Starting a Chapter or Looking to Use Best Practices – Here Are Some Things to Think About
While we all operate by the same basic principles, there are some practices that we do differently from one another because what works for one chapter is different from what works for another chapter. Fortunately, we all have the freedom to create whatever we think will work best. Here are some things you will need to make decisions about as you decide how your chapter will operate:
Will you have Co-Founders and/or a Steering Team?
Co-Founders, Steering Teams, Boards, whatever you decide to call them, are helpful as they share the vision of the 100 Who Care concept and can help execute it successfully in your community. They can help recruit new members, assist with running the meetings, take over press and media relations, oversee social media and anything else that comes up you may want to do in your chapter.
There is no right or wrong number of people to be on your team of leaders. Some groups have one, others have a dozen. Many chapters rotate chapter leadership roles and responsibilities on a routine basis, like a Board would, to keep everyone in the chapter engaged.
What should your name be?
This is completely up to you! Typically the name includes the jurisdiction from where you will pull your membership and the name by which your region is known.
There are also many types of names under the 100 Who Care umbrella, including Women, Men, Guys, People, Kids, Teens, Youth and even within those names there are other ways groups are referring to themselves. They include some of the following:
- 100 XYZ Who Care My Town
- 100 XYZ Who Care About My Town
- The Power of 100 XYZ in My Town
- 100 XYZ Who Give a Damn My Town
- 100 XYZ on a Mission My Town
- The BenjaMen
- Any combination of the above with or without a “(+)” after 100
Will you need to register as a 501(c) or similar nonprofit designation in your country?
No. The beauty and simplicity of this giving circle model is that members write their checks/make donations directly to the charity and they are collectively given as one impactful gift.
Chapter graphics and logos – is there a uniform look?
There is no uniform look or requirement about what you should use as your chapter logo or your chapter’s graphics. Over the years, some chapters have adopted another chapter’s operating principles as their own and as such, often times will also adopt their logo and look. If you see a logo you like from another chapter ask the chapter if they will share their graphic designer’s information so that you can reach out to have your own created. Remember that graphics and written copy on websites are licensed and/or copyrighted and you must ask permission before using anything you find online.
Will you create a website, a Facebook page or both?
You certainly do not need a website, or even a Facebook page, but most all chapters use one or both as a means to attract new members and keep current members apprised of chapter meeting locations, chapter news, press releases and how to join.
Some chapters have their website donated and others use no/low-cost services from weebly or wix or even Go Daddy SiteBuilder or WordPress.org. Make sure you understand the difference between the free service and the low cost service – the modest investment may be worth it for your group.
And if you are feeling social media confident, you can join the chapters that, in addition to a website and Facebook page, also keep a Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and/or other page(s) up to date each quarter.
How will you communicate with your members and potential new members?
Some chapters are almost exclusively email driven. Others are very Facebook dependent and count on members to get their information that way. And some are using text-based services to reach members that are not email-driven. Many use a combination of email, Facebook and other social media options or even event management tools like Eventbrite.
Poll your members. They will let you know the best way to reach them, how they prefer to get their information and how often they prefer to receive information from you. Both Mailchimp and Mailerlite offer free starter accounts and are a good place to start.
Can your chapter still be part of the 100 Who Care model if you live in a repressed area where people can only afford a $50 quarterly commitment?
Yes. Each chapter is developed at the grassroots level, as you know your community best and understand best what your members can financially withstand. Therefore, you have the freedom to develop your chapter with that in mind. You can also consider allowing for teams (see next question).
Will you allow multi-person teams or does every member have to be a solo member?
Some chapters require everyone to be a solo contributor, others allow teams of two, three, or four people who pool their money to make the $100 donation and share a single vote. Advantages of having teams are that it opens the membership to people who might not be able to make the financial commitment each quarter, or like the idea of participating with a group of friends or family. Disadvantages to having teams are that they can be more administratively complicated for the steering committee to track. Additionally, you may need to consider a larger meeting venue if you have lots of teams, and you need to figure out what to do when some of the team members pay and others don’t (do they forfeit their membership in good standing if the full contribution isn’t made even though some team members have lived up to their commitment?).
Lastly, if you allow teams you may want to decide whether you will allow only one check per team per quarter or each team member to contribute their equal portion. The advantage to only allowing one $100 check submitted per team per quarter is that it less for you to administratively track.
Will you meet 4x per year or 3x per year?
Mostly all chapters meet 4x per year on a quarterly basis on a set day and time of the month (such as: the first Wednesday of the months February, May, August and November at 7:30 pm). This is again totally dependent upon you and the area of the country in which you live and what your market will bear.
Some chapters in locations where people “snowbird,” or relocate for the winter months, meet only 3x in consecutive months during the winter when the relocated population is in town. Other chapters meet 3x because the fourth meeting each year the donation automatically is directed to a nonprofit foundation that “sponsors” the chapter administratively.
Wait? What? Do we need a foundation to sponsor our chapter?
No. But some chapters do have a foundation that sponsors them and conducts all the administrative details on their behalf (such as the website, email reminders, collecting the funds, cutting the check to the nonprofit, etc.). Because the foundation is typically a strong presence in the community, the chapter selects the foundation once per year to receive funds.
Do we need to have 100 members at our first meeting?
No, you do not. Some chapters quickly surpass 100 people and other chapters take a year or more to reach 100 people. Either way you are in good company and the community wins.
Should we charge members to cover administrative costs or find sponsors?
