Start an AFE Chapter
Why Start a New Chapter?
Chapters are a prime part of the delivery system of membership benefits, and are therefore vital to the success of AFE. Chapter activities are informative, stimulating, and fun. About 10% of all members, however, don’t currently belong to a chapter. Why? Usually, one main reason stands out above others - there isn’t a chapter in the area. Not only are current members missing out on these experiences, but non-members might not join due to the lack of a chapter in their area. With over 150,000 member prospects in the U.S. alone, the potential for AFE growth through chapter expansion is tremendous. If, for instance, you were previously a member of an AFE chapter but recently moved to an area with no active chapter, you know how much you’ve lost. Maybe the chapter you’re now a member of is not as accessible as you’d like or perhaps it’s becoming impersonal. Starting a new chapter may be one of the best things you can do, for you as well as the other members of your future chapter, and the process is reasonably simple.
Here’s What To Do
Your first step is to contact the AFE Headquarters. The seasoned staff at AFE is ready to start working with you. Also, the VP-Region Director in your area is willing to help set up new chapters.
As a professional, you probably know numerous other professionals like yourself who would be interested in the benefits of a chapter. If you are new to the area, the AFE Headquarters staff can help by giving you a list of names and contact information from their records of thousands of prospective members, plus the members-at-large in your area. This list can be broken down by geographic area, zip code, or almost any other way you might require, and are available at no charge for chapter information purposes.
Once you think about it, 15-25 prospective chapter members should be easy just from personal contacts and AFE’s mailing lists. With a little work, the number could easily be two, three, five, or ten times larger. There is no limit; the more you have to start with the better your chapter can be (there’s a “critical mass” numerical/prospect level you’ll need to achieve in order to get things really moving). Once you have 15-25 professionals lined up, there are a few administrative procedures to complete and papers to be drafted. The sooner you start to form that new chapter the quicker you’ll start to benefit. Here are some other helpful hints to get you started:
Five Basic Requirements
- The objectives of the local group must be the same of those of AFE.
- The individuals who ultimately constitute the local group must be eligible for membership in AFE, and must become AFE members to be a part of an AFE chapter.
- There should be 15-25 members in the new chapter (official minimum is 12, which may not create enough “critical mass” to get a chapter really moving; 20 to 25 is better).
- Chapter bylaws and other charter materials must be approved by the AFE officers and directors.
- All charter materials must be completed before chapter charter can be awarded.
Ten Steps to a New Chapter
1. Identify prospective members in your area
- Your local contacts
- Suppliers’ customer lists
- Other industrial, commercial and institutional lists
- AFE members-at-large
- AFE prospect list
- Other sources
2. Contact prospective members and schedule an organizational meeting
- Letter of introduction
- Membership brochure/application
- Follow-up mailings
- Personal phone calls and visits
- Issue notice of first meeting
3. Hold first organizational meeting
- Determine chapter mission
- Determine/discuss member needs and expectations
- Review AFE objectives and activities
- Elect/appoint officers and/or steering committee
- Begin planning “chapter” activities
- Schedule additional meetings
4. Notify AFE of intention to organize chapter
5. Launch recruiting campaign
- Expand initial base of interested parties
- Ask suppliers for additional help
- Build membership commitments
- Keep at it!
6. Draft chapter bylaws
- Model bylaws are available from AFE, and are included in Book 10 "Forms" of this manual (this makes a sometimes difficult task easy)
- Be sure to read the Chapter Compliance Requirements document linked on the Chapter Management page
7. Expand and refine chapter operations/activities
- Appoint needed committees (get everyone involved)
- Plan a full schedule of activities
8. Complete membership forms; collect dues and fees (from “charter” group.)
9. Schedule Charter Night
10.Submit required forms, fees and documents to AFE:
- Chapter bylaws
- Membership applications (fees/dues)
- Roster of members and officers
- Letter of intent
- Calendar of activities
- Chapter name and scope
- Tentative charter date
What Makes a Chapter Successful?
An effective chapter will have the following characteristics:
- Publicly accessible meeting place for members
- Setting goals and regularly measuring their progress
- Established systems for administrative and financial functions
- An active membership recruitment and retention program
- Ongoing programs that serve identified interests of the chapter members
- A broad-based fundraising plan
- Enough capable leaders to carry out the daily work of the chapter
Remember, no matter what stage of chapter development you may be in, chapters are part of a larger association. AFE chapters work hand-in-hand with the national organization to ensure that their individual and joint efforts support the work of the association as a whole.
Establishing a New Chapter...
Is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding projects in AFE! Although chapters are currently chartered in most major cities, there are still many areas where an AFE chapter would flourish. The basic requirements for forming a new chapter can be easily met. It can be a challenge to locate prospective members and plan the first organizational meeting, but our AFE community can help.
Contact AFE Headquarters at (571) 395-8777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org