by Mike Crowe, MPA vice speaker of the house, GCPA board liaison
As of 2010, the Genesee County Pharmacists Association (GCPA) had not been active for nearly two decades. In September 2010, work began to rebuild the organization. A website was created, organizational documents drafted and membership meetings successfully attended. On May 17, 2011, Michigan Pharmacists Association’s (MPA) Local Association Development Committee (LADC) voted to grant the GCPA active status once again, and this status became official on June 17, 2011. Since Sept. 2010, MPA membership in the GCPA has more than doubled.
The Genesee County Pharmacists Association (GCPA) was originally organized as the Flint Druggist Association in 1928 (take a look at some documents dating back to the 1950s on GCPA’s History page). In 1961, though, Flint Druggist Association changed its name to the Genesee County Pharmaceutical Association. During reactivation in 2011, the name Genesee County Pharmacists Association was selected to fit the naming standards of other local associations. Over the years since the association began as the Flint Druggist Assocation, the practice of pharmacy has changed significantly. However, one thing remains the same: the works of the local pharmacy associations are still one of the key ways in which advancements in the profession of pharmacy take place.
In its short tenure as an active local, the GCPA has seen its share of successful events and not so successful ones. Some of the unsuccessful events included a day-long Saturday continuing education (CE) program and a Halloween party. The CE program had a fees attached as the Association was trying to cover its costs and potentially raise money for future activities and events. Between the fee and consuming an entire weekend day, we could count the registrants on one hand and had to cancel the program. The Halloween party was another failure; there were too few registrants to justify the cost of food and entertainment.
We did learn from these unsuccessful events, however. Our members didn’t want to commit an entire day to CE and asking for money at every event to cover costs or to raise funds got old quickly. We also learned it always helped to have at multiple activities (e.g., business time, social time, and/or CE) at an event to draw in more attendees. As a result, for = CE programs, we tried out evening dinner programs. The CE was free. The food was free. The program was short. We saw 15-20 attendees on average. A success! We’d try to offset the costs with “booth sponsors” outside the program, but if we didn’t find one, the show would go on. And we had a way to cover these costs anyway: a golf outing!
Realizing we needed funds, but didn’t want to ask members to pay to attend every one of our programs, we established the GCPA golf scramble as our primary means of supporting operations throughout the year with the other source of funding from members’ dues allocations via Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA). We wanted to keep pricing reasonable, give a lot for a little and keep our risk low. We depended a lot on sponsors, donors and volunteers. One of our members was also a member of a local club, so we were able to use the facilities for no charge. We played on a Saturday in early September, so as not to compete with summer vacations and the club’s avid golfers. It meant we were limited in the number of golfers, but that was ok as it made it easier to “fill up”. For $100, players got lunch, dinner, 18 holes with a cart, driving range use before tee time, raffle tickets, a goodie bag and a great time! We gained more sponsors each year and correspondingly raised more funds. Volunteers staffed the holes, delivered food, assembled the goodie bags, took photos, etc. The event, now the Spud Software Scramble for GCPA, will be in its fifth year being held on Sept. 10 and all MPA members are welcome to participate.
This is just a snippet of the GCPA in recent years. There are a lot of murmurs of other local associations being formed or reactivating. The Local Association Development Committee is a great resource for those members interested in reactivating a local association. While it may take some time up front, getting to work with local leaders, like those of the GCPA, can make developing a local association a very rewarding experience.