Chapter Management

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Revised November 13, 2013

Important Due Dates

The following are due to the Alumni Association office in Blacksburg each year. For more information on how to submit reports, jump to Recordkeeping and Reporting.

June 15

Scholarship Funds
Names of Scholarship Recipients

July 1

Chapter Annual Plan
Year-End Report
Chapter Contacts Update (including officers, Board of Directors, committee chairs for the upcoming year)
End of Year Financial Statement
Signed Articles of Association (if change in President position)
Nomination for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Superlative Award Nominations

Due Upon Completion of Each Event

Chapter Meeting Report
Chapter Event Report

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Leadership


Maintaining a Strong Chapter

The first requirement for a successful alumni chapter is strong, dedicated leadership. The chapter must be certain that
capable officers are chosen - people who will dedicate time to initiate, plan and promote a variety of activities which will appeal to Virginia Tech alumni and friends in the chapter area. Chapter leaders should be able to work well with diverse populations, be imaginative and enthusiastic, and have administrative ability. The infusion of new leaders is particularly critical if a chapter is to remain vital and is to represent all alumni in the chapter area. The chapter must be sure qualified candidates are nominated at each election. Prior to electing officers, a nominating committee should be appointed which will choose appropriate candidates and verify their willingness to serve if elected by the chapter.

The second key in chapter success is dynamic organization. This calls for teamwork and the delegation of responsibilities. One person need not, cannot, and should not do it all. In addition to chapter officers, a host of volunteers should be called on to help.

Finally, interesting meetings are the heart of the chapter's activities. Alumni like to be a part of a viable chapter program. Please the audience - pick quality meeting places, plan thoughtfully, formulate an agenda for the meeting, make those who attend feel welcome, and strive for real fellowship.

The Essence of Leadership

More than ever, there is a need for people to seize upon the opportunities of leadership. How do you get other people to move forward together toward a common purpose? How do you get people to want to do things? How do you get people to follow you? These challenges are the essence of leadership.

  1. Challenge the status quo. Step out into the unknown and search for opportunities. Take risks, innovate and experiment in developing programs, systems, processes and services. Recognize the good ideas of others and support those ideas.
  2. Develop and inspire a shared vision. Enlist the involvement and support of others in creating a vision (mission, goals, priorities) for the organization. Be enthusiastic, energetic and positive, and communicate frequently about the vision. Know your people, speak their language and articulate how they will be served by a common vision.
  3. Empower others to take action. Support people in making their own choices and taking responsibility for their own choices and actions. Encourage collaboration and teamwork across boundaries (geographic and organizational) in problem solving. Invest in the growth and development of people. Believe in people and trust their judgment.
  4. Encourage risks and don't discourage dissent. Encourage people to take chances and be prepared to accept mistakes. Provide opportunities for people to speak up and say what they think.
  5. Demonstrate a genuine caring for people. Draw people towards the vision by genuine acts of caring. Recognize
    individual contributions and celebrate group accomplishments. Develop visible signs of encouragement to reinforce supportive coworkers.
  6. Lead by example. Earn respect through consistency of word and action. Develop your individual strengths and accept setbacks or mistakes as learning experiences. Step forward in a crisis or at a critical moment and take a position on behalf of the organization and its members.

Leadership is not only about leaders, but also about followers. Over time, those who would be followers determine whether a person should be or will be recognized as a leader. Sooner or later, people are going to ask themselves if a person is worth following.

People admire leaders who are honest, competent, forward-thinking and inspiring. Taken singularly, these describe the
personal attributes or qualities of a leader. Taken together, these characteristics are an indicator of one's credibility.

Leaders must be ever diligent in guarding their credibility. Credibility is one of the hardest attributes to earn and a most
fragile human quality. The ability to function as a leader depends upon being perceived as highly credible. Once a leader loses his or her credibility, it is very difficult to earn back.

Leadership is in the eyes of the followers; credibility is the foundation of all leadership.

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Conducting an Executive Committee Meeting


Notice

Be sure to notify officers and directors of the meeting time and place at least two weeks in advance. Reminder postcards, e-mail and/or phone calls from the secretary will ensure good attendance.

Place

Select a convenient location. Rotating between board members' homes may be worth considering. Make sure it's
comfortable and conducive to good communication.Restaurants may prove to be too distracting to conduct an effective meeting, unless a private room is available.

Time

A regular meeting time will enhance attendance (i.e., first Wednesday of each month). Weekday evenings are usually the best. Start the meeting on time. Do not penalize those who are punctual. Try to limit a meeting to no more than one hour.

Agenda

Have a printed agenda available to distribute to all attendees at the beginning of the meeting.

