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Organization Information

I'm looking for any information regarding the history of the Portland Browns Backers including photos, stories, and how it began.  If you can help, please e-mail me (Bill Wolfe II) at bwolfe90@yahoo.com.

Current Officers

President:  Rick Green (email: greeno545218@yahoo.com)
Vice-President:  Brenda Bokenyi
Treasurer:  Steve Udycz
Member-t-Large: Mark Anderson

Portland Browns Backers Guidelines

Rev. 12/2008

The Portland Browns Backers (PBB) is a non-profit fan club of the Cleveland Browns football team serving the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. The Portland Browns Backers’ primary purpose is to provide the football fan and their family a place to watch the Cleveland Browns football games in greater Portland, Oregon. The Portland Browns Backers may also provide special activities such as raffles and charity drives (section 4), however, these activities are in addition to its primary purpose.

PBB is the Portland, Oregon chapter of Browns Backers Worldwide (BBW), the official fan club of the Cleveland Browns. PBB operates in accordance to the Browns Backers Worldwide Letter of Understanding with Individual Clubs Regarding Rules and Policy (or simply the BBW Guidelines). For a copy of the BBW Guidelines contact BBW on the web at http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/contact/ or by Postal Mail: Browns Backers Worldwide, Cleveland Browns Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.

Section 1: Membership

The only requirement for PBB membership is a passion for Cleveland Browns football. Because PBB is a non-profit organization, membership dues are encouraged but not required. Membership dues are set each season by the club officers (see section 2). Membership dues should help cover operating expenses incurred by the club during the season. The PBB operating budget is described in section 6.

An individual who pays the annual membership dues is called a “Paid Member” and may receive additional club benefits. The elected officers (section 2) decide what benefits are included in a membership. Before providing a particular benefit to its paid members, the officers are encouraged to seek input from its members and to carefully consider the time and monetary costs needed to provide the benefit. Below is a list of possible benefits provided by a paid membership:

  • Membership card
  • Single and Family level memberships
  • Discounts at team/fan shops
  • Newsletter
  • Half Time Score Contest (see section 4)
  • Free Half Time Raffle Ticket (see section 4)
  • Club updates by telephone, US and/or Electronic mail
  • Club merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc.
  • Complimentary Buffet (served last game of the season)

The above items have been offered to paid members by one or more PBB administrations over the years. Each item has a certain cost that should be considered before offering it to the paid membership.

PBB suggests that each paid member receive a card that identifies him or her as a paid member for the current season. Some PBB administrations solicited a printer/copy center to produce a membership card for a fee. Others purchased business card stock (e.g., Avery 8371) and printed the cards themselves with a personal computer (PC) running Microsoft Word (MS Word). In 2004, the PBB administration elected to use a free membership card provided by BBW. The 2004 administration provided a validation sticker (e.g., small round orange sticker – Avery 05471) for the BBW membership card because the card lacks a “season date”. The sticker, printed with a PC running MS Word, read “PBB Member 2004-2005”. The sticker could easily be removed and replaced with a new sticker. This allows the card to be reused in subsequent seasons.

Some PBB administrations elected to offer two types of paid membership: A single or individual membership and a family membership. A single PBB membership extends the benefits of PBB paid membership to one individual. A PBB family membership extends the benefits of PBB paid membership to an entire family; where family is defined as “a group consisting of parents and their children”. In 2004, the single membership was $10 and the family membership was $15.

The BBW membership card provides the cardholder with a discount (10% as of this writing) at Cleveland Browns team shops. PBB paid members have also enjoyed discounts at Portland area sport fan shops (e.g., “Just Sports”) when they show their membership card. The club officers are encouraged to seek out retailers that may offer discounts to its paid members. The cost for this benefit is the amount of time spent seeking out retailers that may offer the club discounts.

The newsletter has a time and monetary expense associated with it. The monetary expense includes the cost for duplication and postage. One PBB administration decided to cut these costs by sending their newsletter through electronic mail. The newsletter’s frequency (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.) has a cost in terms of the amount of time spent producing it.

The Half Time Score Contest is one activity that PBB usually sponsors before the kick off of each game. Participants of this contest attempt to guess the half time total points scored by each team (see section 4 for a full description). The winner receives a $10 gift certificate to The Blitz.

