Reactivate a Chapter

When a local chapter is inactive, it is usually due to a lapse in the leadership. Chapter officers may move out of the area, become overwhelmed with their job or other responsibilities, or simply become burned out with their volunteer activities. When a chapter is inactive, it doesn’t necessarily mean the local membership is uninterested — often a reactivation campaign can breathe new life into a dormant chapter. The following guide outlines some of the possible steps for reactivating an inactive chapter, and the policies and guidelines related to that process as developed by the Networking Leadership Council.

You will need:

  • One motivated person to serve as primary organizer and key contact person.
  • Roster of chapter members (available from the membership administrator at IISE headquarters).
  • Funds to do initial mailings to members. IISE headquarters can provide startup funds upon request, with approval of your region vice president (RVP).

First Steps:

  • If possible, assemble a group of interested people (co-workers, colleagues, other members) to assist with the initial planning and to assume some of the leadership roles.
  • Identify former officers (if possible) — find out what the problems were, get a sense of why the chapter may have gone dormant, obtain old documents, financial records, bank book, etc., and enlist their help in reactivating if possible.
  • Hold an interest meeting (mail announcement to all chapter members) to kick off the reactivation effort. Holding this meeting in conjunction with a plant tour or other "draw" event is a good idea (identify meeting times of primary competing societies in your area and avoid those; include your RVP!). At the meeting:
    • Ask for volunteers to fill the key leadership roles (president, secretary/treasurer, director for programs and director for membership) that have not been filled by your core group.
      • Allow/encourage sharing of roles/positions.
      • Give specific information about duties and expectations.
      • Break tasks into small, manageable pieces and get commitments from people to perform just those tasks (use everyone who wants to participate, no matter how little time they have).
  • Obtain input/feedback regarding meeting/event topics, times, locations, etc. What do the members want?
  • Outline basic goals for the chapter in the next 6-12 months.
    • Present a positive, but not unrealistic, image.
  • Establish date, time, and location for the first planning meeting involving the new leadership team.

Next steps

  • Send another letter to the membership announcing the results of the interest meeting, the date/time/location of the planning meeting, etc. You might also want to include a membership survey to identify what people want, why they haven’t participated in the past.
  • Communicate with IISE headquarters and your RVP — send the officers slate, email/address mailings, chapter plan for the near future.
  • Hold a planning meeting.
    • Establish priorities and set goals for 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months.
      • Be realistic! Don’t try to do too much at first — pick a few key things (a few quality events, timely communication) and commit to doing those things well.
      • Keep in mind the minimum requirements for chapter health — make it a priority to do the minimum necessary to receive dues checks (see online Health Requirements). 
    • Devise a basic budget.
    • Divide action items among your leadership group and set deadlines for completion.
    • Establish day/time/location for regular board (leadership) meetings.

Resources Available From IISE

  • List of contacts for other chapters in your region (available from your RVP).
  • A copy of your chapter charter and other contents (if any) of your chapter’s file at IISE headquarters.
  • List of IISE prospects in your areas.

Policy Governing Reactivating Chapters

This policy was adopted by the Chapter Operations board at the April 1997 Meeting. It outlines the requirements necessary for reactivating chapters to have their dues rebate checks reinstated.

  • Reactivating chapters will be required to submit to their RVP:
    1. A plan of action for the next 6-12 months of operations, including a budget.
    2. Current and previous year's tax filings (U.S Chapters only) or a letter stating that there has been no tax filing.
    3. Slate of interim officers

The RVP will review the chapter plans, documents, and request for funds, and will approve the plan or coach the chapter regarding revisions. If the plan is approved, the RVP will coordinate with IISE Headquarters on release of start-up funds. Once the chapter has demonstrated action toward the plan and the RVP is reasonably certain the chapter is functioning sufficiently, the RVP will coordinate with IISE Headquarters to have regular chapter dues installments reinstated and held back dues released.