Chapter Development and the EFA

When I started my independent editorial services company, Two Songbirds Press, I joined the EFA immediately. It made sense to me that the best way to increase my business savvy was to meet people who could fill in the gaps in my knowledge and pick their brains. I also recognized that there were many things I could teach others. One of the first things I did with the org was start up a regional EFA chapter here in Sacramento. I wanted a chance to sit in a room with other people who were working their way through some of the same challenges I was facing as a new, full-time freelancer.

I found another EFA member, Susan Herman—now of Rhuby Editorial—who was interested in co-coordinating the meetings with me, and our chapter took off. The first meeting of the Northern California chapter was at a local co-working spot: a California bungalow painted yellow, called ThinkHouse Collective, run by a graduate school friend of mine. I had been a member of the writing community here for a few years and had associates who I knew valued opportunities to share their wealth of knowledge.

The topics of our early meetings have long since left my brain, replaced no doubt in part by some of the topics the other twenty-four EFA chapters have offered their regional members. I loved volunteering with the NorCal EFA chapter so much, I joined the board of governors and stepped into the role of Chapter Development Chairperson for the entire organization.

I’m not precisely sure how many years I’ve been the point person for new chapter development, chapter building and maintenance, but it’s been a really great run. (If you want to learn more about what the Chapter Development Chairperson does at the EFA, you can take a look at this little video I made. )

Way back in 1997, regional chapter development was initiated to enrich the EFA experience for the increasing number of members outside the New York headquarters area. Today, when you visit the-efa.org website, you’ll see that regional chapters are a large part of what the organization offers its members. The EFA has regional chapters all across the country, and has had international chapters also. New ones form as the interest arises. The pins on this map represent our active chapters.

Chapter meetings and other activities are listed on individual chapter pages and on the events calendar, and are managed by the chapter organizer in each area. To quote another member from our site: “We have flourishing chapters around the country not because the board decreed it, but because motivated members did.”

The Editorial Freelancers Association often participates in events, such as book festivals and trade conferences that are good opportunities for promoting the organization to the publishing industry and the public. The events committee relies on local chapters to find these events and also to be the face of our organization. It’s another way chapter members can get experience, connection, and give back all at the same time.

Becoming a more active EFA member is a great way to network, learn, and even to get connected with potential clients. If there is no chapter in your region, consider starting one! You must be a member to create an EFA chapter. More information about starting a chapter is available on the website, or by reaching out to me at chapters@the-efa.org.

Though it has changed meeting locations, and members come and go, nearly a decade after the first meeting of the NorCal EFA chapter, it is still going strong—Susan Herman rocks! Check out the fantastic offerings out there, and take some time to reach out and let the chapter coordinator in your area know you appreciate what they are doing for the benefit of the organization and its regional members.

 

Blog post contributed by Robin Martin, owner of Two Songbirds Press, Chapter Development Chairperson, and EFA member since 2009. She is on Instagram and Twitter @sacramentorobin.