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Represent.Us Action Hub

Becoming an official chapter: Chapter Kickoff Meeting

Congratulations! You have held your Meet, Greet & Petition Day and are well on your way to becoming an established RepresentUs chapter! Make sure you take a minute to pat yourself on the back. What you are building isn’t the easiest - but it is incredibly important. You are now officially invited to use some exclusive RepresentUs leadership resources:

  • Join our nationwide Chapter Discord channel to connect with RepresentUs chapter leaders around the country to collaborate and strategize on your work
  • You're invited to join our monthly Chapter Leaders’ Call, a conference call with national staff and our committed volunteers where we offer updates, answer questions, and share news of local victories. You can also check out topline notes from our previous calls.
  • We also ask that once a month chapters complete a Chapter Action Report to keep HQ in the loop on your chapter work.

The final step to becoming an official RepresentUs Chapter is to hold a Chapter Kickoff Meeting

Your next step is schedule and hold your official chapter kickoff meeting. Make sure to answer the following: Why is this meeting necessary? What's the goal of this meeting? What does success look like? Why should we be excited?

There are a few tasks that are important to tackle before you can hold your event. Make sure to delegate to your team accordingly and work together to create a successful event. Below is a comprehensive checklist for each leader to work on:

Facilitator: Find a time and place

It’s important to make sure a team member is handling the logistical side of planning your event. Map out a timeline like the one below to make sure your bases are covered with enough time before the event.

  • What is the date and time of the event?
      • Take into consideration work schedules and family priorities. Evenings and weekends are the best time to hold an event.
  • Where will the event be located?
      • Make sure the venue is easily accessible to you community. Consider parking options, size, audio/visual capability, handicap accessibility, etc. before booking the venue.
      • If the venue you identified costs money to rent, look into some free options like a local coffee shop, bar, community center or library.
      • If you need proof of nonprofit status to book a venue, reach out to your organizing contact at RepresentUs for proper documentation.
      • Make sure to follow up with the venue to confirm your space at least 1 week before the meeting.
  • What equipment/materials do you need to bring?
    • If you will be giving a powerpoint presentation, establish who will bring a projector/laptop or if the venue will provide the necessary equipment.
    • Make sure someone is responsible for bringing refreshments/snacks, printing sign-up sheets and ordering other informational materials to give to attendees.
    • Order any needed materials at least 1 week before your kickoff meeting

Messenger & Recruiter: Getting the word out

Who is getting the word out about your event? Have your chapter's messenger and recruiter work together to make sure your community is aware of and invited to your upcoming kickoff meeting:

  • How will you get press to cover your event? (Messenger)
      • Ask your organizing contact at RepresentUs to connect you with our press team. They will walk you through the steps for reaching out to local press outlets to let the community know about your event
      • Use our Kick-off Press Release to draft and send to local press contacts
  • How will you get the community to show up? (Recruiter)
    • Use our sample email template and call script to reach out to your personal networks and email/phone number lists
    • Reach out to your RepresentUs organizing contact for:
      • A list of RepresentUs supporters in your area (to call and invite)
      • A custom RSVP page you can share with your networks
    • Customize and share your own chapter meeting flyer (http://volunteer.RepresentUs/flyer)
    • Organize a canvassing day with your team throughout the local area
  • How will you share and promote the event on social media? (Messenger and/or Recruiter)
    • Your chapter is now eligible for a chapter email and Facebook page, both of which HQ will create for you.
    • Send us a photo of a local landmark and we'll create a custom cover photo for your chapter’s page.
    • Share the event RSVP page on your chapter's page, or create a Facebook event to invite your friends to. Make sure you include all the relevant information about the event (where, when & what you will be doing). Post your event on local groups and forums to spread the word to interested communities.
      • Mentionlytics has broken down the best times to post content on different social media platforms in 2018. Paying attention to these times is important, because capitalizing on optimal social media times means more people will see your content and respond to it.

Event Coordinator:  Plan your meeting content

It is important to establish a structured agenda for your first meeting. The event coordinator should work with the facilitator to create a informational and fun event for your future members.

  • What will your meeting agenda look like?
  • What are the chapter goals and plans for the future you will share with attendees?
      • Sit down with you team before the event and discuss what goals and future actions you want to share at the public chapter kick-off event. Having another petitioning day or chapter meetup you can invite folks to immediately after is a great way to keep volunteers interested and engaged.
  • How will you make it fun?
    • Anti-corruption work is important, but can also feel like a dry topic. Make sure you add a fun element to your meeting.
    • Ice breakers are a great way to get to know future volunteers. Get people to participate and share why this issue is important to them.
    • It's okay to get silly! Chapters in the past have done activities like Ranked Choice Voting elections with pizza toppings, cookies, and even beer. Get creative and don’t be afraid to have some laughs with your policy discussion.
    • Make sure you take pictures! Check out our photo guide for some inspiration.

Follow up: (the whole team)

Don’t let momentum fade after your first public meeting is over. Follow-up to attendees is key to retaining volunteers for your chapter.

  • Send a follow up email to attendees within 48 hours thanking them for coming and inviting them to your next event.
  • Plan a next event, whether that be another day of petitioning, a chapter meeting or a local city council meeting.
  • Have a debrief with your leadership team. How did it go? What did we do right? What could we have done better? What are our next steps and follow-up actions?
  • Follow up with HQ! Let us know how it went and send us your sign-up sheets and photos from the meeting. We love to brag about you - and this is definitely brag-worthy.

Head back to the Volunteer Resource Tab

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