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StarChapter of April: Baltimore NACE

Get more members on board with the chapter’s mission and activity – this is what makes Baltimore NACE such a successful organization. We spoke with Rachel Hoffberger, the chapter’s President to learn more about how they run things.

1. What was Baltimore NACE’s strategy for engaging new members in 2014?
Last year we attempted to beef up our Ambassador program, wherein we paired veteran members with new members or first-time meeting attendees to help them feel welcome and learn their way around the chapter. We were also fortunate enough to host the NACE National conference, Experience! 2014, which was a huge draw for our chapter. The need for sponsors and volunteers was so great that we utilized and engaged almost every member of the chapter somehow. We even had new members join just so they could be a part of the conference!

2. Can you tell me about a successful event/meeting that you organized in the past year?
One of our best meetings of the year was called “Event Photography 101”. It was hosted at the warehouse of one of our members, Fabrication Events. The program was led by 4 of our member photographers, who first served as a panel of experts on how we, as event professionals, can document our events in photographs in order to market them in the future. Then, those panelists hosted break-out tutorials, each focusing on different areas of expertise.  For instance, one focused on how to get great photos with your Smartphone. Another demonstrated great food shots. Each of 4 meetings not only includes an educational program, but a networking hour and a dinner.  Everything is fully sponsored by our members, including décor!

3. Baltimore NACE grew in the past year. Can you share some secrets of running such a successful chapter?
We have always had a strong chapter, and each year we are looking for fresh ways to keep our members engaged and draw in new members. We really push people to get involved on committees. It’s the best way to grow personally and professionally, as well as to give back to the chapter. It keeps our members interested, and they stick around. We’ve been known to create small committees just to give an interested member a way to stay involved.

4. Did you get inspired by other NACE chapters? 
We always look to other chapters for inspiration. The Houston chapter is always a big inspiration to us, especially when it comes to their large student chapter. Getting a student chapter off the ground is something we have really struggled with, despite the fact that the Baltimore area has some great hospitality programs. We also look to some of the other chapters for their unique fundraising and program ideas.

5. Do you have any tips to share with other volunteers?
Embrace the experience and have fun with it! Remember that you are a part of a larger group, so you can call on others volunteers to help and make it a collaborative effort. We all spend a lot of time with other volunteers in our chapters, so having fun and making the most of the experience is of the utmost importance.

6. What is in stored for Baltimore NACE members in 2015? 
We plan to grow again in 2015! We have a great strategic plan to gain new members and retain existing members.  By growing our membership, we hope to gain new insight and ideas from the new players involved. We are also revamping our fundraising program to gain new interest.

7. How did StarChapter help you run the chapter and reach your goals? 
StarChapter has all the tools we need in order to effectively run the administrative side of the chapter. By seeing helpful reports and statistics, we can see where our chapter is thriving and where it needs improvement. We pay close attention to these reports and address them regularly.  

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