The success of GEAPS depends on the success of each local chapter. Well-planned chapter meetings are essential to maintain attendance and enthusiasm of the membership. The Program Committee, appointed annual by the chapter president, is responsible for outlining the chapter’s meetings for the coming year. The plan should then be reviewed and approved by the chapter’s board of directors.
Basic Meeting Tips
For successful and effective chapter meetings, several fundamentals should be followed:
- Plan meetings regularly and give adequate advance notice to each member. Some chapters use a calling committee to make reminder calls and encourage members to attend.
- Choose a location that is accessible to membership and appropriate for the topic.
- Keep members informed of the subject matter and guest speakers for upcoming meetings.
- Prepare a meeting agenda with care and then follow it. Stick to the allotted time.
- Conduct an informative, efficient business meeting. Follow parliamentary procedures
- Develop programs and activities to appeal to the interests of as many members as possible. Select programs carefully. While the list of possible programs is endless, keep the “mission” in mind — safe and efficient operations. Below are some program suggestions:
- Have a good mix of programs throughout the year: safety, maintenance, government, business, social, non-job subjects, etc.
- Look to Associate members for knowledgeable and willing speakers.
- Organize joint programs with nearby chapters or with state and regional affiliated industry associations.
- Plan a mini trade show sponsored and conducted by chapter Associates.
- Recruit new members by creating a special program designed for prospective members.
- Keep yearly program schedule flexible to allow for timely industry topics.
- Maintain a careful balance between business, educational and social functions. Each area is important for continued member support.
Publicizing Your Meetings
Successful GEAPS chapters always seem to have strong member participation at meetings, outings and social events. One of the keys to member participation and attendance is a system of timely and effective meeting notices. Meeting notices can be handled in many ways, and they should be tailored to each individual chapter and the specific program.
- Prepare and furnish each member with an annual calendar of meetings, outings and social events.
- Send the meeting schedule to GEAPS when you have set a date. Your event will then be posted in the calendar of events, your chapter web page, the GEAPS Member Focus and In-Grain newsletter. As you have more details, send them to GEAPS.
- GEAPS can post your event on social media; Just use the chapter report form to make that request.
- Try to have regular meetings scheduled for the same time and day each month (6 p.m. second Tuesday, 7p.m. third Thursday, etc.) so members become accustomed to and anticipate the schedule.
- Email meeting notices to each member about 10 days before the meeting. Be sure to include specific program information. Request an R.S.V.P. if needed for meal or meeting planning. Have follow-up reminder calls made by a calling committee. GEAPS staff can help you email out notices if you like.
- Conduct a telephone campaign at least once a year to check on those members who have not been attending meetings. Encourage them to come back!
- Keep email, mail and phone lists up to date. Utilize the GEAPS Online Membership Database to check your chapter roster whenever you need.