As we start a new year and look toward new membership, now is a great time to talk inventory. Having loaner items on hand is great way to help newcomers fit in and feel at home. Maintaining a list of the items that belong to your branch is one of the duties of the exchequer and require coordination between Chatelaine and Marshals to have the right items on hand. I have some suggestions for making this process easier.
First, consider using a check-out sheet. These don’t have to be complicated. All you really need is an item description, dates checked out and back in and contact information for borrower. This makes it clear to new people that this is a loan not a gift. Also it reduces instances of group property “vanishing into the mist.” The check out forms can help track what items are in demand and can flag what items may need maintenance.
Second, I am a personal fan of coordination with the A&S minister to do a group repair day. This can be mending of garments, armor repair and construction of pieces to fill any gaps that may exist in a groups inventory. Also a project day is a great way to introduce new people to the vast number of talents and skills in your group. Newcomers can also try basic armoring or small sewing projects before committing to something that may be overwhelming to them.
Third, no item will last forever or a group may have more of an item than is really utilized. If you’ve had something on the inventory for years and it’s not been checked out, it may be time to retire it. Some items may truly be trash. I suggest having the group officers or financial committee agree that it’s time to dispose of these items. This provides documentation for the item being deleted from the inventory. Items that still have some life left may be sold at fair value or donated to another non-profit. They may not be gifted to an individual branch member, household, etc.
Lastly, if your group has enough membership, consider adding a quartermaster. The quartermaster is a deputy to the exchequer who specializes in handling the inventory. The exchequer’s job is large and this helps lighten the load. It will also provide an opportunity for more members to become active and engaged in your group. The more members engaged in your group, the easier it is to recruit and retain new members.
Hopefully, these tips will be a help when thinking about inventory and new comers. If you have any questions, please reach out to me.
With kind regards,