Chapter President Handbook
As a member of your chapter, you have been active in its local committee affairs and you have served on the Chapter Executive Board. Now you are assuming the chapter leadership and your horizon extends beyond the limits of your community, your area, and your region, to the total Right of Way Association. In the beginning of our organization, its purpose was primarily directed to serve a small constituency confined to a restricted geographical area. But in April 1964, when Frank Balfour, joined by others, formally incorporated the American Right of Way Association, the horizons of the organization expanded. Today the Association has grown to seventy-six chapters spanning Canada and the United States. The Association is truly international in scope and character.
Now you are the leader of one of these chapters, and its professional future rests squarely in your hands. How the chapter fares over the next few years is up to you.
One of your major jobs as president is to motivate as many good people as possible to share the work of the chapter. Some of the people you will work with may be unknown quantities as far as doing jobs is concerned. Remember, however, that it is the "easy way out" to become a one-person show. Your greatest challenge will be to get everybody in your chapter performing. Incorporate the following characteristics into your leadership:
- Recognize and Acknowledge
- Be Positive
- Build Vision
The Chapter Executive Board should make formal business matters flow more easily. However, do not alienate the regular members by stripping the membership of both their responsibilities and rights of approval. An informed member is more likely to be a participating and contributing one.
Your final duty as president is also one of your most important: the duty to pass your authority along to your successor. You can help give the most continuity to your chapter operations by giving more than the "gavel" and a "pat on the back" to your successors. You have the obligation to frankly and candidly discuss with the nominating committee, those members who might best perform in key assignments.
The Chapter's Purpose and Structure
The basic objectives for all Association chapters are as defined in the Articles of Incorporation: "… to unite the efforts of all right of way practitioners toward a betterment of the conditions of the individual; to promote high standards and cooperative spirit among its members; to assist in creating a harmonious and friendly feeling between members and their respective employers; to engender in its members attributes which elevate the profession in which they are engaged and to provide mutual protection and advancement for the members...".
This general purpose is made more specific in the Association's Code of Ethics which recognized the responsibility of our profession to the peoples and business the responsibility of our profession to the peoples and business of our countries; encourages and fosters high ethical standards in our profession; and provides a constant guidance and inspiration to every member predicated upon principles of truth, justice and fair treatment.
The basic mission of the chapter is to assure that the professional objectives of the members are fully met in the environment of the local community. The program of the chapter must challenge the chapter members to action, and this task falls to the chapter president.
The President's Responsibilities
The following functions are part of the office of Chapter President:
- As the executive head of the chapter, you are responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling.
- To work with fellow officers and committees, to set the plans for the year's activities: technical, educational programs, membership growth, publicity, finances, social and other activities, including the Regional Forums.
- To organize the chapter's efforts by implementing the goals and delegating the duties required by the Bylaws and the year's plans.
- To stimulate wide participation among the members in staffing committees and other appointive positions.
- To provide the leadership and judgment to get the best performance from all officers and committees.
- To preside at all meetings of the chapter and it's Executive Board.
- To appoint all standing committee chairperson and such special committees as may be necessary.
- To act as signatory, with the Treasurer, for checks drawn against chapter funds.
- To keep the International Headquarters and the International Executive Committee informed of the chapter's activities by providing your Region Chair with periodic reports.
- To represent the chapter as a member of your Region Forum, and to report back to the chapter on regional activities.
- To transmit to the Region Chair a written annual report of the chapter's activities by May 1st each year. This report should be in the form of a narrative review of principal chapter activities and accomplishments.
How To Start Your Term
The effective president knows where they are going and why. They size up the organization, its program of work, its officers, meetings, and membership--before taking office.
The first thing you should do before becoming chapter president is review your chapter's bylaws. If you don't have a copy of the bylaws, contact the Member Services Manager at IRWA headquarters for the most recent copy of your bylaws. Some chapters have made changes in their bylaws unilaterally without seeking approval from IRWA.
Technically, those bylaws are not valid. If there is any question as to the version of the bylaws or if your chapter needs to update its bylaws, we suggest you contact IRWA's legal counsel. We suggest that you bring a copy of the current bylaws to every chapter meeting as a resource.
Review the current chapter model bylaws
Second, we would strongly recommend that you read the IRWA bylaws to gain a better understanding of the structure and purpose of the Association. Again, we suggest you bring a printed copy of the IRWA bylaws to every meeting as a resource.
