Frequently Asked Questions about Southern Order of Storytellers Cluster Groups

  1. Why do Cluster Groups meet? To practice telling stories, receive supportive coaching, share ideas, resources, and information about upcoming storytelling events, and for the opportunity to socialize with others to build a stronger community of story lovers.
  2. Where do Cluster Groups meet? Meeting locations differ according to Cluster Group size, needs, and geographic location. Some suggestions for meeting locations are public libraries, restaurants, retirement communities, or homes.
  3. How often should a Cluster Group meet? Some Cluster Groups meet as frequently as every month, others may meet no more than four times a year.
  4. How long should a Cluster Group meeting last? Ideally, meetings should last from one to two hours.
  5. How large are Cluster Groups? Cluster Groups vary in size, depending on location and needs of the participants. Some are as small as three and others as large as 25.
  6. Why are attendees referred to as participants of a Cluster Group rather than members? Cluster Group meetings are open to all story lovers and do not require membership or dues.
  7. Must Cluster Group participants be members of the Southern Order of Storytellers (SOS)? No, only the Cluster Group Leader must be a member of SOS.
  8. Who leads a Cluster Group? The Cluster Group Leader(s) must be a current/dues-paid SOS member who has received training from the SOS Board’s Cluster Group Coordinator(s).
  9. What is the role of a Cluster Group Leader? A Cluster Group Leader is expected to:
      • inform active and potential participants of upcoming meetings and events;
      • seek out meeting facilities are available, adequate and accessible;
      • have SOS applications available at each meeting to encourage new membership;
      • be sure the agenda for each meeting flows smoothly; and
      • that no one participant monopolizes a meeting.
    • A Cluster Group Leader also ensures that:
      • meetings provide a safe environment for each teller by helping the teller be in control of their telling and any  request for feedback. This feedback will always be offered in a positive and supportive manner and will not go beyond what the teller has asked.
    • A Cluster Group Leader will inform the newsletter editor of current Cluster Group News.
  10. What are some ideas for a Cluster Group meeting agenda? Telling stories, supportive coaching, mini-workshops, storytelling games, and sharing information about storytelling, resources and upcoming events.
  11. What are some ideas for publicizing our Cluster Group? SOS newsletter, community newspapers, church newsletters, mailed postcards, email/e-blasts, phone calls, flyers, printed bookmarks, radio community news and by word of mouth.
  12. May a Cluster Group produce a storytelling event? Southern Order of Storytellers’ Cluster Groups are not for the purpose of organizing storytelling festivals or events. A Cluster Group is not a money-making venture/organization and as such may not produce a public, for profit event. A Cluster Group may perform a storytelling concert in exchange for the use of a meeting facility, i.e., public library, retirement community, etc. Neither the Cluster Group nor the facility may charge admission. Because SOS Cluster Groups are not allowed to seek private, non-profit status, those wishing to produce a storytelling event such as TELLABRATION! may do so under the umbrella of SOS or another non-profit organization, such as the local arts council, etc.
  13. May a Cluster Group collect dues? No, but a Cluster Group may accept donations from its participants to cover the cost of refreshments, location fees or incidentals.
  14. What support does the Southern Order of Storytellers give Cluster Groups? SOS keeps Cluster Group Leaders informed of upcoming auditions, workshops, festivals, and storytelling events and opportunities. SOS publishes a newsletter that features a special section on Cluster Group News. A meeting of Cluster Group Leaders (known as the Cluster Group Roundtable) is held annually at the SOS Storytelling Festival, allowing for networking among the Cluster Groups. A member of the SOS Board serves as the Cluster Group Coordinator. Should a Cluster Group incur expenses for workshops, special programs, publicity, and/or postage, the Southern Order of Storytellers will reimburse the group up to $75.00 annually. Cluster Group Leaders may request reimbursement by making a photocopy of and completing the Cluster Group Funding Reimbursement Request form included in this packet. Cluster group requests for reimbursement for a calendar year must be submitted no later than February 28th of the following year.
  15. How will the Southern Order of Storytellers know what a Cluster Group is doing? The Cluster Group Leader will ensure that the SOS newsletter editor is informed of current Cluster Group news.
  16. Who is the contact for questions and information about Cluster Groups? For information and answers to questions about Cluster Groups, call the Cluster Group Coordinator(s).
  17. May I start a new Cluster Group? Yes, if you are a current/dues-paid SOS member and receive training from the SOS Board’s Cluster Group Coordinator(s).
  18. How do I go about starting a new Cluster Group? Please contact the Cluster Group Coordinator(s) for information: Bill Brown (membership@southernorderofstorytellers.org or 678-895-1845)