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The Chapter Executive
Every successful chapter has people with the leadership skills to carry out the following executive positions:
• Media and Public Relations Chair
• Other positions, depending on your focus and leadership style
All chapters are required to fill the positions for President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. The remaining positions can be filled at your discretion. See the sample Chapter Position descriptions below.
Giving your volunteers titles and positions will help keep your group organized and divide the work more evenly. However, you can adapt this structure to suit your group's particular situation, activities and preferences.
For example, some large chapters have members-at-large on the executive who are willing to take a more active leadership role in the future. Some chapters designate event leaders who find other volunteers to assist them, while other chapter executives work as a team on each event.
Setting up a chapter is not difficult, but it requires careful planning. National Office will work closely with you to get your chapter up and running in a way that suits your community's needs and strengths.
Selecting the right executive is crucial to the ongoing success of the chapter. These five secret ingredients will help you establish a strong foundation:
• Take the time to consider the positions you need and the skills required for each position
• Make sure everyone understands what each position involves
• Make sure each person is interested in the tasks involved in his or her position and willing to fulfill them
• Make sure everyone shares information and works as a team
• Make sure everyone thanks and is thanked - well and often!
Skills to Look For
Here are some skills to look for in potential executive committee members:
• a commitment to the HD cause
• ideally, experience in one of the following areas:
- organization of fundraising activities or special events
- media relations
• basic book keeping skills
• demonstrated ability to relate well to others, including effective listening and team work skills
• a strong understanding of the challenges of living with HD (as caregiver, a family member or an individual living with this disease) or a willingness to learn
You may also find a strong volunteer source among previous event participants and volunteers in your area.
Effective chapter leaders have the skills, the interest and the time to do the job. If you need to recruit more people to fill some positions, the Volunteer Management page has helpful tips. You can also contact National Office and we'll help you develop a recruitment plan.
The following chapter position descriptions are provided as a guide, but keep in mind that each chapter structures itself differently according to its needs. Please send contact information to National Office annually, or whenever a change occurs.
The President is the senior volunteer representative of the chapter.
• call chapter meetings and executive committee meetings regularly or as needed
• set meeting agendas, deciding in advance what needs to be discussed
• chair the meetings (the Chapter Meetings page has helpful tips)
• be a signing officer on the chapter bank accounts
• work with:
o other executive members to recruit volunteers for committees and executive vacancies
o committee chairpersons to coordinate activities
o the Secretary/Treasurer to ensure that chapter members and National Office are well informed of chapter activities
• advise National Office of the names and addresses of the chapter executive
• represent HSC at official functions and special events
• ensure that the chapter operates according to HSC regulations and goals
The Vice-President shares the duties of the President and is usually preparing to take over from the President, which gives your chapter continuity and stability. This person may also chair one of the committees or have a special task, such as editing the chapter newsletter, if the chapter numbers are small.
• learn the role of President in preparation for becoming President
• with the President, coordinate committee activities
• chair chapter meetings and executive meetings in the President's absence, or at the President's request
• represent the chapter at official functions and special events in the President's absence, or at the President's request
• be a signing officer on the chapter's bank accounts
• help to recruit volunteers to work on committees
The Secretary/Treasurer makes sure that chapter funds are carefully handled and chapter activities are recorded. If the job is a busy one, you can have both a Secretary and a Treasurer. In this case, the Treasurer handles the financial tasks and the Secretary handles the secretarial tasks.
• keep accurate records of all money the chapter receives and spends
• make financial reports to National Office according to HSC guidelines
• present the financial report at the chapter's annual meeting
• be a signing officer on the chapter's bank accounts
• take minutes of all chapter meetings, including its annual meeting
• keep an organized record of the chapter's minutes, correspondence, reports and lists
• write the chapter's correspondence, as directed by the President
• order all chapter supplies from National Office
• with the President, keep the chapter members and National Office well informed of chapter activities
• assist in communication between the chapter and National Office
4. Chairperson, Education & Public Awareness
This position involves leading the committee that plans and carries out the chapter's education and public awareness activities.
• recruit volunteers for education and public awareness activities
• set priorities for local education and awareness activities with the education and public awareness committee, the President and the Chairperson for fundraising
• establish contact with local media representatives and encourage their interest in chapter activities
• coordinate and evaluate the chapter's education and awareness activities and keep an accurate record of them
• report regularly on education and awareness activities to the chapter executive, to your chapter's contact person at national office and at the chapter's annual meeting
5. Chairperson, Fundraising
This position involves leading the committee that plans and carries out the chapter's fundraising activities.
• recruit volunteers for the committee
• with the fundraising committee, the President and the Education & Public Awareness Chairperson, choose and schedule the chapter's fundraising activities
• designate individuals, as needed, to take responsibility for organizing special events or major projects
• coordinate and evaluate the chapter's fundraising activities
• keep an accurate record of the chapter's fundraising contacts, volunteers and activities
• report regularly on fundraising activities to the chapter executive, to your chapter's contact person at National Office and at the chapter's annual meeting