Review the current IRWA Bylaws
Make sure that your officers and committee chairs are reported to IRWA headquarters. While this should be the last thing that the preceding president did before leaving office, it is a good idea to check to see if your current officers and volunteer leaders are showing up on IRWA's website.
Check current chapter leadership rosters
This coming year will be a year of personal and professional growth for you. You will gain much in the area of confidence, interpersonal skills and leadership abilities. Start the year with assertiveness!
- Know where you want to take your chapter.
- Be an impartial presiding officer for your chapter.
- Inspire your co-workers to serve diligently and effectively with you to accomplish your goals and objectives.
- Increase your chapter membership and attendance using marketing tools! This self-assertion must be made in the perspective of your own abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
- Be positive at all of your chapter meetings and functions! Reinforce your members and officers with compliments and encouragement. If a negative issue comes before you, deal with it during executive board meetings, rather than general chapter meetings. Potential members are turned off by a negative attitude.
- Set one major goal for the year and stick to it.
Analyze the Chapter
Take a careful look at what your chapter has accomplished in previous years. Confer with former chapter committee chair and analyze what each chair thinks their committee accomplished (or didn't accomplish). Huddle with the immediate past president and the retiring executive board to get some solid information. Do not assume you know how they feel just because you have served on the executive board yourself, but give them the opportunity to privately express their views to you, on a one-on-one basis.
Get a good estimate from those who know who actually worked on committee projects, and the number of work-hours they expended. If only a few members work at chapter business, one of two things has happened: either the members are not interested, or they simply have not been given the right opportunity to participate. Perhaps all that some of them need is a little extra stimulation.
Consider everything that your chapter has done from two standpoints:
What has been done to increase membership, attendance at meetings, education and professional development opportunities What is the general effect of all chapter programs on the general attitude of the chapter members What barriers exist to expanding participation and how can they be removed
Is the chapter's program being well received by the profession Has the program helped the International Right of Way Association secure its place as a prominent and valued part of the community it intends to serve Do employers support your programs
If the answer to any one of these questions is negative, you need to take another look at this issue. Perhaps something is seriously wrong. Any new project you want the chapter members to consider should pass this test:
Can, and should the chapter undertake it Is it prohibited by the Bylaws or policies of IRWA Can the chapter support the project financially Are the majority of the members committed to getting the job done Is the job too big for a single chapter Does it enhance the chapter's objectives, aims and current goals If you have questions about a new project, do not hesitate to talk it over with your regional or international officers or staff to get the benefit of their experience.
If there is any possible conflict or uncertainty about International Headquarters or Region guidelines, you must clear through the Region Chair or the appropriate International Officer or staff.
If the project involves established Association courses, newly scheduled courses must be approved by the region vice chair prior to being formally scheduled by headquarters.
Marketing Your Chapter
It is vital that the chapter president support members, officers and respective committees in the area of marketing the International Right of Way Association. We need to market IRWA's "products" (courses, memberships, events, website and magazine) as well as its professional designations and certificate programs such as the SR/WA.
The chapter president must seize the opportunity to convince employers and agencies (external customers) and members (internal customers) that the International Right of Way Association offers the best education and services in the profession. We suggest you employ many of the following strategies and tactics:
First, define a realistic service area for your chapter. What is a realistic sphere of influence for your chapter to have Do you have the resources to serve that area
Who do you market to in your service area Here are some sample market segments:
- Consulting firms (engineering, environmental, right of way)
- Real Estate companies
- Special Districts (Sewer, Water, School, Drainage)
- Title Companies
- Federal Agencies
- State Agencies
- Cable Companies
- Power Companies
In developing your marketing plan, remember that key decision makers—those who approve funding for membership and courses—may be unfamiliar with IRWA. There are potential members, members and "stakeholders" who will never be members themselves but will influence others to consider in your marketing plans.
Marketing to our internal customers - our members:
Through the Chapter newsletter:
- Accurate Mailing List
- Frequent Publication
- Expand Mailing List (International Headquarters, International Executive Committee, Other Chapters In Your Region And Other Chapters In The Association)
- Seek Contributing Reporters
Through Right of Way (magazine):
- Submit articles of interest written by chapter members
- Submit photos and stories regarding special events at your chapter
Use of Chapter Roster (The Membership Coordinator at the International Headquarters can help you with Chapter Rosters.)
