participate in the event and its associated activities.

I, ______________ (Name of Participant)
Understand, acknowledge and accept that:
I knowingly and freely assume all risk, both known and unknown, even if arising from the negligence of the Hosts or any of their individual members or participants or others and I voluntarily participate at my own risk and assume sole responsibility for any injury death or property damage I may suffer that arises from my participating in any of the activities.

I understand and acknowledge the dangers associated with the consumption of alcohol or any mind altering substance before and during any of the activities and I take full responsibility for any injury, loss or damage associated with any consumption and I take sole responsibility for my actions.

I, for myself and on behalf of my heirs, assigns, personal representatives and next of kin, hereby release and hold harmless and agree not to sue the hosts, or any of their individual members, volunteers, agents and sponsors (all of whom are referred to as releasees) with respect to any and all injury, disability, death, loss or damage to person or property, whether caused by the negligence of the releasees or otherwise.

EFFECT OF THIS DOCUMENT
I have had sufficient opportunity to read this release of liability and assumption of risk agreement, I fully understand its terms and understand that I have given up substantial rights by signing it, and sign it freely and voluntarily without inducement of any kind.

I understand that my signature to this document constitutes a complete and unconditional release of all liability of the releasees to the greatest extent allowed by law in the event of me suffering injury or death or property damage.

SIGNATURE ________________________________ DATE __________

.

Photography Release Example

I hereby consent to and authorize the use and reproduction of any and all photography
and/or videography that has been taken of me this day for any purpose, without compensation to me.

Chapter Insurance

Please note the following information is NOT legal advice and is here to give you a very basic understanding of the issue of Public Liability Insurance as it relates to Red Hatting. If you have any questions about insurance or insurance products please see a professional (Lawyer, financial adviser, insurance agent etc.)


What is Public Liability Insurance? | Am I already Covered by Insurance? | Indemnity Waivers | Avoiding Incidents | PLI through ARHGA


What is Public Liability Insurance?
While we don’t like to think about it, accidents can happen and if there has been a significant
personal injury that results in a claim for compensation, you may need to have insurance
cover for “Public Liability”.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) usually covers things such as injury/harm to your chapter
members while on an outing (eg falling over and hurting themselves) as well as
damage/harm your chapter members may do to another person or property while at an outing
(eg bumping into a table and breaking a priceless vase on it).  PLI comes into play if something happens that requires a financial settlement, where your insurer will pay it, rather than it coming from you.

While your members may feel they are friendly enough not to want to sue anyone, their
insurance company may be the one trying to sue – so simply being friends may not be
enough to cover you.  However it is worth noting that just because an accident happens it doesn’t necessarily mean you could be liable – You need to have been negligent in some form to have contributed to the incident – and you may already have PLI coverage depending on where you hold your outing/event and what insurance already applies to that location.  So you may not need to take out additional coverage.

So the question isn’t really a case of “is PLI insurance necessary?“… because ultimately the answer is yes.  It’s more “what coverage will I already have, and do I need to take out my own PLI coverage“.  Which depends entirely on your chapter’s outings.

Depending on the situation and your location, the person involved/injured in the incident may be liable to pay damages/medical bills if they were at fault. However if it can be proven that the incident was as a result of a negligent act by you as the host (or the member whose home you are at), then you or the homeowner may be required to pay the financial costs. This is were the public liability insurance comes in – If your chapter is covered by PLI, then your insurance policy may pay instead of you.

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Am I already covered by insurance?
Quite possibly any Hatting events you host may already have PLI coverage depending on the venue you host them at.  So if you don’t want to obtain your own PLI, then make sure any location you host events at will cover you in case of incidents.  You may decide to take out your own PLI coverage to further protect you, just in case.

Public Venues – If you have your outings in a place such as a restaurant/cafe/cinema, and the incident happens inside that venue – then their PLI should cover it, as you were paying customers of that establishment and they will have insurance to cover their customers.  Especially if the incident involved their property (eg slippery steps).

Parks – While individuals getting injured in public parks would be covered by the Government, event gatherings in public parks (so any pre-arranged meetup of people) generally does require you to have your own public liability insurance, and some parks also require a permit to gather a group of people there for events – so check the council requirements for any park you wish to use.