  1. Roll call
  2. Approval of minutes of previous meeting
  3. Officer reports
  4. Committee reports
  5. Unfinished business
  6. New business
  7. Comments or general discussion
  8. Adjournment

Records

A complete and accurate report should be taken by the Secretary, typed and sent to all members of the board of directors and the Alumni Association. This report should be submitted using the Meeting Report form in the Chapter Database. A master copy should be kept for the group's records. If the Secretary is not present, the President should appoint a temporary Secretary.

Content

The meeting must serve a purpose, so be sure to review recently held events (how can the events be improved?) and
prepare for future events. If there is little to discuss, use the meeting to brainstorm about future activities - involving more alumni, expanding the group's scope, getting more out of alumni programs.

Facilitating a Smooth Transition

The President should carry out the annual plan devised during the previous year. The President-Elect should spend the year developing the chapter annual plan (see below) and recruiting committee chairs for the upcoming year. This will ensure a smooth transition of officers and a well-planned, successful year of programming.

There are many tools which facilitate a smooth transition from one year to the next. These include continuous efforts to bring new people to events and meetings, follow up contacts with those people, staggered terms for officers and directors, one-on-one meetings with the outgoing and incoming officers and committee chairs to discuss past activities as well as future plans, and leadership training.

It is important to ensure that board members, officers, and committee chairs have a thorough understanding of what their responsibilities are during their term. A file of their predecessor's actions can help with this understanding. For assistance, contact your chapter liaison.

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Developing an Annual Plan


Why an Annual Plan?

Chapters that sponsor successful and enjoyable events and programs begin with good, solid long-range planning.
Successful planning begins many months or even a year in advance of meetings and activities.

Each summer, the newly elected officers, directors and chairpersons should take time to develop a complete yearly
calendar of chapter meetings, gatherings and service projects. A chapter plan should allow for a variety of activities which will appeal to a broad range of alumni - from the Old Guard to the most recent graduate, from the Hokie sports fan to the individual more interested in the university's academic and research programs. Chapters should be careful not to let one aspect of the university dominate its annual schedule of activities.

A written plan will serve as a helpful guideline for your chapter. It also allows the alumni staff to plan more effectively for speakers and any other campus resources events may require. Take time to review the chapter annual plan at least once a month to monitor progress. Make certain the chapter is meeting its goals and objectives. Always keep in mind the six week lead time needed to process requests for chapter newsletters and announcements.

Your annual plan should be submitted via the Chapter Database form by June 30 each year. Changes to a chapter annual plan need to be communicated to your chapter liaison.

Helpful Long-Range Planning Tips

  • Be realistic - do not plan events just to fill up a calendar. Several quality, well-attended events are much better than many haphazard or ill-planned meetings.
  • Consider budgetary requirements for all chapter expenses. All chapter events should be self sustaining.
  • Emphasize traditional events that the chapter has successfully sponsored in the past.
  • Admissions programs should be coordinated with your chapter liaison. Contact alumnichapters@vt.edu for more information about this program.
  • Take time to "brainstorm" and consider new ideas for events and projects.
  • Chapters that sponsor scholarships should sponsor an event or project specifically designed to raise money to support the scholarship. This event should be promoted all year, not simply prior to the event.
  • Fellowship is important - everyone enjoys a fun time. Service is more important and requires ample attention.

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Working With Volunteers


Finding Volunteers

Volunteers usually have to be recruited or sought out. Before a recruitment drive, prepare a written analysis of:

  • Why you need volunteers
  • The kinds of activities they will perform and for how long
  • The number of volunteers needed
  • The personal qualifications, physical demands, and skills needed for the different volunteer jobs
  • A plan for orientation, training, evaluation, and recognition
  • What the benefits are to the volunteer

Also prepare written job descriptions. No volunteer should be recruited unless there is a specific useful job for that person to do. Methods of recruitment will vary with communities, organizations, and the need for volunteers.

Individual Approach: a person-to-person approach is a direct appeal to members of the organization, committee, or other volunteers. It is often followed by letters, enclosing pamphlets and other promotional material. There may be an invitation to visit the situation where the volunteer will be involved.

Mass Media: a helpful approach to a number of volunteers. It includes press, radio, television, speakers' bureaus where volunteers deliver talks before groups, organizations, schools, bulletins, newsletters, brochures, window exhibits and posters.

Identifying Volunteers: Volunteers should be identified from interested alumni who attend chapter functions, call to express interest, or respond to questionnaires. 

Strategies for Attracting New Graduates to Chapter Events

There should be a heavy emphasis placed by your chapter on recruiting younger alumni to participate in chapter events. Recent graduates are an important investment in the future leadership of your chapter. You can obtain a list of the recent graduates in your area by contacting the Alumni Association.

The following suggestions can assist your chapter in recruiting new graduates for active membership.