Through presentation of IRWA Courses
Establish a working Education Committee
- Three-year staggered terms for members to create continuity on the Education Committee
- Conduct quarterly meetings or more frequently as needed
- Consult with region vice chair when compiling the Chapter's Education Plan for the next three years
- Consider establishing a chapter education fund and using income to subsidize chapter activities and tuition fees for local chapter members
Through use of facilitators:
- Use local facilitators if available and hire only the best. Use the IRWA website to locate qualified facilitators to present the course.
- Negotiate facilitator fees and expenses in advance. IRWA headquarters is not involved in the primary hiring of facilitators.
- Familiarize yourself with the current facilitator contracts.
Publicize your classes and events through:
- The International Headquarters website as part of the course formation process
- The Region, through direct mail brochures and email publication
- Your Chapter (By newsletter, individual e-mails to members and non-member participants, at meetings, your telephone tree and on your chapter's own website if available)
Marketing Through Contact Opportunities:
- Meetings (committee, chapter new-member orientation, monthly membership, Executive Board), International and Region
- Seminars (Chapter, Region Forum, International)
- Region Forums
- Other (mini-sessions, free days, golf tournament, special events)
Through Recognition of Members for being:
- Professional of the Year Award (publicize in chapter newsletter, in company newsletter, in local newspaper of honoree)
- International committee members
- Chapter committee chairs
- Officers (in local business papers)
- Certificates of Appreciation (acknowledge those who help)
Through a strong Professional Development program:
- Right of Way Professional Career Path – Generalist (RWA, ARWP, RWP, SR/WA) establish committee with three-year staggered terms, elected by chapter.
- Right of Way Professional Career Path – Specialist (Appraisal Specialist, Environmental Specialist, Negotiation/Acquisition Specialist, Property Management Specialist, Relocation Specialist and Uniform Act Specialist)
- Provide incentives to enter program (target new members, work with Education Committee to meet need of candidates)
- Recognize Right of Way Professional Career Path (Generalist and Specialist) (in newsletter, at meeting, with employer)
Through Employment Enhancement:
- Member Career Services (resumes, counseling, advertising)
- Employer Services (IRWA Career Center on www.irwaonine.org)
How can you market locally
- Publications (Right of Way-purchase subscriptions for local libraries, Chapter Newsletter-expand mailing list to include targeted non-members, Newspapers-publish meetings and seminars [date, times, place, speakers, etc], publish new officers names, Professional journals-advertisements, class schedules)
- Meetings (with employers, bring to seminars, with prospective members, with other organizations)
- Employer Outreach (develop strong relationship with decision-makers at major local employers, schedule classes to meet the educational needs of their employees)
- Bosses breakfast, (establish speakers bureau)
- Employer of Year Award (publish in company newsletter, use testimonials of winner in advertising)
- Committees (new, Employer Relations, other existing and have industry committees target specific groups)
- IRWA Courses (Send three-year plan to agency training officers)
- Affiliate with local college or university (seek course accreditation with state, seek course accreditation with other organizations, credit non-member portion of fees toward membership, incorporate into company and agency training plans, bring courses to employers, contact International Headquarters for assistance)
- IRWA Booth (available from International Headquarters-take it to other seminars and trade shows)
- IRWA membership and education brochures, which may be printed from the IRWA website
Appointing Committee Leadership
A dynamic chapter depends upon the involvement and participation of its members in committee work. Challenge your members by offering them new responsibilities. Make sure that the committee positions and responsibilities rotate; although the transition may be bumpy, the chapter will benefit in the long run by a regular turnover of tasks.
Moving from job to job, members develop broad-based skills. Make sure committee heads know what is expected of them. It is a good idea to give each a list of objectives as well as a written outline of possible committee activities.
It is imperative that you spend time in December (when you are first elected) and define one major task that you would like each committee to accomplish during your term. They may have additional goals, but your task will keep them driving forward. Committee reports should reflect progress on the task you have assigned as well as activity within the International Committee.
- Remember to surround yourself with committee chairs that are positive thinkers, big picture oriented, good listeners and Motivated.
- Identify individuals who independently follow-through on projects assigned.
Be positive when offering a job to a volunteer member. You may need to do some "selling". Be prepared to describe what is involved, and the time commitment. The person retiring from the position can help with this.
