These notes are guidelines and suggestions to help new Chapter Presidents. They are not meant to be cast in stone.
Key duties of the Chapter Chair
1. Organize and run Board Meetings
The frequency of Board meetings depends on the needs of the chapter. A minimum is four per year, but you may need monthly meetings if the chapter is particularly active. Generally you should follow the current practice unless there is a clear need for change. Set up the dates as soon as you take office, otherwise other things may get in the way.
Many chapters find that the best time for a board meeting is before each CE meeting. If you do this, make sure you leave time to mix with the members before CE starts.
There are formal protocols for running meetings called Roberts Rules of Order. They are particularly useful if you are handling a large and diverse group with some difficult personalities. But they aren't essential for much of the business of the board. Here is a brief article.
They are most useful to use when there is an important decision to be made. After discussion you can say "Are we ready to vote? Let's read out the motion as it will appear in the minutes. Now who is in favor..."
You don't need to keep blow-by-blow accounts of the meeting, but it is essential that you keep track of who was there when the vote was taken, and the motion that was approved. If people abstained or voted against make sure that is noted too.
Another good practice is to make sure everyone agrees that what was voted on was recorded accurately, and that is why you should check the minutes at the beginning of every meeting.
2. Set Strategy and Goals
Your primary role is to make sure that the Chapter moves ahead. So you should establish some very clear goals when you start. Hopefully your predecessor has left you some goals that might just need updating. Unless the group has something positive to aim for it will tend to just coast along and quite possibly decline.
The best types of goal are SMART. Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-bound. "Forty new members by December 31" covers most of these points.
Another example might be "Increase the proportion of veterinarians attending meetings by 25% who graduated after 2010"
When putting the goals have the Board discuss issues like:
- How do you see membership changing?
- What sort of events do you want to see, and how would attendance change?
- What progress do you want to make progress toward engaging young people?
Out of that you will want to discuss what specific actions are needed to achieve these goals. Some of them you might want to do yourself - but others you may want to delegate. For example, calling up members who haven't renewed yet would be something for the whole group.
Once you set those goals and keep them in-front of the group, you may be surprised to find what ideas people come up with to achieve the goal. Or they might say "we would never get them to come unless we change x,y or z.
Everything else you should be able to delegate to the Finance Chair, the Education Chair etc; Each of them may also be responsible for specific goals - like making meetings happen.
3. Make sure the budget process is running smoothly
The Treasurer is responsible for the finances, but as President you should ensure that you pass on an organization that was as financially healthy as when you took it on.
There are some other notes provided in our procedures that provide more information.
4. Annual Calendar
Another good practice is to have an annual calendar. Maybe it already exists, in which case you just need to update it. It is often worth sitting down with the previous Chair and getting their thoughts on what went well.
Here's an oultine example. It doesn't include your CE meetings.
||Set goals and plans for year. Finalize budget
||Make calls to members who haven't renewed
||Book hotel for annual dinner
||Review budget and make changes if needed
||Seek candidates for next year's committee
Promote annual dinner meeting
||Hold Annual Dinner meeting and elections