During half time, PBB usually sponsors a Half Time Prize Raffle. Tickets sold during the first half are raffled for Browns merchandise (see section 4 for a full description of the half time raffle). Starting in 2004, PBB offered each paid membership one free half time raffle ticket as a thank you for supporting the club. The benefit encouraged paid membership as well as ticket sales. In 2004, most paid members bought tickets in addition to claiming their free ticket. Not every member claimed his or her free ticket each week. Members do not accrue free tickets. If they miss a game, they forfeit their free ticket for that game.

When someone signs up as a member, they usually provide PBB with their contact information. This allows PBB to contact them via telephone, electronic mail, or postal mail about club related issues. This benefit is vital when game starting times change. The officers can contact those on the club roster personally. The cost for this benefit is the amount of time and, if applicable, postage required to contact the membership.

Some PBB administrations have offered its members with club related merchandise (e.g., t-shirts, mugs, hats, etc.). In 2000, PBB opened an electronic storefront on the Internet that sells club merchandise at http://www.cafepress.com/pdxbrowns. All items are priced at cost, so everyone is receiving the best deal possible for a particular item. The storefront is hosted for free by www.cafepres.com. Cafepress also takes care of all the order taking, production, and shipment of the items. Therefore, the storefront requires minimal time to operate.

As a thank you to its members, many PBB administrations have offered a complimentary buffet on the last game of the season. The complimentary buffet typically works this way: Officers issue a buffet ticket to each paid member. The buffet ticket should probably be a different color or style from that used by the raffle tickets. Members exchange the ticket for access to the buffet. After the game, PBB pays the host venue for the amount of buffets redeemed by its paid members. The cost of this benefit depends on the number of paid members and the cost of the buffet at the host venue.

Section 2: Officers

The BBW Guidelines require that PBB carry at least two officers: a president and a treasurer. PBB suggests that the president and treasurer not be related in any way other than as fans of the Cleveland Browns. Other officer positions that may be filled include vice president, secretary, and member-at-large. PBB requires that individuals occupying an officer position do not get paid for their services. The PBB officer positions are defined below:

President

BBW and the club’s meeting location are two entities that need a single point of contact with the club. The president serves as this single point of contact. Before the start of the season, the president must find a meeting location for the club.  The meeting location should be somewhere in greater Portland, Oregon that has access to the televised Browns games each week. In deciding on a location, the president may also want to inquire about the availability of a buffet and whether or not minors (individuals under the legal drinking age) are permitted. PBB encourages the president to seek out a location where minors are permitted in order to satisfy the family aspect of the club.

The president also helps ensure that the club operates in accordance to the BBW Guidelines. Whenever a club elects a new president, they need to register their contact information with BBW. The president must contact BBW and obtain a copy of the current BBW Guidelines and a BBW Chapter Registration Form. They must complete the BBW Chapter Registration Form and mail it back to BBW before the start of the season. Any correspondence between the club and BBW goes through the president.

The president may wish to appoint club members to various committees. An example of a committee is the Web Committee. The Web Committee operates the club’s website (http://portlandbb.tripod.com/). Another example committee is the Merchandise Committee. The Merchandise Committee operates the PBB Electronic Store (http://www.cafepress.com/pdxbrowns).  The president may also want to appoint individuals in charge of raffles and/or charity drives (section 4).

BBW also requires that the chapter keep the club’s roster, located on the BBW website, up to date. The president may delegate this task to another officer (e.g., the secretary) or a committee (e.g., the web committee).

Vice President

The Vice President assists the President in their tasks. They should be ready and willing to step into the President role if the President is unable to complete their term.

Secretary

The Secretary maintains the club roster, records minutes for club business meetings (section 5), and provides communication within the club. Some examples of communication include electronic mail, newsletters, home mailings, etc. If the club decides to provide a newsletter, the secretary is in charge of forming a Newsletter Committee to produce the newsletter.

Treasurer

The treasurer keeps track of the club’s income and expenses. The treasurer keeps receipts for all club expenses. The treasurer writes checks and keeps the other officers apprised of the club’s treasury and/or bank balance. PBB suggests that the treasurer send out regular treasurer reports to the other officers. These reports may include the club’s bank balance, expenses, income, cash on hand, etc. The treasurer is encouraged to provide his or her successor with these reports as well. PBB also suggests that the treasurer establish a “prudent reserve” or “rainy day fund” as part of its checking account. This is merely a minimum checking account balance that the club will maintain as an emergency fund or as start-up money for the subsequent season.

