What’s next for chapters – Virtual Swap recap

The steady move to virtual for chapter leader training looks to continue through 2020 and possibly into 2021 based on discussions in the second Idea Swap: COVID-19 & Chapters/Components. The swap looked at three questions from the viewpoint of chapters.  Check out the Chapters & COVID-19 Virtual Chat Notes.

How do we re-orient our support and training for the rest of 2020?
  • A couple of associations proactively made the call to shift to virtual for chapter conferences, including IFT. They cited reasons such as keeping costs low for volunteers (e.g., travel) and leveraging the ability to actually reach more volunteers. (Tell us more about your experience in this 4-question poll).
  • Allowing solutions to bubble up from component groups that can educate/support the larger pool of members and our community chapter leaders.
  • Overall, topics are tailored more toward “temporary reality”.
  • Critical areas of support for chapter operations focused on:
    • Guiding decisions around handling bylaws that do not permit virtual meetings, elections, or votes. Largely the advice from legal has been to – where permitted by state – activate the clause to override and continue business operations given the current climate. A key follow-up step will be in working with chapters to modernize bylaws.
    • Guiding decisions on moving chapter events to virtual, handling challenges around permitting virtual CEUs, cash flow, and financial issues (ranging from how to cut expenses to generating revenue to managing reserves).
    • Providing access to virtual technology; a mix of responses showed some are providing free-of-cost, others discounted options and still others simply helping chapters make decisions.
    • Considering financial help: one association is setting up grants and another is advancing dues rebate.


TIP: Do frequent follow up with leaders. A weekly phone call held with Chapters to address needs, wants, concerns is a strong message of support for our volunteers, and garnered for one association an ‘extremely positive’ response.

What do we need to think about as long-term shifts?
  • Virtual is likely here to stay so we need to get better at it.
  • Anticipate new logistics for in-person meetings (think hand sanitizer, masks, physical distancing).
  • Rethinking sponsorships and helping our chapters recalibrate.
  • Leverage the positive outcomes: greater willingness to embrace virtual meetings and learning; creating new partnerships with vendors/sponsors; access to a larger group of volunteers for training/learning that it now virtual; and potential financial savings when we effectively shift to virtual board meetings for potential financial savings.

“Need to determine what we can learn now that we can keep and also integrate with what we do currently. It might not be all or nothing. Virtual may never fully replace in-person interactions.”

Join us for our next virtual swap on May 22 1pm ET (we’ll jump-start the holiday weekend with a CRP Party). Once again, we’ll use Zoom breakout rooms for deeper conversation and sharing.

You choose the topic! Add a topic or vote on topics here: www.pollev.com/peggyhoffman

Help us create resources on virtual meetings by sharing your thoughts on this 4-question poll: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/chapterpoll.

Be safe – and creative 🙂