By Shaheed Jamshed Mufti (Immediate Past President, Early Bird Speakers)
Many years ago, I was sitting and having dinner with my predecessor. She had become our newly elected club President and I was being trained as the new VP Education for our club. Everything was going well. She introduced me to EasySpeak, how to plan meetings, maintaining fair speaking and leadership opportunities for club members and more. Then I was introduced to the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) and DCP points. My mind froze!
Looking at the Toastmasters website and the literature we had on it, I found it all rather daunting…though, not for long. With some time and a bit more reading, I was able to wrap my head around the program, understand my responsibility in helping my club get the most DCP points possible and to encourage club members to take ownership of their educational journey. A responsibility I retained when I became President of Early Bird Speakers.
At the start of this Toastmasters year, a few members from different Toastmasters clubs reached out to me to find out what the program was about. Even though club officer trainings were on the horizon, I shared what I knew about it and what clubs had to do during the year.
Based on some of the questions received, I decided to write this piece.
What is the Distinguished Club Program?
Loosely speaking, the Distinguished Club Program serves as a yardstick, measuring how well a club is doing during the Toastmasters year. It is a way of gauging the quality of your club. Depending on whether your club is a newly formed club and in good standing, one that has been running for a few years or even decades, the program provides clubs with a series of goals to achieve. Reaching these goals earns your club points.
To have a better understanding of the Distinguished Club Program, visit:
As the points gather, your club has the chance to be officially recognised as a Distinguished, Select Distinguished or even a President’s Distinguished club.
HOWEVER, I would like to mention that there is a perception that getting DCP points just admin and bureaucracy and all just for brownie points and ribbons. That is not the case. Beyond that, both individual members and the club at large benefits from obtaining DCP points: Individual members are challenged to take on leadership roles and to complete speaking projects, whilst the club is challenged to maintain high standards at all times throughout the entire Toastmasters year. All of these components combined, contribute to an excellent club experience.
So, how does your club become a Distinguished (or even Select or President’s Distinguished) club within the world of Toastmasters?
Let’s look at one example – The President’s Distinguished club.
In order to qualify as a President’s Distinguished club, your club must obtain nine out of the 10 goals. The completion of each goal provides your club with Distinguished Club Program (DCP) points.
To track how well you are doing as a club, visit Dashboards, the online resource for reviewing club progress during the year:
Regularly monitor Dashboards to see how well your club is progressing.
Your club can obtain DCP points through the fulfilment of educational goals, membership goals, training goals and administration goals.
To obtain educational goals, work alongside your Vice President of Education. Bear in mind that you are paving the way for the club to receive awards years down the line. For this reason a certain degree of foresight and planning is necessary. Take this into consideration when supporting your individual club members fulfilling their educational goals. With the introduction of Pathways earlier this year, carefully plan and work alongside your members on how they can effectively complete their Pathways projects, whether it involves some projects being completed outside of meeting time and at meetings held by other clubs.
Membership goals are obtained when a certain number of new members join your club. This might be slightly easier for those clubs located in densely populated places within our District. If you are a fairly new club, a club that is located in non-London areas of our District or one that has been growing, perhaps you can engage in a reach out/marketing campaign to help increase your club membership. By working alongside your VP Membership and VP Public Relations, you can help to reach out to local businesses, colleges, universities and other suitable places to help promote the benefit of joining Toastmasters and the benefits of becoming members of your club.
To complete training goals, make sure that (eligible) members of your leadership team attend the two periods of club officer training taking place during the Toastmasters year. For reasons including networking and meeting other members of the Toastmasters community, it is also vital that your leadership team members attend so that the club can obtain one very easy training DCP point. I’d like to stress that in addition to securing DCP points, attending club officer trainings are great for learning and for networking with other Toastmasters.
Lastly, administration goals can be easily completed by submitting membership renewal dues on time (work alongside your club treasurer to make sure this is communicated to club members and that everyone pays on time). The last requirement for the administration goal (club officer list on time) is a task usually completed by the outgoing President when they submit the names of the incoming leadership team members on the Toastmasters International website.
Throughout your entire year in office, engage with your team members and each member of your club, instilling ownership of their educational journey and reminding them how their progression contributes towards the success of your club.
Celebrate when a club member completes a certain speaking goal. Celebrate when a club member successfully reaches a leadership goal. Now, it might seem a little odd to prance around and shout for joy when club dues are paid on time and your team members attend COTs, but do take the time to recognise and appreciate their efforts for having done so. This can include making announcements in meetings, presenting ribbons and certificates to those members, posting about your club successes on social media and more.
Preparing for the years to come
At the end of your year, one of your last tasks when will involve submitting the names of those members who will be serving on your club leadership team 2019 – 2020.
Once your new leadership team has been announced at the end of your year, visit the Toastmasters International website and log in. Visit ‘Leadership Central’, followed by ‘Club Central’ and submit the names of the incoming leadership team. Doing so will provide your club with half an Administration DCP point for the coming year (2019 – 2020).
Also during your year, work alongside your various leadership team members to make sure that in the following years, the club has been prepared to obtain a DCP points in time to come. This requires some foresight, forward planning and is predominantly related to the educational goals part of DCP.
For this reason, work alongside your current Vice President of Education to plan for the future of your club.
All going to plan
With ample planning, engagement with your team and club members and execution, you should have a healthy number of points at the end of the year. After your year has passed and if you have met one of the distinguished levels, Toastmasters International will recognise your club’s success and will send you a pretty ribbon to put on display!
Above all, remember that despite goals being met and points being obtained, the real story behind DCP points is one of your club members working hard together to create the best club experience possible. When you work towards completing these goals, you are effectively working towards the betterment of your club.
And as that happens…celebrate!
3 point Summary:
- Regularly monitor your club’s progress on dashboards
- Install a sense of ownership in each of your members so that they are aware of the club’s goals and what they can do to help achieve them
- At various ‘landmarks’ celebrate your club’s achievements
Have a delightful time working towards getting those DCP points.