  • Each chapter should contact new graduates now located in their area and extend a personal invitation to participate in the chapter. This contact should be made by an active chapter member in person; however, this can be done by letter, e-mail and/or phone call. New graduates will be placed on the mailing list by the Alumni Association.
  • Encourage recent graduates to get involved in student recruitment. Rely on them for the most recent insights into
    campus life.
  • Establish a separate committee with recent graduates and singles to sponsor social events in addition to regular chapter programs.
  • A chapter could establish a "welcome wagon" for new graduates. Have a special gathering for all the recent graduates in your area. A great deal of planning should go into this event, as it will set the tone for involvement by the recent graduates.
  • Create positions on the board which are specifically allocated to recent graduates. You may also want to appoint a new graduate as an assistant to each committee chairman.
  • Key in on the recent graduates who were members of the Student Alumni Associates. These graduates have already shown an interest in and are familiar with the Alumni Association. They can be a great benefit in providing information about the alumni activities taking place on campus. Contact the Alumni Association for names of these alumni.

Volunteer Recognition

Environment

  • Smile
  • Create pleasant surroundings
  • Provide appropriate equipment
  • Assign others to assist

Task

  • Provide thorough explanation, orientation, and training
  • Supervise
  • Give feedback on progress
  • Honor work preferences
  • Assign work that challenges
  • Explain relation of task to overall program
  • Give them additional responsibility

Follow-up

  • Send thank-you note
  • Ask for volunteer evaluation
  • Commend to employer, if appropriate
  • Inform concerning results

General Strategies

  • Quote them
  • Photograph them
  • Ask for their opinion, advice, or criticism
  • Honor with an award
  • Tell them they are appreciated
  • Thank/recognize them publicly
  • Present them a plaque
  • Ask for feedback
  • Listen
  • Send a birthday card
  • Buy them an ice cream cone (coffee, dinner)
  • Recognize personal needs and problems
  • Greet by name
  • Provide discount tickets
  • Provide refreshments
  • Sponsor a volunteer recognition event
  • Create a Volunteer of the Month event

Volunteer's Viewpoint (for Leaders to Remember)

Memo to You, as a Leader, from Me, as a Group Member:

If you want my loyalty, interest and best efforts as a group member, remember that:

  1. I need a sense of belonging.
    1. A feeling that no one objects to my presence
    2. A feeling that I am sincerely welcome
    3. A feeling that I am honestly needed for myself, not just for my hands, my money or to make the group larger.
  2. I need to have a share in planning the group goals. (My need will be satisfied only when I feel that my ideas have had a fair hearing.)
  3. I need to feel that goals are within reach and that they make sense to me.
  4. I need to feel that what I'm doing has real value or contributes something important to Virginia Tech - that its value extends beyond my personal gain or the group itself.
  5. I need to share in making the rules of the group - the rules by which together we shall live and work toward our goals.
  6. I need to know in some clear detail just what is expected of me so that I can work confidently.
  7. I need to have responsibilities that challenge, that are within range of my abilities and interest and that contribute toward reaching our goals.
  8. I need to see that progress is being made toward the goal we have set, and that I am making progress toward my personal goals.
  9. I need to be kept informed. What I'm not up on, I may be down on.
  10. I need to have confidence in our leaders and officers - confidence based upon assurance of consistent fair treatment, or recognition when it is due, and of appreciation for steady, consistent, contributing membership.

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Recordkeeping and Reporting


Updating Alumni Records

Complete and accurate records are vital to the success of the Alumni Association and, consequently, to its chapters and college/affiliate alumni organizations. Records include home and business addresses and phone numbers, employment title, spouse name, etc.

Alumni chapters can perform an important service for the Alumni Association by assisting in the record updating process. Person-to-person contact through chapter activities provides opportunities not always available to the Alumni Office. Chapter leaders can help:

  • Encourage alumni to update their personal information on the Alumni Gateway.
  • Gather information on alumni including full name, class year, home address, e-mail, home telephone number, and business telephone number. The chapter may keep a guestbook at events, collect business cards, or hold a drawing at the end of an event. We have an Event Registration and Information Update form available on the Chapter Resources website.
  • Note alumni address changes from chapter-mailed items.
  • Compare chapter roster information to local telephone directories.
  • Telephone alumni to verify or correct information about them.
  • Identify alumni on the chapter list who are still listed at parents' addresses but have moved elsewhere. Call the parents for new addresses and possible name changes.
  • Check the names of alumni who are coded as "bad addresses" on the chapter list. Look up these names in the local telephone book to see if they are still in the area or if a relative can be identified. Verify with a telephone call to avoid confusing alumni with other persons of the same name.
  • Clip items on marriages (especially name changes), job changes, promotions, and obituaries of local alumni. (Notify the Alumni Association office of any alumni deaths as soon as possible.)