One of the most important actions you will take as a leader will be recognizing individuals for their achievements and talents. This recognition should be often, and for small and big successes.
Make it a point to create a line item in your chapter's budget for certificates, awards and recognition. Recognition should become a regular agenda item at chapter meetings.
A suggested award might be "the most valuable team player award", which could be presented monthly. You cannot over-recognize someone; we all love it, and so be sure you recognize the small achievements as well as the big ones. Remember not all members are in "the limelight" or highly visible roles.
Another effective form of recognition is a letter to the volunteer's employer, expressing thanks for the time and effort and complimenting the volunteer on his or her leadership skills.
"The greatest disease of mankind is not listening" - Shakespeare
Be available to your entire chapter! Be available for one-on-one discussions and phone conversations. Let the members do the talking when together. YOU LISTEN. Listen for their strengths and weaknesses. When you listen, do it in a responsive way. If you do not listen actively, you will distance yourself from your members.
Surveying is also a great way to listen to those members who don't show up at the chapter meetings and functions. Finding out why dues-paying members are not participating can often be more valuable and informative than asking questions of your most loyal members. After you do survey, plan on sharing the results with the chapter membership.
The Chapter Executive Board
The Executive Board is the "leadership team" of the chapter. It consists of the elected chapter officers, the immediate past president (usually), and the committee chairs. Check your chapter bylaws to be sure. The president must make it his major responsibility to see that each member of the Executive Board is given every chance to become a solid working member of an effective team.
The Executive Board must meet with established regularity. The Association's rules provide that:
"Each chapter of this Association shall hold regular meetings at least four (4) times each calendar year at intervals of not less than twenty-eight (28) days apart. Such meetings shall be held at such times and places as may be established by the chapter president or the chapter Executive Board. Each chapter secretary shall notify the Region Chair of the dates and places chosen for such meetings at least thirty (30) days in advance of the scheduled meeting."
A truly viable and active chapter Executive Board may meet with greater frequency than this rule provides.
The President and Executive Board are responsible for establishing all chapter committees other than those specified in the chapter bylaws. This is a very important responsibility, for it determines to a large degree, the amount of activity in the chapter and the opportunity afforded individual members to become involved in the work of the chapter.
The Executive Board is the governing body of the chapter. It must be composed of members with judgment, ability, and the desire for the chapter to move in the direction initiated by the president, who in turn is responding to the impetus generated by the chapter's general membership.
The chapter rises and falls on the judgment of its Executive Board. The president is its leader, providing the ideas and projects. The board sets the pattern for the chapter's activity. It is the policy maker. It delberates on ideas the president and committee chairs originate.
Many chapters follow a practice similar to the established procedure of the International Executive Committee. Each committee or board member has group of committees and specific projects for which he is responsible. Thus, if the chapter vice-president is responsible for the activities of certain committees as their "special advisor", an assistant vice-president of those committees should look to that Executive Board member to present their budgets, project requests, and recommendations.
At the same time, the Executive Board member must maintain a sense of objectivity and act as a buffer by saying "no" when necessary to protect the chapter and the association.
The chapter president uses and exercises restraint in using the power at his disposal. The president avoids the appearances of "taking over". His associates--the other elected officers and the committee chairpersons—should get the credit. The president's satisfaction and reward is in knowing that he made it all possible, with the counsel and advice of other leaders, for the committee chairs to be applauded for good work. By the same token, this goes for each board member, who as the advisor to committee chairmen, is acting for the president. When all is said and done, the Executive Board is the "face" of the chapter most seen by the members. It is the "bridge" between the individual member and the leadership of the chapter.
You may also want to familiarize yourself with Robert Rules of Order:
Review Robert Rules of Order online
The Agenda: Always have an agenda—distributed in advance—and stick to it! Study your agenda before the meeting, become familiar with each item you've listed. If possible, show the expected time required for each item. Among the items that you should have on the agenda are:
- Call to Order
- Roll Call - Chapter Officers (This establishes for the record the presence of members, the existence of a quorum, and the presence of visitors, if any.)
- Reading and Approval of Previous Minutes (The minutes are the official record of chapter transactions, and approval by the membership is mandatory.
This is the appropriate spot for members to offer amendments or changes and corrections. Ideally, they will have been circulated prior to the meeting. Make sure it is clear who is taking the minutes of this meeting and when the minutes are expected to be completed)
- Financial Reports (Presented by Chapter Treasurer. Again, ideally the financial reports will have been distributed in advance)
- Unfinished Business (These are agenda items that have been tabled previously or are continuing.)
