Below are some common questions we’ve been asked over the years. Hopefully these help to give you a better idea of what we are all about at INC Madrid. Also take a look at our About page for more information.
Is English the official language of the club?
INC Madrid lives up to its name, with over 40 nationalities represented in its membership. We are truly an international organization and this is one of the club’s star attractions. Polyglot would be another accurate description of INC as our members speak many languages. English has been the lingua franca of the club since it was founded more than 25 years ago. English is the common language spoken at General Meetings and club events and used to conduct club business, but of course, when members are enjoying their coffee and a chat with friends, you may think you dropped in on a meeting at the United Nations as many languages will be heard, in addition to the universal language of laughter.
How is INC different from other clubs in Madrid?
From a historical perspective, the club was started by three American women based on models of other Newcomers’ clubs that they had belonged to in other countries. The membership first grew from the American School community in Aravaca but spread quickly to include members from the other international schools in Madrid as well as the embassies. We were the first openly international club in the area, as it was often the practice among clubs to require members of another nationality to be sponsored or recommended by a current club member in order for them to be eligible to join. Not the case with the INC.
Why don’t we do charitable work?
From the beginning of the club right up until the present day, volunteers from any nationality are welcome to serve on the board, as area reps and in any other organizational capacity since we are a club based on volunteerism. One main difference between International Newcomers and the American Womens Club or British Ladies Association is the fact that they are both charitable organizations spending time and resources on fund-raising. They also fall under a different tax identification category, which involves audits and other bookkeeping differences. Under the provisions of our charter as a non-profit organization in Spain, we are not permitted to do any charity work. The dues we collect are used directly to benefit our members.
It was the choice of the founders of INC to provide a social and support group for international women passing through Madrid as well as a way for Spanish women and permanent expats to enjoy an international circle of friends while sharing their knowledge of life in Spain with others.
Why doesn’t INC have more events in the evenings?
INC organizes a lot of events. Most of them take place during the day since many members have families and children. It is easier for people to attend activities that are scheduled when children are in school. At the moment, our Wine & Tapas evenings are our only regularly scheduled evening activity. However, individual areas have discussed the need for evening events at Area Coffees. It seems that these events are more convenient and better attended when they are kept within a particular INC area so members can stay closer to their homes instead of traveling into Madrid for a club gathering. If you are interested in participating in more evening events, please bring this up at your Area Coffees or drop a line to our Hospitality Director. If you have an idea for an event that you would be willing to organize, please let a Board member know.
What is the purpose of INC Area Coffee mornings?
Area Coffees provide a more intimate and less structured setting for members to get to know each other. Ideally, Area Coffees should be organized around the needs and wishes of the members. Often, members new to Madrid are reluctant to visit an exhibition alone and many don’t even know about the great things going on in their neighborhood.
Therefore, if the ladies in your area enjoy galleries and museums, it can be fun to occasionally plan outings in place of an actual coffee morning. (However, it is nice to also meet before for coffee or after, for a pre-lunch drink.) Sometimes a theme can be fun, and there have been coffees featuring a book exchange, demonstration or guest speaker.
On the other hand, there are members who just enjoy meeting in the comfort of someone’s home to have their coffee and chat away from the noise of a café. Straightforward coffee-mornings are particularly useful at the beginning of the INC year in September & October. Sometimes areas decide to switch between coffees in someone’s home and scheduling others in cafés. This option allows everyone to take a break from kitchen & hostess duties and may be especially welcome during busy times of the year, such as December when we are all overrun with extra chores and parties. It has been policy that Area Coffees are open to all members and this has worked well.
Sometimes people are interested in attending a particular event organized by another area. Or another coffee date might be more convenient or perhaps you have friends in another area and would like to join them for a change. The strength of INC is that it is an organization capable of responding to the changing and diverse needs of its members as new people to Madrid ebb and flow.
Why do we have to contribute toward the cost of a General Meeting?
We aim to make General Meetings free for all members, however our budget is very restricted, which also restricts the sort of activities we can offer and the venues we can rent. We want our General Meetings to be interesting, fun, and attractive, but they also have to be affordable. Our Board devotes many hours and a lot of energy searching out places to hold General Meetings and sometimes we find something that we think our members would really enjoy but which we can’t really afford. So we decide to offer it anyway, pay what we can as a Club, and ask for a contribution to cover the rest. We try to do this only once in a year and it usually is for a lunch or similar event.