AMWA Implementing New Formal Agreement with Chapters
The AMWA Board of Directors (BOD) reviewed governance documents to ensure that AMWA is adhering to best practices for nonprofit associations. In early February 2017, AMWA notified its members about updating the AMWA Constitution to be consistent with current laws and best practices. AMWA also implemented a new formal agreement with its chapters.
This agreement, the AMWA Chapter License and Affiliation Agreement, was developed with the advice of legal counsel and includes standard essential provisions found in many association agreements with chapter or regional affiliates. The agreement does not change the current relationship between chapters and AMWA; rather, it formalizes expectations and requirements. The AMWA BOD approved implementation of the agreement at its October 2016 meeting.
The value of AMWA membership is enhanced through local activities, and AMWA recognizes the importance of chapter activities in the overall member experience. The agreement helps to ensure that chapters provide activities that meet member preferences and needs and fulfill AMWA’s mission in local areas. The requirements in the agreement help to ensure that the member experience is enhanced at the local level and that the chapter is sustainable over the long term.
BENEFITS OF AMWA CHAPTER AGREEMENT
Enhanced Member Experience
- Regularly scheduled educational and networking events
- Routine communications about chapter activities
- Up-to-date website with chapter leader information
- Volunteer opportunities
- Leadership continuity through ensuring that chapter officer positions remain filled
- Adherence to AMWA and Chapter Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and Bylaws
- Maintenance of Chapter Board meeting minutes
Many of the requirements outlined in the agreement have been in place for decades. For example, AMWA has required chapters to establish themselves as independent entities with formal governance bodies and documents, to submit semiannual reports on activities, and to keep adequate financial and corporate records. The agreement also includes terms that cover modern issues such as confidentiality and protection of member information, and fulfilling requirements of new state and federal laws for nonprofit organizations. The Chapter Agreement also protects the reputation and mitigates potential risk for both the national organization and its chapters, including chapter leaders.
Chapter leaders have been asking AMWA for better clarity about what is expected and required of them as local leaders. By clearly defining expectations and requirements, the chapter agreement helps to ensure that chapter leaders govern and offer activities consistently and appropriately. AMWA appreciates the hard work and dedication of AMWA chapter leaders, who not only coordinate networking and educational opportunities but also assume the administrative tasks required to govern the chapter. AMWA also recognizes the challenges of chapter governance in light of waning volunteerism. Maintaining a sufficient number of volunteers to carry out chapter activities has been a challenge, as expressed by many chapter leaders over the past several years.
Members of the AMWA Executive Committee and staff have been providing support and resources to assist chapter leaders in making the decision to sign the agreement. Chapter leaders must decide whether it is feasible to sustain volunteer leadership and meet the requirements in the agreement over the long term. If you have time to volunteer for your chapter, expressing your interest in a volunteer role in your chapter can help your chapter officers make this decision. If a chapter decides that it is not feasible to maintain the formal chapter structure, members in the chapter’s geographic area can still hold networking events as part of an informal regional networking group. Such a group still enhances the member experience at the local level, but the burden of governance and administrative tasks is eliminated. If this happens, members in the former chapter's geographic region retain all their AMWA member benefits, and AMWA will engage members in that area to form volunteer positions and groups to plan and implement regional education and networking events in that area.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel to write to the AMWA President at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.