- New Business
- Review of Communications from Association Headquarters and Officers
- Review of Other Communications
- Announcements (Often, the essence of what is said is missed if these are merely read aloud. If copying facilities are available, a set should be made for each member, as a point of information. Key items can be pointed out and briefly discussed. The official minutes should include these items.)
- Any member with an item for discussion and/or action, which does not appear on the agenda, should speak up at this point and ask for its inclusion.
- Reports of Officers and Committees (Ideally, this should be in writing from the reporter giving a brief review. All officers and committee chairs should be surveyed. If there is "no report", this should be noted in the minutes.
For your own protection (and peace of mind) in running a meeting, follow these simple rules:
- Only one speaker at a time. A particularly lively group may need a firm reminder.
- Make sure each member has a turn to contribute. This may involve a polite but firm "squelch" of a member who seems to be dominating the discussion.
- When an action is decided upon, make sure the record shows what specific individual has the responsibility for carrying it out.
- Your chapter Bylaws should be readily available for guidance. They should spell out rules of procedure.
- Good Meetings Are Not An Accident - The Efficient President Plans In Advance
It is impossible to over-stress the importance of good meetings and the planning that goes into them. In any evaluation of the facets that make an organization great, the president should place good meetings in the forefront. They are the backbone of every good association chapter. They serve as a vehicle that welds individuals into a cohesive unit, capable of working towards common goals and achieving association purposes.
More than any other single factor, poor meetings can snuff out enthusiasm, cause plummeting attendance, and hurt the chapter's overall objectives and reputation.
The Right of Way Association is an organization essentially serving the professional growth of its members through education. Hence, the chapter can often exist without too many persons getting involved in its non-educational oriented business. Many chapters do, in fact, operate almost entirely through the Executive Board and the appointed committees. In some chapters, members are annoyed if they feel they are being pushed into attending meetings other than the "big" education conference.
If this is the case in your chapter, and the officers and committee chairmen are satisfied, then the president will have to live with it, at least in the beginning.
But, if something does need to be done about meetings and the members indicate that they would welcome action, then the president must move decisively. He should not be afraid to make changes simply because he thinks it might reflect on the ability of his predecessor.
Changes should not be considered a slam at the retiring president; the new leader may simply want to do things in a different way.
The Meeting is Over, Now What
As president, you are an ex-officio member of all committees. It may not be possible for you to attend all committee meetings. However, it is important that you are in regular contact with fellow officers and committee chairs. Not only should you be aware of their progress, you should be alerted to potential problems.
Other actions approved by the board may need your follow-up. Be available to the responsible chairs for consultation and guidance.
Action between meetings is sometimes necessary. If so, discuss the matter with several officers and reach a tentative decision. Then you can poll the board by phone or e-mail, for their agreement. If a majority agree, a follow-up memo is helpful. The item should then appear on the following meeting agenda for ratification.
Follow-up with committees. Follow-up with committee chairs is always necessary to make sure the momentum generated at the meeting is not lost. Call your committee heads regularly to be sure your vice-president responsible for committees keeps in regular contact with them and you.
Other Responsibilities for the President
The president regularly receives communications from the International Executive Vice President in the form of Leadership Links and other emails. IRWA places International financial reports, minutes from the recent International Executive Committee meeting, past Board meeting and other pertinent association information designed to keep the leadership and members informed online as approved.
Review the most recent issue
The International Committees also provide update reports on the actions of their committees. These updates are posted in the specific web pages for those committees.
Don't just file these reports away, but see that they are used and distributed to others who must assist the president in getting the word to the chapter members.
Answer correspondence and email inquiries promptly.
Anticipate important dates. IRWA maintains a master calendar of key events as a guideline for chapter presidents and others. The president is responsible for complying with these international requirements.
Review the Master Calendar of Events
Finally, keep in mind that chapter members, particularly new ones, view you as a symbol of the Right of Way Association. Introduce yourself to new members and visitors and help them feel welcome. When possible, provide a sympathetic and listening ear to the concerns of the members. Encourage their participation. The future of your chapter (and the association) lies with the new members.
But, most of all - be the leader!
Key Responsibilities - Chapter Officers
- Coordinates with the Region Chair.