Personal Homes – If the incident happens while you are meeting up at another members home, then it depends on what coverage (if any) their homeowner’s insurance policy covers. Most (if not all) home and contents insurance policies have coverage for non-family members who are visiting your home.   If doing home-based gatherings it is best to check the insurance coverage of the property so you know if you are covered or not, and if it’s high enough to cover any cases where multiple people might be injured (eg a balcony collapse)

Carpooling – While convenient, carpooling can cause additional problems with regard to liability if there was a car accident.  Generally it seems that additional carpooling passengers are covered by the vehicle’s insurance policy so long as the passengers are not paying for the ride (so “chipping in for petrol money” could be considered paying a fare).  Those offering to drive other members should be fully insured and check their insurance policy covers carpooling.  Some insurers (eg NRMA) seem to view “petrol money” as ok as it’s not generating a profit (you’re reimbursing costs rather than paying a fare to travel), but others (eg APIA) may consider any payment to invalidate their policy.  So it is important to check what coverage the insurer offers and any exclusions.

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Indemnity Waivers
It is common for Hatting events or chapter membership agreements to include indemnity waivers, in the belief that doing so will mean the event host or Queen will then not be liable for any injury/damage that happens at an outing/event.  But this is not necessarily the case.  They can however be useful to help reduce the risk of liability in some cases, as generally it must be shown that the host was negligent in some way that caused or contributed to the incident, and waivers can be used to clarify any potential dangers that show that the host has made participants aware of the risks.

If the waiver specifically mentions the participant agrees to waive liability in case of negligence of the host (using the term “negligence”), then this could be a legally binding waiver, however if the court declares the waiver to be unclear or too vague then any waiver can be deemed unenforceable.

If you wish to draft an indemnity waiver, it is best to seek proper legal advice on the correct wording to use for your event.

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Avoiding incidents
To assist you in preventing potential incidents, you should make sure that any
environment you hold events in are as safe as possible, with any potential hazards clearly
explained/marked/removed.  Especially when holding events in private homes.  Remembering also that while we mostly think of injuries to people (eg someone falling over and hurting themselves), hosts can also be liable to damage to a guest’s property (eg their dog chews the guests handbag), and what damage a guest does to someone elses property (eg someone trips over a rug and spills red wine on someone’s white silk dress).

For example:

  • Any potential tripping hazards should be removed/taped down (power cords, edges of rugs etc.).  Gathering spaces should be clear of obstacles that could be a hazard.  Be aware of how any extra decorations could potentially cause hazards (eg don’t hang streamers at neck level)
  • Proper food handling procedures, and care taken with cross-contamination, food spoilage and refrigeration.  While having home-based events with people “bringing a plate” is a cheap and easy way to host, it does bring with it extra risks with food handling/storage.
  • First aid and emergency contact information readily accessible in case it is needed.  (One good idea is to have all members write their emergency contact information on the back of their name-badges)
  • If you have pets who may become aggressive when stressed, lock them away from guests.
  • As a Queen make sure any decisions you make regarding hosts/venues/activities are done keeping safety in mind and minimising potential risks (eg if a member’s home is known to have rickety stairs, perhaps don’t hold gatherings there)
  • When carpooling select drivers who have full insurance coverage on their vehicles, whose vehicles are in safe condition and who are known to be careful drivers.

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Public Liability Insurance through ARHGA Inc.
Red Hatter groups around Australia are offered a PLI policy through becoming a member of
“ARHGA Inc.” (Association Red Hatted Groups Australia), with a pricing of around $85 per year (Rates may change each year). Which is likely to be far cheaper than you are able to get yourself.  If you do need to make a claim, ARHGA also say they will pay the excess – so you should not be out of pocket at all.

To obtain insurance through them you will need to become a member of their Association and fill out their PLI application form. This must be done/renewed before the 1st of June each year. If you miss the deadline you must wait until next year.

Information can be found here: https://red-hatters-wa.net/insurance-pli

As with any insurance policy it is not as simple as just signing a form and handing over the money – you need to make sure that you know what you are covered for and what exclusions (if any) there are, have given them the correct information for your coverage and that you comply with any requirements they have. Otherwise you may find out that your insurance policy is invalid and you may not be covered if something happens and you need it.  We all know how insurance companies like to find ways to limit what they pay out.

While obtaining insurance through ARHGA could be a very good idea, there are some points to consider:

  • Obtaining your policy through ARHGA means you/your chapter will become a member of ARHGA and are getting coverage due to being part of their association – you aren’t buying your insurance from ARHGA, you’re obtaining it by being covered by their PLI insurance.  This means that as an ARHGA member, you agree to abide by any rules and requirements of their organisation – if any.  (Which are not disclosed anywhere, or not easily accessible)
  • As with insurance obtained from any company, You should read the Product Disclosure Statement for the insurer to make sure you know exactly what coverage you have and all the terms and conditions.  As there is no Product Disclosure Statement provided on the website, you may need to contact them directly to ask for this information. In particular you should find out:
    • What amount you are insured for
    • What exactly you are covered for
    • Is it written in any contract you have with ARHGA that they will pay the excess
    • What exclusions there are for your cover (eg any activities not covered)
  • On your initial application to ARHGA, you need to fill out a form that states how many members your chapter has, how many outings per year you do and other such information.  It is unclear whether changes to this information (eg chapter numbers increasing) would affect any insurance coverage you have, as it does not appear that yearly renewal calls for updates to this information.  As all chapters pay the same fee regardless of the number of events or members, this information is likely just for ARHGA records and not directly connected to your insurance coverage.