There are administrative costs to running a chapter. Typically, the costs are minimal and include such things as paper, printing, name-tags and ballots, but they can potentially include bigger things such as website hosting, domain name registration, as well as marketing and promotion costs. Some chapters’ Steering Team absorb these costs themselves, while other chapters share the cost across the club members by charging them a nominal fee each year or identify corporate sponsors to cover these costs for them.
Who will you allow to deliver the presentation about a charity?
Some chapters allow representatives from the charity to make the presentation while most others allow only their members to present.
Positives for allowing representatives from the charity to present are they are usually better informed and can field questions better. But limiting presentations to members may result in more heartfelt appeals (many members nominate because they are personally connected to the charity) and the group may feel more like a grassroots movement if only members are allowed to present.
Will you pre-qualify charities, and if so, based on what criteria?
Some chapters allow members to nominate charities that have not been pre-vetted, while other chapters require that the charities be pre-vetted. Typical criteria for vetting the charities is proof of 501(c)3 status and/or determination that the charity serves a predetermined geographic area. Websites, such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar in the U.S. and CanadaHelps in Canada, can easily aid in the vetting process.
The main positive for pre-vetting is that it adds a level of assurance that the money is being donated to a legitimate cause. The main negative is that pre-vetting requires extra work on the part of the steering committee and advance planning on the part of the member. You also may have some potential members who have a pet charity or local project they want to bring forward that won’t meet your criteria and accordingly, they may choose not to join or stay in the group.
Will you choose and present charities on the same night, or will you choose them ahead of time?
Some chapters randomly choose the charities to be presented at the meeting and those presenters immediately get up and present. Other chapters randomly choose the charities in advance of the meeting and give advance notice to the presenters. This could be done at the end of a meeting, or any time before the next meeting.
Positives for choosing on the spot are the excitement and spontaneity of not knowing which charities will be chosen and preventing members from “campaigning” in advance to get people to come and vote for their charity. But one negative to choosing on the spot is the potential disappointment members might feel when they’ve prepared to present and then their name isn’t pulled that night.
Positives for choosing in advance of the meeting are that members have more time to prepare (more members are likely to nominate knowing this), and the steering committee has the opportunity to communicate with presenters ahead of time about anything relevant to the actual presentations. The main negative is that one or more of the selected presenters might not be able to attend the meeting (even at the last minute), so there needs to be a list of alternate presenters and possible last-minute communications with them.
What kind of a venue do you want for your meetings?
We all plan our meetings around raising the money in an hour. But some groups build social and/or networking options into the evening and choose venues that allow them to have food and drinks and social time before the meeting, after the meeting, or both. Others keep it short and sweet and choose a venue that doesn’t offer the option of extending the evening.
The size of your group may somewhat determine what kind of venue you use. If you have to seat 200 people, you may be somewhat limited.
A positive of having a venue that encourages socializing is that members will see this as an enjoyable social event, not just a meeting for a philanthropic cause. But members who don’t know many people and feel left out of the socializing might prefer a group that accomplishes its goal and doesn’t try to do more.
What happens if a member doesn’t make a donation?
There will always be members that don’t make their donation. Some groups take away the right to vote and nominate a charity from delinquent members but reinstate them if they pay next time. Some groups revoke membership if someone doesn’t pay. And still others don’t keep careful records and are happy for any donations so they let it slide.
The reason for the nonpayment can also be relevant. What if someone has a conscientious objection to the chosen charity? One option is to let them make a $100 donation to a charity that the group has previously supported or to one of the other charities that was nominated that night. Another option is to pick a chapter default charity that objectors can support instead.
Can a charity receive an award more than once? How often?
Some chapters say once a year, others once every 2 years, others once every 3 years, and some say never again.
If your chapter pre-qualifies charities based on members’ nominations, consider how many charities are on your list. If the list is fairly short (typical in the early days of a new chapter), a shorter time span between nominations might be appropriate. But as the list grows over time, a longer time span may be more equitable, and it may be awkward to change mid-stream.
Are there new nominations each meeting or do the un-chosen nominations stay in the hat until they are chosen?
This is a small detail but you will have to decide what happens to the two nominations that aren’t chosen each time. Some chapters keep every past nomination in the hat while others empty the hat each time and start fresh.
If you choose to keep names in the hat over time, keep in mind that the member that put that name in the hat might not be attending the meeting where it finally gets chosen so you would have to put it back in and pull another one or have a system in place to have members alert you in advance if they will not be attending. Chapters that empty the hat each time only have names in the hat from people at the meeting so there will be someone to present the charity if the name is picked. And remember, you can always ask the two nominations that were not selected whether they want to be put back into the hat.
If a member has to miss a meeting, will you allow another member to vote for them by proxy?
Some chapters will give another member an extra ballot if they bring the check of the absent member to the meeting. Others only allow members who are present at the meeting to vote.
The advantages of allowing proxy voting are incenting members to bring checks from absentee members instead of having to collect them later, and keeping members engaged who may not be able to attend as they may be able to communicate their choice in real time to the member who has their ballot. The disadvantage, particularly for those groups who choose their presenters ahead of time, is having a member actively campaign to collect checks from everyone they know who won’t be present. Presenting members who don’t have a large base of contacts within the group may view this as being unfair to them.
I represent a nonprofit and am looking for funding, what should I do?
100+ clubs are giving circles, looking to help make their local communities stronger. While each chapter runs a little differently, funding is typically a “pennies from heaven” type of gift, where the nonprofit doesn’t have to “work” for it (i.e. complete grant applications, etc.). Our best suggestion is to find the chapter local to your community and contact them directly about becoming a member. See our list of chapters section to find the giving circle local to you.