Remember always to share the corrected information with the Alumni Association so that the alumni database can be kept up to date! Mail new information and changes to: Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center (0102), 901 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061; fax to 540/231-3039, 24-hour or e-mail to alumni@vt.edu.

Note: An Alumni Association chapter list is never to be used for any commercial or political purpose. It is intended to be used for Association-related purposes only.

Submitting Chapter Reports

Chapters are required to submit meeting and event reports as soon as possible following completion of the event. If you have already typed minutes using another software (such as Microsoft Word), you may copy and paste into the online form, submit the minutes to your chapter liaison, or email them to alumnichapters@vt.edu.

The Chapter Meeting and Chapter Event report forms can be found in the Chapter Database. If this is your first time using the Chapter Database, you will need to click on the "Register" link to request access. You will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours that your access has been activated.

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Chapter Financial Management

All chapter income and disbursements should be cash or checks, or in rare cases credit cards. A cash record, check record, and ledger book may be the simplest method to use. Often, the monthly check record provided by the bank at which the chapter has its checking account can serve as the financial report. Chapter funds should not be kept in a personal account. The chapter should be self-supporting and operate on at least a break-even basis, including chapter grants.

The submission of financial reports to the Alumni Office are required to qualify for Outstanding Chapter Awards. These include monthly/quarterly reports, event reports, and a year-end report.

Record Keeping

  • Receipts and invoices must be kept
  • Mark each receipt with date and check number and retain until audit
  • Track income and expenses
  • Track event income as check or cash and differentiate between paid in advance and at the door
  • Checkbook should be balanced monthly and transaction history included in financial report

Reporting

  • Monthly financial reports submitted to your chapter liaison are encouraged; reports are REQUIRED annually, at a minimum (due by July 1)
  • A year-end financial report template is available on the Chapter Resources website

By-Laws Should Include the Following

  • The President and Treasurer have access to chapter funds and may sign checks (bank must have signature cards on file)
  • Double signature is required for transactions over $1000
  • Fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30

Audits

  • The Alumni Association recommends an audit every two years
  • Try to find an alum, volunteer or local board member to conduct the audit
  • Chapters with $10,000 annual income or assets over $25,000 should obtain an independent audit every year

Recommendations

  • Chapter programs and activities are required to generate enough income to avoid deficits (a nominal amount should be added to the actual cost of an event).
  • If a chapter accumulates a surplus of funds in its account over and above its local operating costs, the chapter might consider:
    • Scholarship(s) for local students entering Virginia Tech
    • Contribution to the Alumni Association
    • Sponsorship of one or more chapter officers to attend the Chapter Officers Forum
    • Host an event for local alumni and friends
  • Chapters should be aware that, if sufficient funds are not available to cover the costs of a function, the chapter, not the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, will be responsible to make up any shortfall.

Insurance Liabilities

The Alumni Association, affiliated constituent groups (including chapters), and volunteer leaders are insured under the state risk management program. Should a chapter event require a certificate of insurance, a request should be submitted to the Alumni Office at least six weeks prior to the event, to allow sufficient time to process the necessary paperwork. Contact your chapter liaison for more information.

Bulk Mailing Permits

The Alumni Association has a bulk mailing permit which is used for most chapter and college/affiliate mailings. Bulk mail delivery usually takes from a few days to several weeks. Typically, the smaller the distance from the post office of origination to the destination, the shorter the delivery time. The Association usually allows up to four weeks for delivery, depending on the destination.

The Alumni Association staff will be happy to discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of a chapter purchasing a bulk mail permit specifically for the chapter. A bulk mail permit requires payment of an initial fee as well as an annual fee, plus per-piece postage costs. Bulk mailing requires special sorting, bundling, and labeling prior to mailing.

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Tax Issues


Tax Status

The Alumni Association Chapter is a nonprofit organization and is not subject to federal income taxes. The Chapter is notexempt from sales tax. Payments made by alumni to attend chapter events are not tax deductible for alumni. Only gifts made by alumni to chapter scholarship funds in the Virginia Tech Foundation are tax deductible for alumni.

Tax ID Number

The chapter must obtain a federal tax ID number before opening an account for the chapter treasury. The chapter may obtain a tax ID number by filing IRS form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. Form SS-4 and the associated instructions can be found on the IRS website. When completing Form SS-4, section 8a: Type of entity, check the box beside "Other nonprofit organization" and (specify) Alumni Association Chapter.

Income Reporting

All chapters must file a Form 990-N (e-Postcard) or 990-EZ annually with the IRS. Organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead. More information and the appropriate forms can be found on the IRS website.

We have put together some income reporting tips specifically for alumni chapters: Chapter Tax Filing Information (PDF)

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