 

—  Note, some of these issues have been conveyed to ARHGA representatives, so these issues may be or may have already been addressed.

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How to Name Your Chapter

Red Hatter chapter names can be fun, quirky or simply descriptive.  Try to make sure there isn’t already a chapter in your state or country with the same name, to avoid confusion!

When thinking up a name, think of some terms you might like to use in the name.  Think about:

  • When you think about Red Hatters, what are the first words that pop into your mind?  Write those down and see if any of them might work in your Chapter name.
  • What would you like the group to be about?  If you’re wanting to convey a fun and sillyness to the group, then you can name the group with that in mind.  If you want a more sophisticated and regal sounding name, then think about that.
  • Any particular hobbies or things you like (for example if you like gardening, you might like to use “rose” or a flower name in the Chapter name)
  • Do you want to include the location?  Such as “The Red Hatters of <town>” (Works well if your town name starts with R or H)
  • You can use hat related (or other fitting) phrases too.  For example “Caught Red Hatted“, “If the Red Hat Fits”, “You can leave your Hat on” and so on.

How to attract new members to your Chapter

So you have a Red Hatting Chapter (group) but you would like to get new members in (or you’re just starting a group and need members)?  Here’s some tips that might help you.

  • Bring a friend – Allowing members to bring a friend who might be interested can be a good way to introduce potential members to your group.  You may like to organise an outing to a coffee shop or somewhere similar as this first meeting point.  If you’re just starting out and don’t have chapter members yet – don’t forget to ask your friends and family!
  • Business Cards –  We have a blank business cards you can print out yourself, or you can buy inexpensive business cards at places like Vistaprint.  Keep these in your handbag to hand out whenever you talk about the RHS so that ladies can contact you later.
  • Hang up posters – Hang posters or put out flyers in your local area, advertising the RHS and your chapter.  Try places like libraries, Hairdressers, Community centres, Dr Waiting rooms, Supermarkets etc.  (You may like to ask permission to hang up posters).
  • Go out in your Colours – A lot of hatters find out about the RHS by seeing ladies out and about in their Purple & Red.  Make sure you have business cards on you, and go strut your stuff!  If anyone mentions your outfit, start up a conversation about the Society.
  • List your Chapter – Make sure your chapter info is listed on the Chaper Listing here, on the Matilda Rose site and the Official RHS Site to help ladies who are looking for groups, be able to find you.
  • Banners – If you have a Chapter, don’t forget your banner if you’re out somewhere you can display it.  If you don’t have one yet – that could be a great crafty day where you get together to make one!
  • Volunteer – See if you can volunteer to go do a craft activity session at your local community centre, aged care facility or somewhere similar.  Not only is this giving something back to the community, but it can introduce the Society to the ladies there.
  • Local paper – if your area has a local community newspaper, contact them and see if they will run an article for you, or if you can advertise your group in there.  If you have an existing chapter then the paper might be able to to an article on one of your outings, showing photos of you all dressed up nicely.  Which will give the paper something fun to report on, and can help advertise the Society to women who might not have heard of it.
  • Don’t forget the Pinkies! – A lot of women have commented that they have waited until they were 50 to join.  Some of these may have wanted to join as a Red Hatter and not wanted to join before then – but a lot of ladies have not been aware that they could join earlier, as they had only heard about the Red Hatter being over 50, and not heard of the “Pink Hatters”.  So while you’re promoting your chapter, please don’t forget to let ladies know that women under 50 are welcome too!  (And it’s the same society, not a separate one for Pinkies).  Pink Hatters can do all the things the Red Hatters do, they just wear Lavender/Pink until they reach 50.

 

 

Got any other suggestions?  Feel free to let us know!

How to Start a Chapter

Can’t find a chapter in your area?  Have a group of friends interested in Hatting?

While it is great to be part of an existing chapter, so that you are part of a group that already has its own traditions and have a ready-made group of new friends.  Sometimes it can be beneficial to start your own chapter.

Some ladies have asked how one goes about starting a chapter, we hope this page can give you the information you need to become a Queen :)

The leader of a chapter is called a “Queen”, and Queens are welcome to be members in other chapters as well as being the Queen of their own chapter.  Different chapters do things differently, have different types of outings and meet on different days, so sometimes being part of more than one chapter can allow you more opportunities to get out and have some fun!

