A Family Readiness Group (FRG) is a group of volunteers associated with the command who act as a resource and support for the families and friends of the command’s sailors. FRGs are well explained in this blog post. For those who are hoping to increase their responsibility within a FRG or have been asked to fill a FRG Board member position here are a few tips.
Keep Open Communication
It is important for an FRG Board to keep open communication with one another, the command support team, as well as the FRG members. Be sure to agree upon the best forms of communication be that texting, email, social media, phone calls or a combination. With so many forms of communication, it is best to discuss what works best for each person and determine what is best for the group. It is encouraged to utilize both email and social media to communicate with FRG members, as there is a growing number of people who do not check social media regularly.
Keep an Open Mind
We’ve all heard the negative reputation of FRGs and the drama that inevitably ensues. Whether you’re on the board or not, keep an open mind when a new team takes over. As submarine spouses and significant others, our lives can be very stressful. We are constantly carrying the stress and weight of managing our households and families and that can look different for everyone. The best thing we can do is keep an open mind and be friendly, warm and courteous to each other. At the end of the day we’re trying to achieve a common goal, so keep an open mind.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
When embarking on your first fundraiser, Homecoming, or even meeting, be sure to ask for advice from other established FRG Board members. Most board members past or present are happy to share what has been successful or unsuccessful. Take lessons from previous projects and learn as you go. Consider sending a survey to all of your members, so you can learn everyone’s interests, hobbies and preferred communication channels. The survey results can help inform your FRG goals, what kind fo events you want to host (or don’t host) and how you operate as a team.
There are so many rules and regulations to be able to operate a FRG. There is a training provided for board members, either an online or in-person. Some nuisances of the regulations are unclear until you begin to implement them. To ensure your goal is achieved, keep asking questions until you believe you fully comprehend all aspects of the process. For example, fundraising inside a building on base requires quite a bit of paperwork, however there is often a liaison for groups to inquire for questions and confirm the paperwork has been filled out properly.
Start Project Planning Early
As we all know too well, submarine schedules change unexpectedly. For this reason it is always best to begin planning as early as possible. This includes making inquires regarding locations, filing any appropriate paperwork, gathering estimates for pricing , determining logistics, etc. Above all, be sure each member of the board and or committee knows what they are responsible for and when their component needs to be completed by. If you are planning an event or fundraiser that requires command approval or input, try to set up a meeting with the command as early as possible as their schedules tend to be very full.
Utilize Individual Strengths
Each person has skills that will benefit the FRG, have it be organizational, public speaking, planning, budgeting, writing, etc. Be sure to volunteer for aspects of planning or execution that suit your strengths or time constraints. Also if you notice someone else’s strength, help them see it too!
The FRG Board works as a team to be the best resource and support to the friends and families of the commands sailors! Let us know your best tips and tricks for FRG Board members. For more FRG resources, check out these other posts on FRG fundraising, FRG Sunshine Committee, and more.