Whenever a treasurer leaves his or her office, it is their responsibility to arrange for a meeting by the incoming and outgoing officers to transfer the PBB treasury and/or checking account to the new administration. Typically the club’s president, vice president, and treasurer are on the checking account. BBW suggests that two signatures (e.g., president and treasurer) be required on all checks. In practice, some administrations have required two signatures and some have only required one.

Member-at-Large

The Member-at-Large is a member of the Portland Browns Backers who assists the officers with meeting activities such as selling raffle tickets, passing out half time prizes, and informing the membership of upcoming events. The Member-at-large also attends and votes at Officer Business Meetings (see section 5).

Section 3: Officer Elections

PBB members elect the officers described in section 2. The elected officers are the PBB trusted servants. They do not govern.  Instead, the officers carry out the club’s primary purpose and any additional club activities described in section 4. Elections are usually held during the last month of the regular season. The officers may hold the elections before a game, after a game, or as a separate business meeting (see section 5). Elections need to be announced to all members at least two weeks in advance to allow interested candidates sufficient notice. Below is the process for voting:

            The club encourages a non-partial third party to administer the vote. This could be a trusted member or past club officer who is not currently seeking election.

  1. Each member votes once per office and needs to be physically present to vote. All members, including officers and candidates, may vote. Voting is done by a show of hands. If the vote is too close to call go to step 2. If a candidate has a majority of the vote, they win. Otherwise go to step 2.
  2. Another vote is done using a paper ballot. All members write down their choice on a piece of paper. If no candidate has a majority, go to step 3.
  3. Any candidate in step 2 that did not at least have a tie vote is no longer considered for election. The remaining candidate names are written down on separate slips of paper and thrown into a hat. A third party draws a name from the hat. The name drawn is the winner.

The term for each elected office is approximately one NFL season starting on the first day of the NFL draft. The rotation of club officers takes place between the NFL Pro Bowl and the NFL draft. During this time, the club roster is updated, the PBB treasury and/or checking account gets transferred from the outgoing administration to the incoming administration, and the incoming officers update their contact information with BBW.

Section 4: Raffles, Contests, and Other Activities

PBB may offer a variety of activities in addition to its primary purpose. The club officers decide the activities offered in a given season after input from its membership and after careful consideration of the time and monetary costs needed by each activity. Below are some suggestions for club activities:

Half Time Score Contest

 

The half time score contest is a game in which individuals attempt to guess the total points scored by both teams in the first half. Individuals write their name and total point value on an entry form and submit it to a club officer before the start of the game. At half time the officers check the entries and decide on the winner or winners of the contest. The winner receives a $10 gift certificate to The Blitz. Below are the rules for the contest:

The object of the game is to guess the total points scored in the first half by each team. Some PBB administrations elect to offer this contest to paid members only. Below are the conditions for deciding the winner:

1.              The individual who guesses the exact total points scored in the first half wins. If there is a tie (e.g., more than one person correctly guessed the point total), then the names associated with the tied entries are drawn from a hat. The first name drawn wins the gift certificate. 

 

2.                                          If all entries have total points that are less than the actual total points scored, then the person with the highest point total entry wins. In the event that there is a tie for the highest point total, then the names of the individuals with the highest point total are drawn from a hat. The first name drawn wins the gift certificate.

 

3.                                          If only some of the entries have fewer points than the actual point total, then these entries are no longer in the running to win. For all other entries, the individual who is closest to the actual score wins. In the event that there is a tie, the names associated with the tied entries are drawn from a hat. The first name drawn wins the gift certificate.

Below are some examples:

Rule: 1

Half Time Score: Browns 17 Steelers 7 = 24 total points

Entries: Mark guessed 13, Joyce guessed 24, and Rick guessed 35.

Winner: Joyce wins 2 pitchers.

Rule: 2

Half Time Score: Browns 21 Bengals 14 = 35 total points

Entries: Mark guessed 17, Joyce guessed 21, and Rick guessed 31.

Winner: Rick wins 2 pitchers.

Rule: 3

Half Time Score: Browns 13 Ravens 3 = 16 total points

Entries: Mark guessed 15, Joyce guessed 20, and Rick guessed 18.

Winner: Mark’s guess is lower than the actual score, so his entry is no longer under consideration. Out of the remaining entries, Rick’s guess is closest to the actual point total. Rick wins 2 pitchers.

