Have any questions? info@agoraspeakers.org

Switching a club to Agora Speakers International

Follow these suggestions if you want to convert an existing club of another organization into a club affiliated with Agora Speakers International

Switching from Toastmasters International (r)

Toastmasters and Toastmasters International are registered trademarks of Toastmasters International. Agora Speakers is not affiliated with , associated with or in any way endorsed by Toastmasters International

The Bylaws of Toastmasters International allow a club to voluntary withdraw from the organization. Specifically, Article III, Section 4.a.(2) specifies that

"Voting membership in this corporation shall terminate upon the occurrence of any of the following events or conditions:...
a(2) voluntary withdrawal, expressed in writing and delivered to World Headquarters; "

Step 1Voting
For this to happen, you will need to have a vote in your club, with a quorum of members attending, record the result and submit it in writing to membership@toastmasters.org

Once a club has withdrawn from affiliation/membership with Toastmasters International, it is no longer bound by the TMI Club Constitution and can vote any other actions it wants, like staying independent, or affiliating with any other organizaztion.

This allows you to keep all the club assets and funds, as otherwise dissolving the club and re-creating it as a new one would require that all your funds and assets go to Toastmasters International, another Toastmasters club or a Toastmasters district ( Art XI, Section 2 of the Club Constitution for Clubs of Toastmasters International )

Step 2Decide if you're keeping the club's name.
You can name your club in any way you want, with the following exceptions:

  • The name must be unique within your city.
  • The name cannot contain copyrighted terms, except if it's a corporate club officially allowed by your company and the copyrighted term is the company's name. This means that if you're switching from Toastmasters International ® you cannot include that part in your name
  • The name cannot imply that it is somehow a representative of the whole organization (eg: "Agora Speakers Central" or "Agora Speakers Headquarters")
  • For the same reason, the name cannot include names of geographical areas bigger than a city (eg:"Agora Speakers France" or "Agora Speakers Europe"). You can, however use the name of your city ("Agora Speakers Paris"), as long as there's no other club in your city with the same name.
  • The name cannot contain any kind of aggresive speech directed at other groups of people
  • The name must not contain offensive terms and must comply with the local legislation on naming of associations and companies

There's no need to include "Agora" in your club's name. Your club could just be "Advanced Speakers of Paris", for example.

In case of doubt, it's better to ask first: info@agoraspeakers.org

Step 3Decide your club's characteristics:

  • Will it be a Public, Restricted or Corporate club?
  • If it is a Restricted club, the criteria for admission, which must be publicly announced
  • The meeting venue and days.
  • Languages that will be used in the club.
  • Club fees that will be charged to members. These are separate from Agora's fees. Currently Agora's fees are waived, but your club can charge from day 1 to offset the costs of venues, materials, etc.
  • Will the club allow virtual (remote) participants?
  • What roles non-resident members (visiting members of Agora Speakers that don't belong to your club ) will be allowed to perform.
  • What roles guests will be allowed to perform.
  • Who will be the contact person for that club.

Step 4 Apply for a club number and contact your country Ambassador, or become one!
Once you're ready, submit your club details to info@agoraspeakers.org , in order to get assigned a club number.

Also, check if there's an Ambassador in your country and contact him with your intention to start a new club. An Ambassador acts as an Agora representative that is keen on helping people with the process of starting new clubs. Click here to see the countries in which we have currently Ambassadors. It is very recommendable that you sign up on the global Agora Speakers International Facebook Group, as well as the local facebook group for your country.

If there is no Ambassador in your country, then as the creator of the first club you might want to step in as one? Click here, for an explanation of the role of Ambassadors

Step 5 Announce the new club
Until the web club registration and membership management becomes available, merely announce the new club in the global Facebook group and in your country's group.

Step 6 Create the branded materials
Use the branding portal to create banners, agenda templates, etc. for your club.

Step 7 Continue your regular meetings
Continue your regular meetings, under the new affiliation. Remember that members can continue to follow TM's educational program they have started until they finish it.

Switching from Other organizations

Technically, most bylaws of other clubs do not contemplate the possibility of "switching" the club, so basically you'll have to create a new one (that can be called the same way if there is no other Agora Club with the same name in your city) and have members of the old club join the new one. Since there are no chartering nor sign-up fees in Agora, this is a procedure that does not cost anything.

Check here the information you need to have at hand for your new club and how to proceed with it.
Should there be a vote?

There's no need for any voting in the old club because no changes are being done to it. A group of members from the old club freely decides to start something different, for which they don't need any permission from anyone. This also gives the opportunity of those who don't agree or don't want to swtich to continue in the old - non-Agora - club. Ideally these people should be a very small number.

If a majority of the members of the old club choose to move to the new one, you can schedule the meeting dates,times and venus of your new Agora club so that they match the ones of the old club, and in this way the process will be completely seamless. The only thing that members will actually notice is that they are paying much less, while at the same time continuing to do exactly the same things as before

Let the old club lapse, and don't schedule any new meetings for it. If any members wish to remain in it, it would be up to them to organize those events.

What happens to the old manuals?

Agora Speakers allows members to continue using the educational program of the previous organization until they finish it, as long as they legally own the manuals or have legal access to the educational materials. Projects from other Educational Programs that have the same goals and learning objectives as the ones in Agora are recognized, so when members switch to Agora's Educational Program, they will not have to repeat those projects

However, please note that Agora Speakers cannot emit the original certificate these members were doing. We can, however, provide a generic "Certificate of Completion" of the old program.