StarChapter of May: ALA Nutmeg

Updated: 05/01/2018  |  Category: StarChapter Successes

 

The Nutmeg Chapter of the ALA was established in 1980 and currently has about 60 members in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Their membership is comprised of large and small private law firms, nonprofit legal organizations as well as corporate and governmental legal departments.  The goal of the chapter is to provide personal and professional growth and educational and networking opportunities to Administrators and Legal Managers with varied legal backgrounds. They also strive to educate the legal profession as to the advantages of developing the professional management of their organizations and how legal administrators can affect positive change.  We were able to connect with Gail P. Faherty, Past-President Nutmeg Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and Technology Chair to see how they are able to accomplish just that.

 

1. What was ALA Nutmeg Chapter’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

The Nutmeg Chapter consists of members throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, a fairly large geographic area and is one of the many Chapters of the Association of Legal Administrators, ALA.  Along with area luncheon groups for the main areas, (i.e. Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield County) the Chapter offers excellent educational workshops and events with presenters on topics ranging from Human Resources to Technology.  These workshops are engaging given the breadth of subject matters and the format of events.  Members and even business partners can mingle and network in a personal and relevant way.  The website is extremely important to our strategy as events are displayed on the home page and the postings are sent two or three times to members as emails.  Members RSVP online and a tabulation of attendees is automatic.

2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year

The most popular and successful program last year involved a lot of humor combined with important human resources information.  As is always the case, Employment Law update programs are well-attended.  An asset of ALA is our ability to network and have high-end educational opportunities.  The Nutmeg Chapter was able to retain a popular presenter, Attorney Michael Cohen of Duane Morris in Philadelphia.  He presented issues such as harassment, diversity and law updates, using his unique blend of presentation skills and humor.

3. The ALA Nutmeg Chapter network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

The ALA is the main organization for legal administrators and education of all types of administrators.  Numerous conferences, webinars, podcasts, e-Material and hard copy publications offer an extensive array of information to feel the pulse of the legal industry.  Through listservs, calls and conferences, board members and interested members share information related to membership value, what is working, what is not, what are the challenges facing our Chapter, and so on.  In fact, it was one of these sessions that I found out about StarChapter and the rest is history!   That idea was of tremendous value for members creating an integrated website and communication tool. 

4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

I have worked with various website hosting platforms over the years and maintained websites.  I find that volunteer organizations struggle to find volunteers to maintain websites, send out communications and keep up with what works for the membership.  The major advantage of StarChapter is being able to delegate and assign the board or committee chairs the relevant section.  This makes things much more efficient as each committee chair can focus on one area.  For example, the Membership Chair maintains the membership listing and updates it each year at renewal.  Another person updates the events, and another can send out email notices. The Business Partner Chair maintains the Business Partner section.  It is no longer a one or two-person operation.

5. What is in store for your members this year?

A great year is in store for the Nutmeg Chapter. Educational programs have been developed and listed on the website.  The board encourages members to attend an event to take advantage of networking opportunities.   Chapter members will continue to use the StarChapter Forum to seek answers to questions or get information.   Although administrators embrace and effectuate change, the ability to reach out to get answers or assistance is priceless. 

6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run the ALA Nutmeg Chapter and reach its goals?

StarChapter has been instrumental in helping the Nutmeg Chapter attain its goals.  Recently, the site was updated for mobility on different devices but in doing so, we were able to refresh the look of the site and make it better than ever given our budget.   When it comes to income, we must rely on our Business Partners as well as Membership dues to offer interesting educational programs, our main focus.  StarChapter allows us to spend limited time maintaining the site so we can focus on our other needs while staying within our budget and offering solutions and training. 

 

ALA Nutmeg

 

 

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StarChapter of April: ARMA Detroit

Updated: 04/03/2018  |  Category: StarChapter Successes

For over 60 years the Detroit Chapter of ARMA International (ARMA) has been a local leader in records and information management. Their primary mission is to promote and advance the professional competency of its members to enable them to provide records and information management leadership and expertise within their organizations and communities, as well as to provide a networking opportunity to share and learn from others. We were able to connect with Glen Foldessy to get more insight into how their chapter engages with their members and non-members in order to succeed.  We are very appreciative of Glen & the ARMA Detroit chapter for championing StarChapter since 2012 and helping to improve the member experience for a lot of ARMA chapters because of it.

 

  1.      What was ARMA Detroit Chapter’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

We get engaged with new members initially when they join the parent organization and are notified when a new member joins our chapter. From this point we send a customized welcome letter from our President that details how to create their login credentials for the members section of our website. Additionally, we create a free meeting voucher that they can use to attend one of our monthly meetings. During the coming year we are planning to expand our new member welcome outreach through a combination of direct-mail and outreach.

 

  1.      Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year.

The Detroit Chapter hosts a golf outing in September and in recent years it has become one of the Chapter’s premier social networking events. The event is primarily marketed to members and prospects, but it also has become a large marketing component of the Chapter’s annual sponsorship program.  Attendance is generally around 30-40 participants, so the sponsors who attend enjoy a casual and intimate networking opportunity. Costs for the event are all-inclusive and have virtually remained flat for the past 10 years because of generous sponsors. Net proceeds—approximately $1,000 each year—are split between the Chapter's charitable giving activities and the operating budget to help defray educational programming costs.

 

  1.      The ARMA Detroit Chapter network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

ARMA chapter leaders from around the world have numerous opportunities to get engaged to share best practices and ideas, such as “community forums,” regional leadership conferences and the annual conference and expo. At the regional level in particular we meet several times per year to brainstorm how we can improve member value. To be honest, the decision for the Detroit Chapter to adopt the StarChapter platform was driven mainly by our desire to improve the overall member experience in interacting with the chapter. Our switch to StarChapter back in 2012 has resulted in 19 other ARMA chapters to do the same. Imitation is after all one of the highest forms of flattery.

 

  1.      Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

I’ve been volunteering for several professional organization boards most of my 25 year career and one of the biggest piece of advice I can offer to anyone that belongs to a board is to not get burned out. Don’t feel like you have to do all the work or carry the weight of organization on your shoulders alone.

 

  1.      What is in store for your members this year?

We’ve had a great year so far with a wide variety of educational programs and interesting speakers. Our fiscal year ends in June, so we try to have fun at our last meeting and make it more of a social gathering as a way to thank our members for their involvement throughout the year. We discount the ticket prices by offsetting it with both chapter funds as well as sponsorships. We’ll kick-off the following year with our golf outing as mentioned earlier. While education is a tenet of our mission, the social networking and peer-to-peer opportunities we provide to our members is equally important.

 

  1.      How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run the ARMA Detroit Chapter and reach its goals?

I can’t say enough good things about StarChapter and how it helps us achieve our goals. From an overall user experience for how members transact business with us to all of the wonderful back-end features we utilize to make our operation more efficient, StarChapter has been the catalyst for reaching our potential as a professional organization. I am personally really excited for the new dashboard functionality coming later this year. We try and utilize as many of the available analytics tools to better understand how members and prospects interact with us, which in turn allows us to improve the overall member/guest experience with ARMA Detroit.

Would you like to share the success story of your chapter with other board volunteers? We'd love to feature you! Fill out this form to let us know.