Leadership positions within a chapter are critical to its success. Some positions are defined and required by the chapter bylaws. However, a chapter may benefit from adding other positions as needed.
Board of Directors
Each chapter should have a Board of Directors as the primary governing body for the chapter. The Board should be made up of a variety of individuals who share a concern for the site and its preservation.
Board members should be from a variety of backgrounds and should all bring something to the chapter. A robust and varied board can be critical to the long-term success of the chapter and may help with fundraising, education, outreach and volunteering.
The officers of a chapter include the chairperson, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer and typically make up the core of the Executive Committee which is a subset of the full Board of Directors. Each of these has a very important role to play in the chapter. The executive committee is typically responsible for the following:
- Make final decisions on policies relating to the finance, public relations, and programs of the chapter.
- Understand the history, purpose, program, policies, and practices of the Georgia DNR Division of Parks and Historic Sites.
- Be prepared, by general experience and interest in the parks and historic sites, to represent the site and chapter to the local community.
- Be available to the manager for consultation on matters of common concern and need.
- Interpret, informally, the park in day-to-day contact with the community.
- Ensure financial and volunteer support for chapter programs.
The critical characteristics of a chapter officer are a deep concern for the site and the community and a passion to serve in improving both. In addition, any chapter officer could benefit from the following:
- Basic business skills - An understanding of essential business concepts like budgeting, motivation and leadership all will help officers be more effective.
- Communication skills - Chapter officers frequently serve as the spokespeople for the chapter to the site, prospective members, prospective volunteers and outside organizations and businesses. The ability to communicate with these and other types of people will help the officers effectively move the chapter forward.
- Computer skills - Many basic chapter functions and communications require the use of a computer. Officers can be most effective if they have the basic skills to navigate the Internet, use e-mail and create basic documents.
A chapter officer should have basic business skills for budgeting and leadership, good communications skills and an ability to use the Internet and e-mail.
A chapter’s Chairperson is vital to the success of the chapter. The Chairperson typically presides over meetings, helps to direct the energies of the group and to set the priorities for the chapter. An effective Chairperson will work with the chapter members, other officers and site management to guide the chapter in accomplishing its goals.
The Vice Chair serves to assist the Chairperson and to take over the responsibilities in his/her absence. The Vice Chair may also take on other responsibilities as needed.
The chapter’s secretary is typically responsible for maintaining the formal records of the chapter such as meeting minutes and for keeping the group organized. The secretary also keeps track of accomplishments and priorities and may handle chapter communications. One person may serve as both the Secretary and Treasurer.
A treasurer is responsible for maintaining the bookkeeping for the organization. The treasurer is typically responsible for maintaining the chapter’s banking accounts and finances, preparing annual financial reports and helping the chapter manage its funds. One person may serve as both the Treasurer and Secretary.
While site staff can be heavily involved with a chapter and may assist with volunteer efforts, no staff member or their immediate family may serve on the Board of Directors or hold an officer position within the chapter.
Other Support Positions
A chapter need not limit itself to the four officer positions described above. As a chapter grows, so do the responsibilities. Through the creation of additional support positions, the work can be spread more evenly to prevent overloading of the chapter officers. In addition, support positions may offer members interested in serving in a leadership role the opportunity to participate without becoming an officer. Some potential support positions are listed below.
Historian - A chapter may benefit by having one person take responsibility for recording all the accomplishments of the chapter in a scrapbook or in an online list of accomplishments. The Historian may also work with Statewide Friends to help publicize the chapter’s accomplishments.
Volunteer Coordinator - One of the most time consuming functions for a chapter is keeping up with the volunteer needs of the organization and the site. An assigned volunteer coordinator can help by maintaining a list of active volunteers, tracking volunteer hours and ensuring volunteers are scheduled when needed. The Volunteer Coordinator might also be in charge of maintaining volunteer recruitment and retention activities and may be responsible for VolunteerMatch.
Sub-Committee Chairs - Many sites have large projects or events that may require a large amount of support from the chapter. A committee can be a great way to help manage these types of needs. Typically, a committee would be made up of a Chairperson who will work to manage the committee and report accomplishments and challenges to the full board.
Auditor - As a chapter’s finances grow, it may be appropriate to appoint an auditor. to help the treasurer track finances or to help keep the chapter on task in relation to goals and objectives. The auditor may review minutes to ensure the chapter is working towards its set priorities.