Rule: 1

Half Time Score: Browns 21 Eagles 7 = 28 total points

Entries: Mark guessed 28, Joyce guessed 28, and Rick guessed 28

Winner: After throwing the tied entries into a hat, Joyce’s entry was drawn followed by Mark’s. Joyce wins 2 pitchers and Mark wins 1 pitcher.

 

Halftime Raffle

PBB may offer a halftime raffle of Cleveland Browns merchandise. The types of merchandise may include Browns t-shirts, hats, jerseys, sweatshirts, mugs, calendars, football cards, bobble head dolls, etc. The officers are encouraged to form a Raffle Committee in charge of purchasing supplies (e.g., raffle tickets, a raffling container, etc.) and items to raffle for each game. Money for the raffle comes from money raised by the previous week’s raffle. The officers may wish to seed the raffle with money from PBB’s treasury for the first game of the season. Afterwards, the raffle can support itself through the rest of the season.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at any office supply store. PBB encourages the officers to use a double ticket for the raffle. Each half of the ticket has the same number on it. One half goes to the participant and the other half goes into the raffle barrel. 

Raffle items may be purchased at area sports apparel stores and on the Internet. The Internet probably has the best selection of Browns raffle items. If a member is traveling back to Cleveland, then they may be able to purchase some Browns items as well. Raffle Committee members (or officers) are encouraged to seek out past Raffle Committee members (or officers) for suggestions on places to buy raffle items.

The officers decide on the price per raffle ticket at the start of each season. As of this writing, raffle tickets are sold at $1.00 each, 7 tickets for $5.00, 15 tickets for $10.00. Moreover, the 2004 administration offered one free raffle ticket per PBB membership cardholder per week as a thank you for supporting the club (see section 1).

The Raffle Committee (or officers) sell the raffle tickets during the first half of the game. Everyone present may purchase raffle tickets. At half time, a Raffle Committee member (or officer) shows the club a raffle item and another draws a ticket out of the barrel. A Raffle Committee member (or officer) calls out the winning number. If someone has a ticket with the same number on it, they win that item. If a number goes unclaimed, then another ticket is drawn. The winner needs to be present to win.

50/50 Cash Raffle

 

PBB may offer a 50/50 cash raffle. The purpose of this raffle is to help raise money for the club. Everyone present may purchase a raffle ticket. Cash raised by this raffle goes into a pot. As with the Halftime Raffle, the officers are encouraged to form a Raffle Committee to run the 50/50 raffle.

At the end of the third quarter, a Raffle Committee member (or officer) draws a ticket from the barrel. A Raffle Committee member (or officer) calls out the number on the ticket. The person with a ticket that contains the called out number wins. The winner splits the pot with the club. 50% of the raised money goes to the winner and 50% goes to the club. If no one has the winning ticket, then another ticket is drawn until someone wins.

Tickets are generally sold during the third quarter of the game. As of this writing, tickets are sold at $1.00 each, 7 tickets for $5.00, 15 tickets for $10.00. PBB encourages the Raffle Committee (or officers) to use a double ticket, where each half has the same number. The Raffle Committee (or officers) may also want to use a ticket with a color different from the halftime raffle tickets.

Charity Drives

 

Since forming in 1988, PBB has held regular charity drives. PBB hosted food drives for the Oregon Food Bank during Thanksgiving, collected toys for tots in December and raised $500 for the Salvation Army when Mel Renfro (Dallas Cowboys HoF CB 1964-1977) attended a PBB charity drive and signed photos.

Because the Cleveland Dawg Pound is the icon for the Browns’ football fan, PBB has always had an interest in helping charities that help our canine friends. Over the years PBB members have collected nearly a ton of dog food for area dog shelters.

In continuing with the dog tradition, PBB raised $557 for Guide Dogs for the Blind in 2001. The PBB membership raised the money through a special charity raffle. Raffled items included autographed photographs by Browns greats Otto Graham, Leroy Kelly, Kevin Mack, and pro-bowler Jamir Miller. A Jim Brown photograph and a Jim Brown autograph were also raffled. The grand prize was an autographed football donated by the Cleveland Browns. PBB can request donations of autographed items from the Cleveland Browns once per year as of this writing. Contact BBW for more information on requesting autographed items from the Cleveland Browns.