- The Chief Executive Officer of the Chapter is responsible for the professional and fiscal health of the chapter.
- Plans, coordinates, and carries out the chapter projects and programs for the year.
- Directs the education endeavors, membership drives, and chapter meetings.
- Acts as the primary contact between the officers, the Region Chair, and the chapter and together with the secretary, shares contacts between headquarters and the chapter.
- Prepares, in coordination with the chapter treasurer, the chapter's annual operating budget.
- Appoints all regular and special chapter committees.
- Generally directs the professional development programs, including encouraging both candidates application and candidate progress.
- By May 1st, notifies headquarters of the newly elected chapter officers for the upcoming fiscal year.
- Reports to president.
- Second in responsibility for the Chapter.
- Acts in place of president at chapter meetings.
- Key responsibility is to plan his/her presidency for coming year; Board and Committees should be on paper by September 15th.
- Assists the president in carrying out chapter planning, projects and coordination.
- Should prepare goals and objectives for coming year by October 15th.
- Budget should be prepared for coming year by November 15th.
- Reports to President.
- Second in responsibility (if chapter does not have a president elect position).
- Acts in place of the president (if chapter does not have President Elect).
- Acts as the interface or liaison with the chapter committees:
- Coordinates committee budgets; presents to the Executive Board.
- Ascertains that committee projects are on schedule.
- Gathers progress reports from committees; presents to Executive Board.
- Generally acts as the contact person for all dealings to and from the Executive Board.
- Acts as the general program chairman for the regular chapter meetings.
- Reports to the President.
- Business manager of the chapter:
- Assures current Bylaws are on file with headquarters
- Keeps all chapter minutes and records
- Records actions of chapter Executive Board and chapter membership meetings.
- Reports to the President
- Financial manager for the chapter (prepares budget in coordination with other chapter officers and committees).
- Receives all dues payments from International Headquarters.
- Pays all Chapter invoices for products, services and courses from International Headquarters.
- Handles deposits to and withdrawals from chapter checking and saving accounts.
- Prepares written financial reports for each Executive Board meeting (makes certain there are sufficient copies for all members of the board).
- In November and December, works with the newly elected treasurer to transfer signatory authority to new treasurer.
- Obtains written sign-off approval from chapter president before paying any invoices submitted.
- In December, prepares payment to headquarters for all honorary and life members, and for those retirees for whom the chapter assumes the obligation of paying for their magazine subscriptions. (This is a matter of chapter policy.) Headquarters will bill the chapter for these members by the first week in December.
- Provides IRWA chief financial officer with financial records necessary to complete consolidated financial report for the year they served as treasurer.
- The chapter directors (One Year and Two Year) are the official representatives and the voting members of the chapter at the annual International Board of Directors meeting held in conjunction with the International Conference in June. Their names must be reported on the Chapter Leadership Form due to International Headquarters in November each year.
- By May receives all of the materials necessary for the Board of Directors meeting - amendments, resolutions, proposed budget, report of the Nominations Committee, etc.
- Presents these materials to the chapter membership (or Chapter Executive Board) soliciting directions on how to vote on the issues that will be handled at the Board of Directors meeting. If there is no chapter meeting scheduled before the seminar, make certain that the Executive Board gets a chance to input feelings on how the chapter director should be voting.
- After the annual education conference, reports back to the chapter membership on those actions taken by the International Board of Directors. Many times this is handled by a presentation at the next chapter meeting, but in many chapters, a summary is printed in the chapter newsletter.
- If a chapter director is unable to attend the International Education Conference:
- a. He/she must resign from that position.
- b. The chapter must elect a new director.
- c. The chapter secretary must furnish appropriate notification to this effect to headquarters by May 1st.
- d. After the Conference, if it so wishes, the chapter can revert to the old "line-up" by similar actions of resignation and election.
There is no provision in the International Bylaws for a proxy vote (a chapter member/director must be present to vote). In some chapters, the directors are also voting members of the Regional Forum.
Some general guidelines:
Immediately upon taking office in December, chapter leaders should have an informal meeting with committees and provide each one of them with a major task that should be accomplished during this term. Committees should understand that they have the ability to form subcommittees to assist them, and that they should provide written reports at each general chapter meeting.
Don't appoint somebody to a committee simply because he/she is a boss or "high up" in a company or agency. If a person will work, fine; if they won't, you have accomplished nothing except to waste a year of a non-functioning committee.
