Chapter meetings and events are among the most important tools you have for recruiting and motivating members. To be successful, it’s important to plan activities that are tailored to fit the needs of your unique membership. The ideas below can help you creatively address the different interests of your members while also giving them a wide range of opportunities to learn.
How To Have an Effective Meeting
If possible, meet at a consistent time and location so members can always have it in their schedules. Members who don’t see your reminder email or tweet will still know where to be.
Adequately publicize Chapter meetings
There are many media you can use to properly promote your Chapter meetings such as:
- Mass Chapter emails.
- Social media.
- Campus newspaper.
- College bulletin boards, message boards, broadcast emails, etc.
- Professors and class talks.
- Magnets for dormitory refrigerators.
- Bookmarks for the campus textbook store.
- Create an agenda with specific objectives and goals for your meeting. See a sample in the Chapter Handbook (PDF).
- Avoid group discussion of matters that only pertain to a small portion of those in attendance.
- Be punctual regarding start and end times, and make members aware of the strict start time so they arrive early and can count on the time frame you’ve given them.
- Have one person lead the meeting.
- At the end of each agenda item, briefly summarize what has been accomplished and decided, emphasizing due dates and action items.
Chapter leaders ask all the time what type of events they can host and/or how to keep meetings fresh and creative. Here are our tips:
- Survey members or have a Chapter brainstorming session at the beginning of the planning year to find out what they are interested in learning at meetings and what they expect to get out of their membership.
- Invite a professor or local professional to speak. Topics can include:
- Job and internship advice.
- Résumé and portfolio building.
- Mock interviews.
- Industry-focused public relations (entertainment, healthcare, nonprofit, government, corporate, etc.).
- Agency vs. in-house public relations.
- Host a case-study competition. Create teams with members or invite nearby Chapters to join.
- Take your Chapter on an agency visit. These are a great way for your members to network, learn and get a taste of work life in public relations.
- Give your members opportunities to get to know one another and work as a group. Plan an after-meeting dinner, have a holiday party, host a Homecoming tailgate or organize a Chapter retreat.
- Bring your membership together to participate in a PRSSA National Twitter chat. Meet at the nearest coffee shop and bring your laptops.
Holding a fundraiser can increase your Chapter unity and provide funds to help members attend events. Fundraisers are also another source for meeting and event ideas. See our fundraising suggestions and review past winners of the FUNdraising Bowl.
Need more ideas? Visit the fundraisers page, ask other Chapter presidents through the chapter presidents Google Group, contact the vice president of Chapter development, or start a conversation on PRSSA’s social media.