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Chapter leaders, speakers work to give members the most for their membership.

'IABC knows where it's going and how it's going to get there," said Don Bruun, ABC, IABC chairman, opening the 1996 IABC Chapter Leaders Institute in Atlanta, Ga.

Close to 150 IABC chapter leaders from around the world met on November 8-9 for the conference to share best practices for chapter management and recognize chapter management award winners.

Over the two days, attenders received an overview of IABC's structure, membership and governing body; brainstormed tactics to increase voluntarism, effectively manage all aspects of the chapter and build effective teams; and learned how to market IABC to select populations and assess their chapter's management efforts.

The first session of the conference focused on the communicators' changing world and how to use the resulting instability it creates to advance our organizations, our IABC chapters and our personal goals.

"It's later than it's ever been before," said speaker Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. "We can't afford to not be creative thinkers."

According to Goman, communicators should thrive in the instability they face, and, in fact, communication is even more necessary when the environment is unstable. "Everyone thinks the risk is in change, and there is some," Goman continued. "But, the greater risk is to not change in a changing world."

Voluntarism

As many can attest, we are bombarded by requests for our time, but we have less and less to give. How do potential volunteers choose where to expend their efforts?

Mike Heron, immediate past chairman of IABC, led a discussion on the importance of voluntarism and how to identify and solicit volunteers. Most people never volunteer, Heron says, because of the NEAM principle - Nobody Ever Asked Me. The key reason people volunteer is because it's fun, so focus on finding a good fit for your volunteers and include time for play as well as work.

Other Tips Included:

* Write a job description on an index card listing the expectations and budget so a volunteer knows the commitment. And, don't focus on the means, only the ends.

* Recognize your volunteers regularly, and how they wish. Not everyone wants another certificate to hang on the wall.

* Survey inactive members and find out why they're not volunteering.

* Never stop asking.

Learning from Each Other

One of the best aspects of the conference was the opportunity to hear what other chapters are doing and find out what strategies are working. Some successful ventures included:

* Kansas City's Communication Boot Camp - Evening sessions were held once a week for six weeks and covered a variety of communication topics.

* IABC/Calgary charges nonmembers CDN $35 for chapter luncheons, almost double the member/student rate of CDN $18 - and they pay it. This practice helped them raise more than CDN $3,000 to cover newsletter costs and provide scholarships.

* Silicon Valley's themed awards program - This chapter held its annual awards program at a museum with an Egyptian exhibit. Awards were engraved with the "Excavation Date" and "Archaeologist."

RELATED ARTICLE: Dallas/IABC Picked Chapter of the Year

Dallas/IABC was named IABC's Outstanding Chapter for 1996 and also won Outstanding Large Chapter (201 or more members) in the 1996 Chapter Management Awards competition. Dallas/IABC also won awards of excellence in member marketing, professional development, financial management and communication. 1996 was an exceptional year for IABC/Dallas - hosting the international conference, winning Chapter of the Year and developing an innovative team leadership structure for the chapter.

IABC/Regina and IABC/Brazos Valley were chosen as outstanding chapters in the medium (76-200 members) and small (15-75 members) chapter categories. Other award winners were IABC/Los Angeles, IABC/Phoenix, IABC/Utah, IABC/Long Beach-South Bay, IABC/Houston, IABC/Austin, IABC/Omaha, IABC/Columbus, IABC/Kentucky and IABC/Grand Valley.

Angela Fowler is a marketing communication specialist for Blue Cross Blue Shield of the National Capital Area in Washington, D.C. She serves as vice president of special programs for IABC/Washington.
COPYRIGHT 1996 International Association of Business Communicators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:1996 International Association of Business Communicators Chapter Leaders Institute
Author:Fowler, Angela
Publication:Communication World
Date:Dec 1, 1996
Words:648
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