Maintaining a Solid Chapter Infrastructure – Administration
Chapter administration covers the general operational functions that support a chapter’s work.
When it comes to managing your chapter, the best advice is “think minimal”. As a volunteer whose primary obligations are to your job and your family, the last thing you want is to get bogged down with chapter administration activities.
To avoid getting stuck in details and busy-work, most of which will not contribute to the functionality of your chapter or ensure that projects are launched, regularly ask yourself: “If I don’t do this, can we still get the important things done?” If the answer is yes, whatever it is should probably be dropped from your to-do list, or at least postponed or delegated.
The rest of the chapter’s administrative policies and procedures can best be assembled by answering a series of questions. You will have to answer the following questions yourselves to suit your circumstances, but always feel welcome to ask ASPEN staff or other chapter leaders for advice. A number of administrative functions are also covered in other areas of the chapter website – see references below.
How do we manage…
CE Credit for Chapter Events?
Chapters have the option of partnering with the ASPEN national office to offer continuing education (CE) credit to dietitians, nurses, pharmacists and physicians for chapter events. ASPEN has created a handbook and a multitude of other resources and sample forms to assist the chapter through this detailed process.
In general, these will be handled through ASPEN’s Association Management System (AMS). Because all chapter members must first be members of the national organization, ASPEN will collect the membership dues and maintain a current chapter roster. National always has the most current information unless a chapter has accepted membership applications without forwarding them to the office; chapters are required to send all new members’ information to the national office immediately. ASPEN’s AMS can also handle registrations and payments for your local events. Please contact the membership team at 800.727.4567 for assistance.
- Decide who in your chapter will have access to the membership roster (it is always good to have two people in this capacity in order to share the workload and act as backup). Make sure the names of these individuals are in the list of “roles” in the chapter portal.
- Create a system for ensuring that your copy of the roster is kept current (general chapter data, membership list, current chapter officer list); you can ask ASPEN for an updated roster at any time. Note, though, that ASPEN’s roster is only as good as the information you provide to national; if you accept membership applications and do not forward them to the ASPEN office, your chapter roster will not reflect those individuals’ names because they will not be recognized as members on either the national or chapter level.
Your chapter’s leadership structure should allow you to delegate tasks and responsibilities to the other leaders. The most important record-keeping will be done by the Treasurer or whoever is responsible for the finances in your chapter. Keep accurate and timely records detailing money received and paid, and make sure the spreadsheets are reviewed and shared by all of the chapter leaders. See Financial Management – Accounting.
Other office functions may include answering emails/calls from current and potential chapter members, printing materials for a chapter event, writing promotional copy for an upcoming event, and planning/coordinating event logistics. Delegate responsibilities so everyone on the chapter leadership team is helping to efficiently run your virtual office. Check the Tools & Resources list for a sampling of available low-cost/free tools and resources chapters could use to address a number of the operational tasks.
- E-communications and mailing lists
- Website development and updating
- Press releases and general outreach
- Social media
- See Marketing and Communications
Collaborative spaces where the chapter can manage projects
- ASPEN’s online community and virtual networking space, ASPENet on LinkedIn
- Online communities (there are a host of options such as private Facebook groups, Groupsite.com, Yahoo Groups, and Google Groups)
- Google Docs
- See the Tools & Resources list
- Review the information found in Financial Management – Funding. That document should provide enough guidance to get you started.
- If your chapter is interested in pursuing sponsorship (for direct funding, in-kind, or both) and you need additional information or assistance, please contact ASPEN’s Director of Strategic Partnerships & Conferences 301.587.6315.
- Make sure someone in the chapter stays in touch with sponsors to keep them happy and interested. Fulfill obligations and make sure the agreement is followed on both sides.
General administration and legal requirements
- The Chapter President and Treasurer must be responsible for the annual paperwork and filings
- Develop a system for monitoring all of the chapter’s financial information. Regular monitoring will make the annual paperwork and filings easier to manage.
- Insurance: The chapter may wish to or be required to carry Directors & Officers Liability insurance, event insurance, etc.
- Provide backups of important records and documents to ASPEN
- See Financial Management – Accounting and Start a Chapter.
- ASPENet (on LinkedIn)
- Chapter website
- Telephone (VOIP, Skype, mobile)
- Email, text messaging
- Postal mail
- See the Tools & Resources list
Filing and storage
You don’t want to rely on one person to keep all of the chapter’s important documents and correspondence on his/her personal computer. Determine how and where these documents will be saved. For example, consider sharing materials through Google Docs or Dropbox and only provide access to the other chapter leaders. Remember to save copies of these documents to your library in ASPENet.
Click here for an annual checklist of activities.
Tools & Resources
The following represent a sampling of available tools and resources chapters could use to address a number of the operational tasks. Note: there are always new tools being created and current tools being phased out, so this list can ever be completely up-to-date. If you find new tools or want to share your experience with any of these, please tell us!