Chapter leaders need to be able to communicate with members, with committees, with the corporate office and also with the public.
Communicating with Members
A few chapters still create and mail out hard copy newsletters, but email and social media have allowed much cheaper and less labor intensive alternatives. You can use the chapter roster on LeaderWeb to send an email to all your members. However you might like to include visitors and other contacts in emails. Some chapters use online email marketing software to send professional looking emails and newsletters. Two companies that offer free and easy to use accounts are Mailchimp and TinyLetter.
Another alternative is social media. Facebook is the most commonly used. There are several types of Facebook pages and you can experiment to see which one works best for you. A Facebook group allows more people to participate than a page does.
Most chapters elect to have their own chapter website which provides information both to members and the public. The Society offers a simple solution to help you build your chapter website. All the technical details are handled at the corporate level and you need only add your own content.https://groups.io/
A calendar is useful so that chapter members can keep up with meetings and other events. Google Calendar is one of the most useful and versatile. It is easily embedded into a website and can be made to send reminders.
Communicating within Chapter Committees
Some chapters are using Facebook groups to facilitate communication within chapter committees or workgroups. You can make a Facebook group “secret” to keep communications private.
Yahoo groups have been around for years. A more modern version is Groups.io which has many more features.
If you would prefer to meet face to face but distance is an issue try video conferencing. Join.me is free for up to 10 participants.
Communicating with Other Chapters
Some chapters have found it useful to collaborate with other chapters on a project. For example the Operation NICE! program works better if all the chapters in an area work together to choose the same plant. It’s easy to find the leaders of other chapters in LeaderWeb – just check the list of chapter presidents or the list of chapter treasurers to find their contact information. You can also go to the chapter map page and click to see their webpage. Webpages usually have contact information.
Another tool is the Chapter President’s group in Facebook where you can share tips and solutions to problems with the presidents of other chapters, or discuss issues you have in common.
Communicating with the State Office and State Board
It’s important for chapter leaders to stay on top of developments at the state level. In addition to our newsletter which is available to all members, anyone can visit our state website or our social media pages which are updated frequently. Chapter leaders are encouraged to subscribe to the state website which will then send emails to them whenever the website is updated. Subscribe to website updates.
The state website has a contact form which can be used to communicate with anyone at the state level. LeaderWeb shows email and phone numbers for all state officers and committee chairs.
We also publish a monthly email newsletter specifically for chapter leaders and others who want to keep abreast of state board activities. Subscribe to state board newsletter.
Communicating with the Public
Successful chapters publicize their chapter’s mission and activities to the public. While a chapter website and social media such as Facebook and Twitter can help to communicate with the public, you should also consider contacting your local newspapers.
How to write a news release
News release template
How to contact your local Texas newspaper
Image, public relations and the Native Plant Society
A talk by Cecil Carter at the 2013 annual meeting: