Two Chapters – Dreams and Actions
(Part 2 of 3)
By Susanne Wheeler, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, immediate past president, Wabash Valley Chapter; Jennifer Zettl, RN, BSN, CCRN, immediate past president, Central Wyoming Chapter and Clareen Wiencek, PhD, ACNP, Chapter Advisory Team co-lead
The birth of two of AACN’s newest chapters, the Wabash Valley Chapter in Terre Haute, Ind. and the Central Wyoming Chapter in Casper, Wyo., was described in the October 2008 issue of AACN News and illustrated several common themes. These commonalities would continue as each chapter faced the realities and challenges of chapter governance. As Jennifer Zettl stated, “It was great to dream about what could be, but it was also necessary to act and make it happen.” This article will describe how these two chapters made the dream come true.
Strategic plans and needs assessments are essential aspects of chapter governance for all chapters, but can be especially important during the crucial first year. Both chapters would use these strategies. Wabash Valley used the needs assessment from the AACN chapter Web site and asked all new members to complete this assessment. Central Wyoming developed an educational plan to structure the first year of programs and is working on developing a strategic plan. Susanne Wheeler noted that reviewing examples of strategic plans provided by their Region 9 chapter adviser was instrumental in the development of their own strategic plan.
The other aspect of chapter governance that helped both chapters act on their dream was member recruitment. Both chapters learned that the time-honored method of personal, one-on-one engagement was most successful in attracting new members. “One-on-one conversation was the best recruitment strategy” according to Wheeler, who noted that membership increased when she and the president-elect traveled to other hospitals in the area and made a presentation about the new chapter. To overcome the geographic isolation found in large, rural states such as Wyoming, Zettl and her board of directors used e-mail for that one-on-one connection and asked each new member to recruit another interested critical care nurse. The result was a membership of 25 nurses, underscoring the power of one.
All AACN chapters must maintain “good standing” by complying with deadlines for financial reporting. New chapters face a learning curve, but there are resources to help. Both chapters relied on their chapter adviser and the Chapters Department staff at the national office to assist with these forms and deadlines. The treasurer of the Wabash Valley Chapter would report at every monthly meeting, and the president and president-elect also took ownership of these forms and deadlines. These chapters would continue to rely on the resources available to assist all chapters: the chapter adviser, the national staff, Web site resources and tools, and electronic communication. As Zettl noted, “We couldn’t have made it without our e-mail lifelines (national and the CAT).”
While the first year of a new chapter does require action and work, fun can also be part of the equation. “It was just so fun to get together and listen and learn from each other,” Zettl shared. The Wabash Valley Chapter made it fun by hosting “A Taste of NTI” at which chapter members presented their experience from the 2008 NTI in Chicago. As Wheeler stated, “It was a fun celebration of acute care nursing on a much smaller scale.”
Look for part three of this article in the March issue of AACN News.
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Chapter Listserv Hot Topic: Seminar Fees
Chapter officers and members often use the Chapter Listserv to ask questions and share best practices while networking with other chapters. A recent “hot topic” of discussion was seminar fees. Wanda Lewis, education co-chair of the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, posted the following question on the Listserv:
“What is your fee schedule for one- and two-day seminars? Do you give local members a bigger discount than national, and do you give them a free local membership for attending?”
Responses came in from around the country. Here’s what other chapters shared:
Our one-and two-day seminars are usually $160 to $250. On our two-day if they go both days, the second day is discounted, so it is less expensive to go both days. Our local Greater St. Louis Chapter fee is discounted, national members pay a little more and non-AACN participants pay the most. We also have a discounted rate for national members wishing to join our chapter. Those folks pay the GSLC member fee plus the cost of joining the chapter. We usually get 10 to 20 new members this way. Also, we give the chapter member rate to members of the Southwest Illinois Chapter in Belleville, which is just across the river in Illinois, if they send proof of membership in that chapter. The only time we gave free membership was the year we made a lot of money. That year we gave free membership to the GSLC to anyone who was a national member, even those from out of state. Interestingly, the out-of-state attendees who received this membership have continued to maintain it, and it was almost 10 years ago that we did that.
Judi Reeves, Symposium Committee Member Greater St. Louis (Mo.) Chapter
Our registration fees depend on the venue of the seminar. In April 2007, our two-day annual spring seminar held at the Conference Center at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale cost $150 for AACN members and $180 for non-AACN members (these are the early registration fees). In April 2008, we had a one-day seminar at the Hard Rock Hotel where we charged $110 for AACN members and $125 for non-AACN members (early registration). For our 2009 seminar, we are currently looking into adjusting fees for chapter members, which we have done in the (remote) past.
Divina Sirokie, Past President Broward County Chapter, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
For a one-day conference we charge $65 for nonmembers and $50 for members. We have offered 6.5 contact hours for a one-day conference.
Peggy Piette, President-Elect White Mountain Chapter, Littleton, N.H.
Networking with your chapter peers is a wonderful resource, as evidenced by the feedback shared here. We invite you to join the Chapter Listserv and become a part of this great chapter networking community. To join, go to www.aacn.org > Community > Chapters > Chapter Listserv. Other resources available to you include your Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) and Chapter Department staff at the national AACN office. Please contact your CAT at Regionfirstname.lastname@example.org, the national office at www.aacn.org or toll-free at (800) 394-5995, ext. 365 or ext. 313.
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Chapter Listserv Hot Topic: Fundraising and Membership Drive
The Chapter Listserv is a great resource for chapter officers and members to learn what other chapters are doing, and for sharing ideas and best practices. Theresa Harris, president-elect of the Southern Tennessee Valley Chapter, recently posted the following message on the Listserv:
“We just started our local chapter and were wondering if you had any ideas for fundraising. We’re a small chapter with only about 15 members right now, so we need to find ways to raise funds to pay for some educational endeavors. We are also having a membership drive; if you have any ideas that also would be appreciated. Thanks.”
The very first fundraisers we did were:
1. Making baskets from donated items, such as lotions, body splash, etc., and we sold tickets to raffle the baskets before our educational meetings. We sold tickets for $1. Maybe now with gas prices, you can sell them for $2 to $5.
2. Offering BLS or ACLS classes. Ask a Community Training Center to help you sponsor the classes.
3. Educational seminars generate revenue and are also a good way to increase
Jean Uy, Past President
Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, Houston, Texas
CAT Region 7
Congratulations on starting a chapter. My chapter did this two years ago when we were first chartered. We decided on a raffle: $1/ticket or $5/six tickets. We made up six baskets of summer-related items. Themes included summer fun, a barbecue, a day at the beach, etc., and each hospital’s group of nurses donated items. We ran the raffle for three weeks and made about $1,200. It was enough to get us going and have a conference in the fall.
Peggy Piette, President-Elect
White Mountain Chapter, Littleton, N.H
The Broward County Chapter funds come from annual educational programs, membership dues, 50/50 raffles at some educational events, and donations from past speakers who give back their honorariums to the chapter fund. We have also tried selling presidential theme pins at our monthly meetings, as well as basket raffles, book raffles and raffles for a free registration to our annual seminar. There were years when 3M donated cardiology stethoscopes and we sold $5 tickets to raffle off the stethoscopes.
Divina Sirokie, Past President
Broward County Chapter,
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
The Albemarle Area Chapter had a great fundraiser last spring. We called it the Easter Eggstravaganza and raised money for a scholarship for some high school seniors.
We had a silent auction, a Chinese raffle, a bake sale and an egg lotto (where they draw an egg out of a basket with anything from candy to $50). We are a small chapter too, so we received donations from the local community as well as our local members who donated products of their own talents, such as afghans, etc. We raised close to $4,000 and plan to make this an annual event.
As for membership, we just started our own Member Get a Member Campaign in which non-board members have a chance to win a $50 gas card if they recruit the most members. We are also focusing on the bulk membership concept so folks can save some money. It does help that our local hospital pays for half of a professional membership for its staff.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
Amy Taylor, President
Albemarle Area Chapter, Elizabeth City, N.C.
There are thousands of great ideas out there. We invite you to join the Chapter Listserv and become a part of this great chapter networking community. To join, go to www.aacn.org > Community > Chapters > Chapter Listserv. Other resources include your Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) and Chapter Department staff at the National AACN office. Please contact your CAT at Regionemail@example.com, the National office at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at (800) 394-5995, ext. 365 or ext. 313.
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Thank You, Chapter Poster Abstract Reviewers
Following are members who will be serving on the NTI 2009 Chapter Poster Abstract Review Panel:
Carol C. Boswell, RN, MS, CCRN
Marylee R. Bressie, RN, CNS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, CEN
Mary A. Bylone, RN, MSM, CCRN
Sheri K. Carey, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN
Brandee A. Fetherman, RN, BN, BS, CCRN, TNCC
Jessica M. Fuller, RN, BSN, CCRN
Sheila P. Harms, RN, CCRN, CPTC
Debra L. Kramlich, RN, BSN, CCRN
Michele L. Lanza, RN, BSN, CCRN
Summer E. LaSalle, RN, BSN, CCRN-CMC
Mary G. McKinley, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN
Ellen R. Peller, RN, BS, MSN, CCRN, PCCN
Sean G. Smith, RN, BSN, BBA, CCRN, EMT-P, TNCC
Laura J. Thompson, RN, BN,
Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Christine E. Watson, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN
Lafayette Hill, Pa.
If you are interested in this or other volunteer opportunities, be sure your Volunteer Profile is updated to indicate your interests. Go to www.aacn.org > Community > Volunteer Opportunities > Access Your Volunteer Profile.
President’s Award for Chapters
The deadline to submit your application for the President’s Award for Chapters is Feb. 15, 2009. This is your opportunity to showcase the work your chapter has done “With Confidence.” The President’s Award for Chapters recognizes those chapters that best exemplify the AACN president’s theme throughout the year. Chapters will be evaluated on programs and activities that were completed from July 1 to date of submission, and programs that are planned for the rest of the year. The winning chapter or chapters will be selected by Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, RN, PhD, CCRN, AACN president, and will be awarded up to $4,000 for their chapter treasury. For an application or more information go to www.aacn.org > Membership > Awards, Grants and Scholarships and then click on Chapter Award & Application Program Information. The winning chapter(s) will be announced by mid-March.
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