By Jennifer Norris
Hosting a Chapter Meeting is like throwing a party for your venue colleagues. It is fun and gratifying. It is a way to work quickly and effectively with a local team of venue management volunteers. Chapter meetings provide opportunities to develop your leadership and public speaking skills. You have a lot of sovereignty to make the meeting what you want and develop educational content that suits you.
Our recent Northern California meeting started with lunch and ended with Happy Hour and included venue tours. We also did a short business meeting. With three full educational sessions, we were already content rich, so we chose not to do a full town hall, but anything is possible. Some chapters meet 10 am – 3 pm, while others like ours meet noon – 6pm to allow people drive time.
IAVM HQ will support you along the way with information and resources. In working together to create the meeting, you will make a bunch of new venue management friends. You will be helping to expand and diversify the leadership of IAVM.
Secrets to Success
• Use the IAVM How to Host a Meeting as a resource
• Use IAVM HQ as a resource for:
o IAVM website to post meeting registration link, agenda, directions, etc.
o list of current members and non-members in your area
o registration services
o IAVM collateral to have at your meeting
• Create a committee of willing volunteers, and make it diverse in terms of sectors, gender, and make room for everyone who is able. Don’t go only to the tried and true volunteers or your friends, but widen the net and be inclusive. I found my volunteers by sending an email inquiry to the IAVM members in my area (got email addresses from HQ). At least eight people is optimal.
• Get buy-in, from potential attendees, numerous times in the process:
o Poll the members for volunteers
o Send a poll to members to select the best date (list dates the venue is available)
o Send a save the date as soon as date and location is selected
• Plan on 2.5 to 3 months from first phone meeting to event date. Meet by phone with your committee once every two weeks. Use this time to choose topics and set agenda. Review sponsor giving levels. Discuss panelists. Divvy up the work.
• Divide and conquer! Decide on responsibility for tasks, encourage committee members to use their colleagues to complete tasks so that we are mentoring volunteerism and reducing our own work loads. Make sure everyone has a task.
o Session Champions (1 or 2 people working on each session)
o Meal Team – gets quotes from caterers, choose menus, negotiates in-kind donations, handles linens, etc.
o Graphics Guru – creates visuals such as save the date, creates basic support slides and compiles PPT or Prezy presentations from presenters
o Sponsorship Team – (1 or 2 people) Creates the giving levels, send solicitations, tracks solicitation promises and fulfillment, communicates with region treasurer about invoicing sponsors and making sure payments are received and acknowledged
o Logistics – lay-outs agenda, room set-ups, run of show and event timelines
For a complete Chapter Meetings overview and how to get one started in your area, click here.
Jennifer Norris is assistant managing director of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center.