Creating the Chapter Plan
- The purpose(s) of the chapter should be clearly defined and be congruent with the interests of the local membership and the uniqueness of the chapter. For example a chapter of primarily retirees will probably have some different interests than a chapter primarily composed of reservists or active duty.
- Continued attention to recruiting and retention is also essential for the health of a chapter. It should include imaginative exploitation of all possible sources, regular contact with members, and calls to those fall-outs who can be brought back into the fold. Some tips:
- Use email, but also personally ‘meet and greet’ to recruit
- Be ready to say why someone should join NIP, the old “what’s in it for me” is important, and do not forget NIF’s contributions
- Have NIP sign-up brochures ready, on-hand, to distribute
- Publicize the chapter and events
- ▪ Money – Once the chapter is approved, National NIP may provide funding that should alleviate any immediate needs to raise money. However, the chapter leaders will need to think about money and what they anticipate future needs to be. If the chapter is going to collect dues or money, then it has to be collected, managed, and turned over when managers rotate. This takes effort. Each chapter should decide, in its planning, if collecting dues is necessary. In effect, don’t collect money without a need. Can members “pay as they go” for NIP activities? How about conducting a fund raiser once a year? Remember, members also pay dues to National NIP.
Scope of Operations and Activities
- The geographic area to be covered by the chapter should be agreed upon and be realistic.
- Some sample events that have been held: meet at the O’Club after work, hail and farewells, guest speakers from local information dominance professionals or visiting VIPs, VIP breakfast and lunch speakers, panels on issues of interest.
- Get the word out on scheduled events as soon as you can so people can schedule and attend.
- Publicize chapter events and pictures in the NIP Quarterly/Website and encourage members to submit articles, but ensure you do not run afoul of local command rules and procedures
- Do not forget to send thank you letters to guest speakers. If someone comes specifically to speak to your chapter, a small token of appreciation may be warranted.
Leadership and Command Support
- The key ingredient for chapter viability is leadership. Active, “hands-on” leadership, supported by an executive committee (Chapter officers), and providing for succession is essential for the viability of any chapter.
- Command support from senior 1830’s/civilians is also crucial for the chapters with predominantly active duty USN membership. Participation should be out of professional interest, not obligation.
- Sometimes new leaders are selected that do not do a good job. If it is time or necessary to “give someone else a chance,” to be leader, ensure the structure is in place to support that leader. One chapter has an Executive Committee to support the leader and ensure good continuity.