At the very beginning of the chapter year, ask for a list of goals and objectives from each committee. Don't allow the committee to flounder; they will only produce if you stimulate. If possible, give each Chair written suggestions to get the committee started, as well as the list of objectives from your chapter Bylaws or by using the International Committee Policy enclosed in the IRWA Corporate Guide.
A suggestion - have one or more meetings each year of just Committee Chairs - separate and distinct from regular Executive Board or regular chapter meetings.
Don't feel obligated to appoint a committee simply because your chapter has always had "x" number of committees. If a special need or a special project comes up, appoint an "ad hoc" group to handle it.
Try to get the new members involved in a working committee. When they join, give each new member a written list of committees and ask them which one(s) they would like to serve on. Be positive in your approach (new members that get involved, stay members).
When you approach a person to chair a committee, emphasize that a written report will be required at the end of the chapter year, and a report must be made to the membership. Try feeding these reports to the newsletter editor - some or all may be good copy for the newsletter.
Try to get your committee chairs to attend the Regional Forums. This is an excellent way to establish two-way communication with other people doing the same thing.
Encourage your committee chairs to initiate and maintain regular contact with their regional counterparts on the International Committees (i.e., the chair of the Chapter Professional Development Committee should maintain close liaison with the regional member of the International Professional Resources Committee), and with their counterparts in other chapters in the region.
Chapter Annual Budget
Ideally, the incoming chapter president in coordination with the treasurer and other officers prepares the annual budget in advance of the first Executive Board meeting following installation. In order to do this, the president should contact committee chair and other members of the Executive Board for their input into the final product. The budget should be approved far enough in advance to facilitate change in the annual dues amount if required. Any changes in annual dues must be reported to IRWA headquarters no later than October 1 of the year prior to the dues increase taking place.
Among the line items a Chapter should consider in their annual budget are:
- Annual Chapter Dues.
- Interest Income
- Chapter new member application fees.
- Income from chapter-sponsored IRWA classes
- Income from IRWA Online Education Honorarium
- Seminar/Chapter Meeting/Luncheon/Chapter Social Program Income.
- Other Income
- Office Supplies.
- Printing - chapter stationery, newsletter, special notices, etc.
- Chapter Membership Roster.
- Luncheon Expenses - does chapter pay for speakers, guests meals, and/or room rental charge
- Speakers Honorariums - for special chapter programs.
- Membership Promotional Packets (from International Headquarters).
- Executive Board Meetings - room rental, coffee, etc.
- Travel Expense - Attendance at Region Forums.
- Travel Expense - Attendance at Annual International Education Conference - who goes, if any, at chapter expense, does the chapter reimburse fully or a set amount
- Long Distance Telephone Charges.
- Installation Ceremonies - any cost
- Past President Plaque.
- Membership Pins – one should be provided for each new members.
- Awards and Recognition.
- Chapter WEB page
Consolidated Financial Statements:
It is important to remember that IRWA files a consolidated financial statement on behalf of its chapters each year. This eliminates the need for chapters to interface with the Internal Revenue Service or Canadian counterpart. In addition, IRWA has in place a system to collect GST/HST on behalf of our Canadian chapters. The deadline for reporting this information is March 15 of the year following the January 1-December 31 reporting period.
Financial Reporting & Tax Filing
Online Rosters and Resources:
There are various reports that the International Headquarters can prepare to assist chapters with their education and membership programs. In addition, a variety of resources are available online at the IRWA website. These include chapter membership directories, event registrants roster, , rosters of authorized facilitators, IRWA's digital course catalog and other resources.
Visit the IRWA Website
Help Is Only a Phone Call Away
There are three groups available to assist you in your mission: IRWA Headquarters Staff, Region Chair and Vice Chair and the International Executive Committee.
For most routine requests and administrative matters, your first contact should be with the IRWA staff in Gardena, CA. A roster of current staff and a brief description of their responsibilities can be found through the link below:
The Region Officers are knowledgeable, dedicated members and are often your best link to other chapters and members. They can assist you in meeting the needs of members in their region, and can be a good source when developing or presenting a program.
Current Region Chairs and Vice Chairs
If IRWA staff and region officers are unable to respond to your questions or concerns, the International Executive Committee (IEC) members are available to assist you with Chapter concerns.
Current list of IEC members