In 2004, BBW hosted a charity drive for the Cleveland Browns Foundation during the season’s first Browns/Steelers game. PBB donated its half time raffle ticket sales, in the amount of $160, to the cause. As a thank you, BBW provided PBB with some raffle items.

Guest Appearances

 

As a chapter of BBW, PBB has the opportunity to host guest appearances by staff and players of the Cleveland Browns. During the season, current staff and players will more than likely not be available. However, BBW can put PBB into contact with any Cleveland Browns alumni that may be available for a guest appearance. Contact BBW for more information on arranging a guest appearance by a Cleveland Brown.

Drafts and Special Games

Some PBB administrations have hosted events during the draft, preseason games and the Super Bowl.

Trips

 

Some PBB administrations have hosted trips to live Browns football games (e.g., Browns Vs. Seahawks in Seattle). In 2003, the PBB administration hosted a road trip to Seattle to watch the Browns play the Seahawks. PBB sold a complete package to its members including a game ticket, transportation to and from Seattle, and a boxed lunch.

BBW Sponsored Events

Each year BBW organizes special events for Browns Backers. Consult BBW for more information.

Section 5: Meetings

There are two main types of meetings: A Game Meeting and a Business Meeting. A Game Meeting occurs each time the Cleveland Browns play a regular season or playoff football game. A Game Meeting may also occur on draft day, during a preseason game, or any other game that may draw interest by Browns fans (e.g., The Super Bowl). All members meet in a common location to watch the game. PBB may also host one or more activities mentioned in section 4 during the Game Meeting.

There are two types of business meetings in PBB: Officer Business Meetings and Group Business Meetings. In Officer Business Meetings, only the club officers vote. In Group Business Meetings, all members participate, but only non-officer members vote. The club secretary will record minutes from all business meetings and make them available to all members.

The officers make the club’s urgent and administrative decisions in Officer Business Meetings. Some administrative decisions may include finding a club meeting location, setting the price of membership dues, organizing club activities, etc. One example of urgent business occurred when a meeting location could not get one of the games on their satellite feed. So, the officers at the time decided to move the meeting to a different location for that game only.

When the officers require the input from its membership, they will ask that all members attend a Group Business Meeting. Group Business Meetings may be held before/after a game or on a separate day. PBB suggests that officers inform its members about Group Business Meetings at least one week in advance.

Motions in business meetings should be decided by a vote. Below are the guidelines for voting:

  1. If the motion is made during an Officer Business Meeting, the officers should decide by a simple majority vote if the motion is urgent and/or administrative. If the officers decide that the motion is urgent and/or administrative, then the officers will vote on the motion. Otherwise, the motion is tabled and decided by all non-officer members in a Group Business Meeting.
  2. The motion is read to the voting party. The secretary is encouraged to provide hard copies of the motion to all voters.
  3. After the motion is read, voters may openly discuss the motion. Anyone who wishes to comment on the motion may speak one at a time.
  4. After discussing the motion, a vote is done by a show of hands. The majority wins. If the vote is too close to call (or ends up in a tie), then a revote using a paper ballot is conducted. The majority from the paper ballot wins. If after the paper vote, the vote ends up in a tie, then the motion fails.

Section 6: PBB Operating Budget

PBB is a non-profit organization supported entirely by contributions. Contributions may include membership dues described in section 1 and the 50/50 Raffle described in section 4. Money collected should only cover the club’s expenses plus any prudent reserve set by the treasurer. Before the first regular season game, the PBB officers will decide on membership dues, benefits, and the club activities PBB will offer. Previous officer records such as treasurer reports may be consulted in making these decisions. At the end of the year, officers are encouraged to leave some seed money for the following season’s administration. If there is a large surplus of funds at the end of the year, then the officers are encouraged to add additional benefits or activities to the club. Some administrations that had large surpluses at the end of a season used the money to purchase its paid members a complimentary buffet, host a Super Bowl party, or make a donation to charity. 

Section 7: Club Disbandment

The purpose of these guidelines is to help preserve PBB as a place in greater Portland, Oregon where the football fan and their family can watch the Cleveland Browns play football. However, PBB may need to disband if it can no longer meet its primary purpose or fill the position of president and treasurer as described in section 2. Upon disbanding, the PBB treasury should be donated to a charitable organization recognized as such by the United States of America and not affiliated in any way with a past or present PBB officer/member.