- Have a pool of potential/active chapter members
- Scheduling activities for members/potential members
Finding volunteers and keeping up momentum as you are starting a new chapter can be hard. When chapters are first established, we recommend focusing efforts on recruiting volunteers, building your membership by collecting emails, and focusing on programming.
Start Up chapters need some basic resources in order to attract members, host events, and conduct day-to-day business. The following bullet points provide some suggested sources of in-kind goods and services that chapters will need at some point.
Meeting/ Event Space
- Many YNPN Chapters meet after business hours at a volunteer’s office and utilize an empty conference room. Hosting these meetings at local nonprofit organizations can be a great way for volunteers to get to learn about other organizations. It is also an easy way for volunteers to contribute, while showcasing their organization.
- Public spaces like libraries, coffee shops, restaurants, schools, etc.
- Volunteer homes.
Many chapters make use of such free email accounts as gmail or yahoo and take advantage of other free online tools such as Google docs, Facebook, and Doodle.
Once Start Up chapters become more established, National can support chapters to develop a website using NationBuilder.
Event Speakers/ Consultants
- Many seasoned nonprofit professionals respect the work of YNPN and are willing to volunteer their time to participate in a panel, speak at an event, or provide consulting services.
- Professors at local colleges or universities that deal with nonprofit management programs are often willing to speak at events. They often will ask if they can promote their programs at the event and it turns out to be a good partnership for both the nonprofit program and YNPN.
- Local professionals (i.e. attorneys, accountants, consultants, etc.) that specialize in nonprofit matters make great panelists or event speakers when talking about a specific topic. They also like to promote their services, which makes it a great marketing opportunity for their businesses.
Office/ Event Supplies
- Everyone knows that providing food at events helps to increase participation and overall enjoyment. Providing food for chapter events is a great way for a restaurant or caterer to promote their services to many organizations at the same time. Additionally, many supermarkets will provide food donations and simply need to be asked.
- Start Up chapters often need basic things like paper, copies, markers, flip chart paper, etc. Many chapters either ask volunteers to purchase these things from time to time or ask permission to use a limited amounts of work resources.
Promoting Your Chapter through Events
Putting on the first event is a major milestone for Start Up chapters. Given the amount of work involved in starting a chapter we recommend that you start simple. Events should serve a dual purpose: serve the mission of YNPN by providing a meaningful networking or professional development opportunity for young nonprofit professionals, and at the same time raise the profile of your chapter and create great opportunities to attract new members and collect email addresses.
The following bullet points provide some ideas of easy first events for Start Up chapters.
- Organize a social event after an already scheduled conference or co-sponsor a social event with an already established organization such as the local chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
- Work with a newly opened bar or restaurant to host a happy hour. The bar or restaurant will most likely provide some sort of deal in exchange for exposure and many young nonprofit professionals will be eager to attend if it is a new and interesting place.
- Host an open house at a volunteer’s place of employment and provide refreshments. This can particularly work well if a volunteer works someplace especially interesting (e.g. museum, gallery, nature center, etc.)
- Secure a locally known speaker and organize a workshop or discussion focused on topical and timely issues.
- Start a book club and include nonprofit management related readings.
- Invite a Senior Executive from a local non profit to talk about his or her career path and issues affecting the sector.
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