Best Practices for Chapter Meetings
Below is a summary of best practices collected during 3 Learning Collaboration Group calls.
1. Hold meetings once a month. Try to have the meeting on the same day and time (the second Monday of the month, at 9:30 am, for example).
2. Create a standard agenda that is followed each meeting. Having this consistency allows the meeting to proceed smoothly.
|Example One: 1-1.5 hours
Example Two: 1-1.5 hours
3. Make the meeting fun and interactive.
Have mentors, anonymously, talk about client cases that they think are interested or would like other perspectives on. Meeting attendees can share their thoughts (in a polite way) and people who don’t typically mentor will get to experience this central aspect of SCORE.
Bring in actual clients who would like to get multiple perspectives. Again, this should be a controlled, polite environment for the client to present on his or her business and get feedback.
Have volunteers go around the room, say their names and answer a “question of the month.” This might be where they grew up, who their first boyfriend/girlfriend was and what that person is doing now, an interesting fact nobody knows, etc.
Highlight a different volunteer each month and have that person provide more in-depth information about themselves. This could help in mentoring; for example, someone might have an accounting background but has a lot of experience with antique cars as a hobby. A client might need help related to an antique car business and now you know who to ask!
Include role playing to demonstrate the best ways to interact with clients to promote long-term relationships.
4. Send a reminder and follow up email.
About a week before the meeting each month, send an email to all volunteers reminding them about the meeting. Include the agenda and promote any guest speakers. Include a summary or minutes from the last meeting.
5. Use data to determine educational aspects of meeting.
Each meeting should include some educational aspect to ensure that volunteers are keeping up with the needs of your chapter’s clients. Use the Client Engagement Survey and Volunteer Engagement Survey to determine what areas your chapter may want to focus on. Once you have a general focus, ask the members of the chapter to provide input into the specific topics the meetings will cover. Getting input from the volunteers in your chapter will help generate interest in attending the meetings.
6. Include food!
7. Make sure the meeting follows the agenda.
The purpose of the chapter meeting is to share information and allow members of your chapter to interact and get to know each other better. Complaints, arguments, or lengthy discussions should be done elsewhere. Whoever is in charge of the meeting should not let it get off track from the agenda. One person needs to be in charge of this – you may want to designate someone as a timekeeper.
8. Once or twice a year, have a special event to bring together members of chapter and their significant others, non-volunteer chapter partners, prospective volunteers, etc. This might be a holiday lunch or dinner, summer BBQ, etc.