The idea of this type of meeting is to get member participation but it also provides a challenge if your society wants to encourage inventiveness and interest.
- Most often societies chose one letter of the alphabet but some chose multiple letters or in some cases a number or two. Members are asked to look through their material for items that are linked to the chosen character or characters.
- The simplest outcomes include items which are from a country or countries or the subject depicted starts with one of the chosen letters (e.g the letter ‘A’ is depicted by items of Austria, Australia, Anguilla, etc or depict an antelope, ape, automobile, etc.).
- More adventurous outcomes can arise where multiple letters are selected. For example, a recent alphabet night at one society, which also coincided with the society’s annual general meeting, chose the letters A, G and M. This led to two fascinating displays – one Advertising Greatly Misaligned (a display of New Zealand advertising stamps where the advertisements were badly off centre) and ‘mAGMa’ (a display on volcanoes).
- Why not consider numbers – an example could be to use the society box number. This may lead to displays of stamps bearing SG or Scott catalogue numbers, postmarks or covers with postal codes, etc.
- Members should be encouraged to talk about their display. The time available for presenting may need to be limited. It is important to ensure everyone who has made the effort to bring material has the opportunity to do so otherwise it may deter them from making the effort in future.
- You could consider awarding prizes for the best item, the most unusual, the most creative or inventive, the best talk, etc. If you run a club points system ensure points are gained for the widest possible categories of entry. Whichever options you choose make sure members are aware of the criteria and you and your members will be surprised at the inventiveness that will be shown.