So what exactly is involved with starting (and maintaining) a chapter?

  • Any Chapters in your area? – First you may like to check if there is already a chapter around your local area.  While most Queens should have no issue with a new Queen starting a chapter in the same location, it may be polite to contact them first to see if they mind.  You can look in the Chapter listing here.  You can also check the chapter listing on the Red Hat Society site (http://www.redhatsociety.com).
  • Naming your Chapter – You will need to think of a name for your chapter.  It is a good idea to make it unique and not too similar to an existing chapter, especially in the same state – so check the Chapter listing here to make sure you aren’t using a name that is already in use.   You can also use the Chapter Search section of the RHS website (http://www.redhatsociety.com) to see a listing of all the registered chapters, that might help you come up with a name (and check to see if a name is already used).  You might want to name it something that has special meaning to you, or that represents you or what you plan to be doing as a chapter.
  • Queen Membership – You should go to the RHS website (http://www.redhatsociety.com/membership/queen) and purchase a Queen membership to make your chapter an official chapter of the Red Hat Society.  If you are already a supporting member, you can find the option to upgrade to Queen membership in your Account section.  This Queen membership will register your chapter as an official Red Hat Society chapter, and you will receive a special Queen pin and certificate (among other things).
  • Adding Members – Your chapter will need members!  So talk to your friends, get them to talk to their friends, and build your chapter that way.  You could also put up notices in public places to gain new members, and don’t forget to e-mail us so we can add your chapter details to this site to help people find you.

Be a little cautious with your advertising – it may be best to give out only an e-mail address or mobile phone number, until you know the person is genuinely interested in joining the chapter.  You may like to arrange to meet up at a local cafe or other public place first before you invite them to your next outing.

  • Capping members – While you can have as many members in your chapter as you like, many chapters have a cut-off at about 20-30 members, as they find that more than this can make organising events difficult, can cause “cliques” within the group, and can have troubles bonding as well as a smaller group can.  If you decide on a number of members you will have, you may want to work out your policy for handling ladies who would like to join once you are closed.  Some groups have a waiting list, and will remove inactive members to allow new people in.
  • Chapter Guidelines – You may like to think about what sort of guidelines/policies or traditions you might like to have in your chapter.  While the RHS prides itself on being rule-free (mostly), having some guidelines in place can help keep the chapter running smoothly, and lets everyone know what the expectations are.  Sometimes these may be decided upon as a group, but you may have an idea of how you would like your chapter to run.   Think about things like whether you require members to wear their colours, will you require a particular level of attendance, can members bring a friend along, what your policies will be regarding any bookings or pre-payment for anything.   If you have particular guidelines for your chapter, you may like to provide new members with a little handbook outlining these, or start up a website, facebook page or “blog” where that information can be added.
  • Gatherings – Where, When and What – While things can change, have an idea of where you would like to have your gatherings, and when.  Would you like them at your home, rotating members homes, in a local cafe or restaurant?  Will it be casual?  Will your chapter be focused on having large lavish parties?    Will you have a big ceremony welcoming new member in?  and so on. Make a list of some activities you may like to do.  Visit the museum, go on a picnic, go bowling, have a craft day – whatever you like.  Also think of what frequency you’ll be meeting, and whether it will be mostly weekends or week days.  Some chapters meet once a week, some once a month – and anything in between.
  • Participation – Not all members may be able to attend every get-together you have, either for financial or time reasons.  However you may like to make sure your members are active enough for you to consider them still a part of your chapter, especially if your chapter has reached capacity.
  • Delegation – You should also make sure that you are not the only one running your chapter.  The role of the Queen is to be the founding member of the chapter, and to act as the head of the group – but the RHS guidelines specifically say that the Queen is NOT expected to solely run the chapter, and delegating roles is highly encouraged.  Often chapters will have a “Vice Queen”, who assists the Queen, but there are also various other roles that members can take.  Organising events should not fall solely on the Queen, each member should be encouraged to suggest ideas and even organise events and
  • Insurance – Insurance is always a hotly debated topic, but you should be aware of the issue so you can make a decision about what to do for your chapter.  See the extra topic on Public Liability Insurance
  • Dues – Some chapters use yearly dues to pay for the cost of registering the chapter and paying for insurance and other running expenses.  Some chapters have smaller running costs and may ask for money only when the need arises.  If you are going to charge a fee, you should make sure the members know what the money is paying for.

Remember that individuals are only members of the RHS if they have paid their yearly membership to the RHS itself.  Paying a fee or chapter dues to a Chapter, does not automatically make you an official RHS member.  If you are an official “supporting” member of the RHS you will be issued with a RHS membership card.

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