These Best practices are recommended by The All-Breed Delegate Committee and are intended to serve as a document that can be revised, updated and amended as needed in the future. It will remain on the All-Breed Resource Library so it can be accessed at any time by all clubs. As this will be an electronic presentation, any future additions can be incorporated. Any input from the delegate body is welcome and appreciated.

All-Breed Delegate Committee - Best Practices Sub Committee (Cathy Rubens, Chair; Margaret DiCorleto; Nancy Fisk; John Ronald; Ann Wallin, Peggy Wampold)

Click here to download this as a PDF. 

General Best Practices:

When considering changes within your club, remember to check your constitution and by laws.  Revision of constitution and by-laws, requires a 2/3 vote of the membership and AKC approval.

1. All clubs should develop a Mission Statement.

  • It should be consistent with the objectives of the club as stated in your club’s Constitution and be a separate document so it can be readily revised as needed.
  • It should be a written, clear and concise declaration of the club’s core purpose and focus. It should communicate the direction, vision and focus of your club.
  • It should communicate what your club stands for, why you do it and should guide the actions of the club.
  • It should be formulated by the Board of Directors of the club with member input. When members are part of the planning, they will take ownership of the core values.
  • It should be a document that is reviewed and revised at least yearly.
  • It should be published and appear in the newsletter, website, social media, membership application, catalog and any other sites or publications as determined by each club.
  • It should be used to communicate to the public and potential members the core values the club embraces.
  • Encourage members to support the Mission Statement of your club and its goals. 
  • All clubs should develop yearly Goals and Objectives. Consider a reward for the attainment of that goal, if the goal is not a reward in itself.

2.    All clubs should develop yearly Goals and Objectives. Consider a reward for the attainment of that goal, if the goal is not a reward in itself. 

  • Goals and Objectives should support the club’s Mission Statement and are the means that allows the club to achieve the fulfillment of the Mission Statement.
  • Goals and Objectives should be written specifically for the different areas of the clubs activities. Example:  Membership, Events, Financial, Legislation, Community Involvement, etc. They can include but not be limited to: Advancement and protection of all dogs, promotion of the sport of pure breed dogs, education of members and the public.
  • Goals and Objectives should be developed by the Board of Directors with input from the club membership.
  • Goals should support the overall broad reaching principles of the club. Goals should be divided into short and long term. Example:  In the short term a club wants to increase their club membership 10% in specific year. Long range goals should also be considered looking ahead to a 5-10 year period. Example: maintain membership increases. 
  • Objectives should be specific, detailed, tangible, measurable and time limited. Example: the club will hold three membership recruitment events in a calendar year, held in their territory in conjunction with their RDO Day and Matches. The club will add 10 new members in a specific year.

Best Practices All-Breed Clubs Membership:

1.    Each club should have a membership committee or an individual whose responsibility under the direction of the Board of Directors is to encourage and support club membership.
2.    Club should establish a consistent membership application process and criteria.  This should be reviewed yearly.  Suggestions to be considered when reviewing your membership application:

  • How does a potential new member obtain the membership application?
  • Does the membership application clearly explain how the new applicant completes the process?
  • How do new members obtain sponsorship if required? 
  • Is the application read at meetings?
  • If a member objects to a prospective member, how is this handled? How can this be tactfully handled?
  • Who votes on the application?
  • Does your club want to consider offering different types of membership? i.e. Regular, Household,  Associate, Life, Honorary, Junior, Outreach etc. These will need to be incorporated into your Constitution and By-Laws, but can help if your club has difficulty attaining a quorum. Contact the AKC Club Relations Department for guidance and assistance with the acceptable types of membership.

3.    Clubs should consider developing a Code of Conduct that is annually reviewed and is published. It should be included as part of the membership application and all new members should sign that they acknowledge receipt of the Code of Conduct and agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct. The AKC Care and Conditions Policy and Code of Sportsmanship can be used as guidelines in formulating your clubs Code of Conduct. 

4.    The Code of Conduct should also be included on the yearly membership renewal form and members should sign as acknowledgement of continued adherence.

5.    Clubs should consider establishing a Mentor Program to welcome new members and help them get involved in the club activities which will help them feel that they are an integral part of the club. 

6.    Use social media: Facebook, twitter, community calendars, to contact prospective members and the general public to attend all your club activities. Clubs should assign at least one person to be responsible for the use of social media for the club.   This has been found to be a good vehicle to attract new members, especially younger members.  This individual should receive specific direction from the club’s BOD as to the type of content the club wishes to share and this should be continually monitored by the BOD.

7.    Clubs should consider incorporating Canine Partners participation.  This is another resource for potential members as they are incorporated into our sport.

8.    Clubs should consider targeting the younger populations though school outreach, 4-H clubs, girl/boy scouts and junior showmanship participation. 

9.    Clubs should consider reaching out to the Retiree Population. This group may have available time and resources and be looking for a productive activity.  

10.    Invite people who participate in equestrian events, cat shows, and other livestock events to join your club.  For example, have a table at the local horse show to attract those exhibitors into your club and the sport of purebred dogs.

11.    Have a membership table at shows and community events. Have membership information available on the club website, at training classes, educational events, matches, or at any social event involving dogs such as ‘Meet the Breeds’.

12.    Connect with local area boarding facilities, shelters, vets, pet food stores, breeders to make them aware of who you are and what your club can offer. 

13.    Encourage members to bring a guest to a meeting, social event or training class. Have members invite their puppy buyers to join.

14.    Contact the local Chamber of Commerce to make them aware of your club and its activities.

15.    All clubs should consider offering incentives and rewards to those members that volunteer in club activities. Suggestions outlined below:  

  • Hold social events such as a holiday party, member picnics, etc. Consider offering a free dinner at a special club function to those members who have made a significant contribution to your club that year.
  • Recognize club members for their achievements during the club year.  Include recognition of titles earned, awards earned from their Parent Clubs.
  • Offer club activities that provide educational experiences (e.g. Trips as a group, host a well-known trainer or speaker).
  • For clubs that have training classes or areas available consider rewarding members for work at club activities with special rates or privileges. 
  • Have a volunteer only raffle where volunteers are given tickets for a chance to win prizes.
  • Be sure to thank your volunteers by acknowledging their efforts.