Address these organizational and operational factors when establishing a chapter.
- Who makes the decision to become a chapter?
The decision should be made prior to a merger, as part of the merger discussions/negotiations. An association can establish chapters even when a merger is not involved. Chapters may be established by geographic areas and by types of members/specialties (commercial, green, designations, etc.). An association can create chapters to serve members in locations within the association's jurisdiction.
- What will each chapter's relationship be with the parent association?
A chapter is a subgroup of its parent association. The chapter is not a separate legal entity. After a merger and/or establishment of chapters, the association's Errors & Omissions Insurance should be evaluated as well as any liability or other insurance policies to make certain coverages are complete and inclusive.
- Will members join the chapter or the parent association?
Members join the parent association. Members might join a chapter due to their locality, former association, or for other reasons. Members may participate in more than one chapter of the same association.
- How can a chapter create its own brand?
Chapters should have a standard name template (i.e., XYZ Chapter of the ABC Association of REALTORS®). Chapters may, at the discretion of the parent association, have their own banner and local marketing plan.
- Will the chapter have representation on the association's board of directors?
This is a matter of local determination. There is no "one size fits all." Bylaws may need to be amended to address how directors are selected, elected, or appointed, etc., in regard to chapter representation. Whether "chapter directors" are voting members is a matter of local determination. Chapters might appoint or elect representatives to an advisory board which might have one or more voting members on the association's board of directors. Consider creating a representation plan to ensure consistency in the event multiple chapters are formed.
- Should chapter leadership get state or national director appointments?
Selection/election of state and national directors is determined locally.
- Are chapters required to comply with the Core Standards?
Local and state associations are required to comply with the Core Standards.
- Can state associations consider chapters to support members whose association has dissolved or for members too far from a local association?
Chapters of a state association are a matter of determination for each state based on geographical and/or other considerations.
- Will the dues and budgets be different for each chapter?
Dues for REALTOR® membership in the parent association are the same. Whether a chapter has dues for chapter membership is a matter of local discretion. This should be discussed and decided during any chapter formation discussions/negotiations. Chapters may have budgets for things such as operational expenses, travel to state meetings, etc.
- What kind of staff support will be required?
The staffing required for a chapter will depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, number of members, geographic areas served, activities, etc. Staff support should be discussed as part of any chapter formation and/or merger negotiations. Staff of a dissolved association may still have a role in the new organization.
- Should the chapter and parent association share the same membership system?
- Where will the chapter office and/or staff be located in relation to the parent association?
While a separate chapter office isn't required, the chapter office could be virtual, a separate structure, or a shared office (within an office of the parent association).
- What happens to a dissolved association's contracts once it becomes a chapter of the parent association?
Contracts may be terminated or continued by the parent organization, in consultation with legal counsel. Contracts may also be re-negotiated.
- Will the chapter abide by the same legal and accounting principles as the parent association?
- Which entity should own the assets of the chapter?
Assets become the property of the parent association. Assets may be assigned to a chapter similar to how an association might assign equipment or other assets to a department or to a separate association service center.
NOTE: In some instances, "council" and "committee" are used in lieu of "chapter".