Life as a Chapter President


...Our Next Chapter President!

So how long has it been since you've been at the top of the heap? Were you a class president some 30 years ago? Were you in a civic organization or did you serve as your company's president? Well, get ready to do it again. The players have changed but it's still the Game of Responsibility. You have now become the most valuable person in your chapter.

There's a saying that "it's lonely at the top." When you're at the top, you become the dreamer, the planner, the head cheerleader. It's your vision. And certainly by now, you've given considerable thought towards serving as a chapter president.

We will appoint you as chapter president because 1) you have taken the initiative to start a chapter in your area, 2) we feel you have the leadership qualities necessary to launch a successful chapter, and 3) you had illustrated your desire by your investment of your time.

Although the Bylaws of your chapter spell-out specific duties and responsibilities, your ultimate responsibility to to provide cohesiveness within your chapter. You'll run the monthly membership meetings, recognize key performers and various chairpersons in front of their peers and hand out awards at golf tournaments. You are the chapter president. You'll set your own bar and you'll know if you've done good or not.

Serve your chapter well your first year and you will set the standard for future chapter presidents. You will have an organized Board of Directors who will assist you in your endeavors and it's important you lean on them. Don't be afraid to “appoint” people to head-up certain areas - - if that's your leadership style. Getting people to assist you is a reflection on YOU, not them!

The "paycheck" for volunteers and the leaders who organize events is at your general membership meeting and through the newsletter. You do this through RECOGNITION and PRAISE for those who've done good - - an effective way to continue to get people to help you on future endeavors. A verbal "pat-on-the-back" goes a long way. Chapter do-gooders should get a round of applause at your meetings and a definite "mention" in the monthly chapter newsletter.

You Run the Monthly Meeting

As chapter president, the monthly meeting is your opportunity to shine! Your number one goal at that meeting is to make the meeting Educational, Entertaining, and Enlightening. Think “the three E's!” Every member or visitor should have one thought in their mind when leaving the meeting: This meeting was great and I definitely want to make the meeting next month! How often have you attended a meeting and left with the though "this isn't for me!"

In order to entice guests at your meetings to join, put yourself in their seats when you're running a meeting. If you want to know what John Smith buys then look through John Smith's eyes. Always look at yourself through the eyes of your guests. If you see them smiling, having fun, meeting others in your chapter, then they will join. Get them to laugh and never embarass a guest or a member unless you never want to see them again.

Oddly enough, you might see some members at the monthly membership meeting and never on the golf course! They joined for social reasons and may not feel comfortable in a group setting on the golf course. But as chapter president, it's your responsibility to make sure everyone is welcomed into your organization. None of our chapters around the country are “exclusive” golf clubs loaded with golf purists and single-digit handicapped players. You'll certainly see the full spectrum of people coming to your meetings and golf outings.

Keep your meeting lively and move it along. Handle business at your Board meetings, not your general membership meeting. To keep your meeting moving along, use this sample agenda as a guide.

But you must understand that, as chapter president, you are IN CHARGE AT THE MEETING. This means that it is YOUR agenda. If you feel something isn't right, the chapter will look to you to make changes. Committee chairpersons and others may stand-up, make announcements and answer questions, but you are the emcee for the meeting and should maintain order the proper pace. In essence, you set the tone for the meetings.

After your meeting is over, it's a good idea to consult with a close friend or two in your chapter and simply ask them, “how do you think I handled the meeting tonight?” “Were things too slow or too fast at times, or was the meeting too boring, too long, too unorganized?” “What suggestions for improvement would you have?” In other words, get immediate feedback.

Join, Join, Join

Continuing with the reasoning that “singles want to meet other singles,” you have to realize that guests that attend your monthly membership meeting will generally only come ONE TIME as a guest. Two other things then happen: they either join or they never come back again.

A “successful chapter” can be defined in a number of ways: 1) it continues to grow, 2) members are enjoying themselves, 3) attendance is good at your events, 4) people renew their annual dues, 5) your Board of Directors active and effective, 6) and finally, “guests” at your meetings and golf outings turn into “members.”

Nationally, one out of three people that inquire about joining actually do. Is this a reasonable number? Most people say yes, however, look at it this way: if you had a store and three people walked into it and only one person bought something, would you feel you were meeting the needs of the other two people who walked in? Of course not. People are naturally inquisitive. Guests show up at meetings not knowing what's in store for them. All they know is that they've mustered-up enough nerve to come to one of these meetings by themselves and they have to feel they are welcome. If you're on the opposite side of the room huddling with a few of your Board members, then you're missing out on an opportunity to meet and greet the guests when they come in the door. Make sure you and your Membership Chairperson are both at the door welcoming guests - - and make them feel glad they came!

Why Don't They Join?

The Number One reason these guests don't join at your meeting is because they were not asked. They did their part - - they came to the meeting, introduced themselves and before they knew it, the meeting was over and no one asked them to join. So it is imperative that, under any definition, your guests must join your chapter in order for your chapter to maintain a level of success and satisfaction for it members. “If your chapter is not growing, it is dying!”

Guests must be given an application and newsletter upon arrival and after they're introduced, your role is to welcome them into the chapter, ask them to go ahead and complete the application, and you (or Membership Committee members) will answer any questions they may have at the end of the meeting. But in all cases, make sure guests are invited to join the chapter at their first meeting.

"If you join tonight, you can go ahead and play in our golf outing this weekend..." is the simple nudge they need. They're either interested in joining ASGA for the golf or to meet someone (social reasons), and we put it all together!

You want your local chapter to be an effective chapter. It's up to you to keep it from sliding into the world of "no one cares anymore." Be a good organizer. Be a good delegator. Be a good cheerleader. And most of all, enjoy the experience. Serving as a president of anything gives life greater meaning. Being part of ASGA will give your life the joys it deserves!

Anything beats playing a great course by yourself!

ASGA Makes the Difference!