We thank you for your interest in and efforts toward EFA’s chapter development.
If you’re interested in launching (or re-launching) a regional chapter, the next steps are to:
- Document interest from others in your region (you can do this through existing networks or via the EFA Discussion List)
- Identify other volunteers in your region who are interested in helping with the Chapter that will form your co-coordinating team (ideally two to six active EFA members)
- Reach out to the Chapter Development Chairperson (email@example.com) to indicate your interest, and discuss information needs (the EFA central office can provide chapter organizers with a list of EFA members in a given state region. If you generate a comma-delineated list of zip codes in your region, we can generate a very specific list of members.)
Once you have a team in place, the Chapter Development Chairperson will put in place your onboarding as a chapter coordinator. At this point, your chapter gets added to the EFA website, and you get access to a suite of resources as well as access to a dedicated the-efa.org email address for your chapter.
Your next step is to plan a launch event. You’ll want to make sure that you plan with sufficient advance notice to publicize the event in the monthly What’s New at the EFA feature, through the Discussion List, and via EFA’s social media channels.
Initial chapter formation efforts usually take from 30 to 90 days; actual chapter development time may vary.
What should our meetings be about? Chapter meetings can be of an informal, networking-only nature or focused on a formal topic or speaker that will help continue the education of editorial freelancers. Chapters have also successfully organized game nights and field trips. Chapter coordinators are encouraged to share ideas for successful events.
How often should we meet? This is up to the needs of the chapter coordinator
and members, but in order to maintain active chapter status, regional chapters meet a minimum of twice a year. Many chapters aim for quarterly meetings, with perhaps smaller, more localized get-togethers.
Where should we meet? Since the onset of COVID-19, most chapter meetings are held virtually via Zoom (we provide chapter coordinators with access to a pro Zoom account). We have found that the shift to virtual chapter events greatly enhanced EFA members’ access to, and engagement in, chapter events. As the public health situation has improved, some chapters are also returning to in-person events. For accessibility reasons, all chapters are strongly encouraged to continue to include at least some online or hybrid events.
For in-person events, free or nominal-cost meeting sites can be found by inquiring at your local churches, synagogues, public libraries, schools, universities, colleges, and community centers. Co-working spaces are another option in many cities. Cafes and restaurants can be busy but sometimes have meeting rooms.
Does the chapter have a budget for expenses? In preparation for each new fiscal year, or upon a chapter’s establishment, coordinators submit a budget request to the Chapter Development Chairperson. Budget requests are typically capped at $800 per fiscal year per chapter. The budgets can be used to cover costs including honorariums to speakers at meetings or teachers for local workshops/seminars/classes, room rentals, printing and copying, refreshments and snacks, prizes, and other chapter-related costs.
Some details regarding chapter budgets:
- If the featured speaker is a member of the EFA, they may not receive an honorarium over $100 value, either as a gift or reimbursement*.
- If any single meeting or event will cost greater than one-quarter of the annual chapter budget, those costs must be pre-approved by the chapter development chairperson before the expenditure is made.
- If the chapter hosts a booth or table on behalf of the EFA at a local or regional publishing or trade show event, costs for that will be paid out of a separate events budget, not the chapter budget. Events reimbursements requests follow the same procedure.
- Door prizes and other swag are covered in chapter budgets.
*As of October 2019, reimbursement requests must be submitted no more than 3 months after the date the expenses were incurred. –EFA Office
How do I get people to attend? Each chapter, once established, has its own webpage on the EFA site, and each coordinator will have access to it and be expected to post events on this site. Once a time, date, place, topic, and speaker are selected, follow the Chapter Coordinator Handbook recommendations for publicizing events. Information for each chapter event, whether in-person or virtual, must be included in the online events calendar. Some chapters also maintain their own mailing lists, instant messaging forums, or other means for ongoing internal communication.
How do I run a meeting? Each coordinator will have their own style, but all meetings should include a means of collecting attendees’ names, email addresses, and membership status (EFA member or guest). As part of registration or signing on to a chapter event, all participants should be asked to review and adhere to EFA’s Anti-Harassment Policy.
Each agenda should always include these three items in addition to the scheduled speaker/activity:
- Discussion of information and benefits of EFA and chapter membership, and providing opportunities to learn more
- Mention of local chapter goals in the context of EFA’s Strategic Plan
- Introduction of the key members/organizers, with their professional backgrounds; if the number of participants allows, have those present briefly introduce themselves and their editorial interests
Chapters do not need to keep official minutes of meetings, but it is good practice to identify a chapter member to prepare a brief write-up of the event for posting to the Chapter’s page on the EFA website (it’s a good idea to also paste this into an annual working draft of the chapter’s annual report).
Attendance at chapter meetings is free for EFA members. Meetings are typically open to non-members, though some chapters may opt to charge a nominal fee to encourage regular guests to join the EFA. This fee is typically associated with in-person events and then goes towards reimbursement of costs associated with hosting the meeting.
What are the chapter coordinator’s responsibilities?
The chapter coordinator works to provide learning, networking, and socializing opportunities for EFA members in a specific region or around a specific specialty. The position generally requires fewer than ten hours per month.
Most of the coordinator’s time is dedicated to planning meetings and events— communicating with potential/actual speakers or facilitators of meetings and workshops, booking and arranging the meeting room, and providing snacks and refreshments.
Chapter coordinators must also announce and post meetings to official EFA outlets (website, relayed to social media team) and check and respond to chapter emails. They may consider organizing representation for the EFA at local events or conferences where participation would be beneficial to freelance editors and this organization.
We strongly encourage chapters to use a team approach, so that chapter co-coordinators can share in this work. In some chapters, these teams are divided according to tasks (for example, one co-coordinator focused on securing speakers, another focused on communication and outreach, etc.); in other chapters, co-coordinators may take responsibility for different sub-regions in that chapter and trade off monitoring the chapter email account.
Chapter coordinators must join the EFA’s official communication channel and participate in the forum, as this is the mechanism through which they receive notifications and important administrative information and communicate with the chapter development chairperson. Currently, the official forum for this is hosted on Groups.io; chapter coordinators receive access to this site as part of their onboarding.
THE CHAPTER COORDINATOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH ALL LOCAL LAWS.
Chapter coordinators are responsible for making a concerted effort to keep topics and discussions professional, inclusive, and appropriate, and to always keep larger EFA interests and image in mind.
Updated August 2022