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How do I Form a Foundation Chapter
by Forbes Burnham Foundation
Posted on 2010-05-10

Mobilisation and Chapter formation -Forbes Burnham Foundation?

These guidelines outline an step-by-step process that will help you form a Forbes Burnham Foundation Chapter.

Step 1 - Sow the seeds with local discussion

Step 2 - Form the group

Step 3 - Administration: Deciding whether to incorporate? Be insured? Banking? TIN
registration? Office bearers?

Step 4 - Plan your work and monitor your progress

Step 5 - Evaluate your progress – Celebrate and promote your achievements

Step 1: Sow the seed — growing the idea

• The first step in forming a Chapter/Group is to start some local discussion about FBF - activities, and the need for a local chapter.

• Link the objectives of the FBF to the needs of the community.

This would be informed by the broader objectives of the FBF. Of essence therefore, is that each member at the leadership level must be familiar with the objectives of the foundation.

• You and a few friends or neighbours might have an idea of what the issues are for you and what you want to do, notwithstanding, there are benefits in discussing this around your local area. In identifying local issues, we can engage local stakeholders (eg schools, businesses, NGOs, organisations) (and your local government.)

• It is important to be clear about why your chapter is needed and what it wants to do.

• ‘Sow the seed’ to find out what support you might have and what other issues people in your local area have by:

- canvassing neighbours – talking to people in your area.
- calling a public meeting or local get-together (could be an informal working bee or property visit) at which the local issues are discussed and the potential function of a chapter and its benefits can be explained to a wide cross-section of the community.
- arranging for a representative of the National Executive (committee) to address a local meeting.

• Before forming a group it is also important to consider organisations and groups already existing in the area.

• Find out whether it is possible to form links with them (or even utilise them – don’t start a new group when an existing one will do the job!) and to learn from them.

• To be effective, your chapter will need to have the confidence of your local community. If the group wants to develop funding partnerships with the different levels of government and business it is important that you are credible in their eyes.

• There are a range of factors, particularly the membership, which will influence the credibility of your group. It is helpful that the membership represents as good a range of interests in the locality as possible.

• This strengthens your credibility considerably and also means you will have widespread support from your community which makes it much easier to get help and get things done.

Once you’ve talked around and decided that a group is needed you can start forming it.

Step 2: Form the group
• A FBF chapter can start with a few people – sometimes called a ‘steering’ group - whose job it is to oversee the setting up of your FBF chapter.

• It is essential that our steering group is credible in the eyes of your potential membership and has the support of the community to form a FBF Chapter.

• This core group can be selected in a number of way; at meeting (meeting), on recommendation; going to members in the community with an interest and availability.

• They should clarify:

- the objectives of the proposed ‘chapter’,
- the area to be covered by said chapter

Composition of your chapter

1. What are our objectives?

• Groups with clear objectives are more likely to work towards them and not get side tracked. They will be able to monitor their progress and celebrate milestones as they are achieved.

• It is important therefore, that each chapter have clear objectives.

• An example of an objective for your local group might be fairly specific:

• to raise community awareness and encourage cooperation between stakeholders, including
government agencies, to improve the environment.

• to encourage all stakeholder in a catchment to manage stock access to waterways, with the aim of increasing water quality in the river.

• Your group might have broader objectives:

• to reverse land, water and/or vegetation degradation, and manage natural resources so as to support sustainable production in our valley.

• to maintain and enhance the biodiversity of our district.

2. What Geographic Area do we cover?

The area to be served by a chapter should be small enough to ensure that members are able to relate effectively with the community but also large enough to attract general community interest.

Suitable boundaries may be a catchment, a district or a locality.

3. Who should be in our chapter?

• Once the core group or ‘steering’ committee has set the objectives and area, - ideally you want as wide a membership as possible who supports your chapter in its work.

• A chapter with a membership base that reflects the range of interests in the locality, has active contacts with local businesses, local government departments, as well as other community groups is well set to be effective.

• Always keep in mind ways to encourage new volunteers and retain your existing members.
Step 3: Administration - yes there is some!!

• Incorporation etc.

• The focus is on officer bearers; need persons who can deliver; capacity, commitment, and availability.

• Persons with the capacity to contribute to the goals of the chapter and by extension the foundation.

Step 4: Plan your work and monitor your progress

• The key to success is being clear about your objectives, what you want to achieve and planning what activities your group will do to achieve your objectives. It is important to be realistic about what your group can achieve.

• Once you have planned your actions and get started, it is important that you keep track of your progress.

• Monitoring is collecting information and keeping records (e.g. photos are great, a list of attendees at events, a brief note on what was achieved, the time, date and place). This will convince you and others that you are making progress (assuming you are) and will tell you whether or not your efforts are successful.

• The other advantage to keeping good records is that when your sponsors and project funding providers ask for a report you already have the information collected and can quickly write up a good short report, or simply show them your records and photos.

Step 5 Evaluate your progress – celebrate your achievements

• Evaluating or reviewing your progress is important, both during and at the end of your work.

• This is when you look at the information you have and make judgments about the success or otherwise of your efforts. Doing this throughout your project allows you to make changes if necessary.

• Evaluation allows you to report on how things are going and most importantly allows you and your chapter/group to celebrate your achievements.

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