No one can argue that COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on society as a whole including associations like ours. Predictions are that the possibility of in-person events may be delayed until mid-2021. Until then, chapter leadership has a great opportunity to prepare a chapter for the future using technology. So let’s take a look at a few tools that can help.
Chapter Finances: Using online banking services to track chapter deposits and charges is the obvious first step. The user name and password should only be shared with the chapter president and treasurer. Next choose a free service for online accounting like Wave (https://www.waveapps.com/) to manage your chapter finances. It can link with your chapter’s bank account and generate financial reports such as Profit and Loss statements and Balance sheets. Wave can also generate invoices and accept monthly credit card payments. Another service worth considering is Square (https://squareup.com/us/en). Square includes basic credit card readers which can be used to swipe credit cards on-site for luncheon purchases and other charges.
Chapter Management: Managing chapter information over multiple years can be a challenge. Constant changes in the leadership team create continuity issues such as lost knowledge. One way to mitigate this is by using a system like Slack (https://slack.com/) to manage your chapter. Using a system of hashtags (#) you can create topics important to the BOD, (i.e. #finances, #sponsors, #membership, #events, #legislation, #reports, etc.) providing a way to manage information within the leadership team. Everyone associated with a hashtag shares communications about the topic. Documents can also be stored in Slack such as reports, documents, and images. Overall, it’s a good way for a chapter to provide continuity year after year without the lost information.
Chapter Communications: Staying in touch with members is an important element of chapter success. For local chapter communications, Constant Contact (https://www.constantcontact.com/) is available for emailing announcements to local chapter members. Another critical element of chapter communication is an active website. A variety of web hosting providers is available like Wix (https://www.wix.com/) that offer great looking website templates with easy to configure Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Finally a word about emails. Chapter leaders transition in and out of the leadership team constantly and much history is lost over time. So, using generic Gmail accounts may be a good way to maintain chapter continuity. For example, at NCAHU we use generic email accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. In addition, Gmail offers document storage and other features. This way the next member in line for that leadership position can use the same email account without losing continuity.
Preparing chapters now can position them for accelerated growth in the future.