Table of Contents
Building a strong chapter
The Chapter Tool Chest is a place where current and prospective chapter leaders can educate themselves about best practices and read success stories on the subject of developing and managing a chapter. What you’ll find here: step-by-step guidance on starting a chapter, growing membership, publicizing chapter activities, and sustaining the chapter; plus how-to instructions and ideas for education, outreach, and advocacy activities. These are all ideas that have worked at one or more chapters and which have been shared with the expectation that they may prove useful to others. If you have an idea that you’d like to share please contact us.
Be sure to explore your member portal dashboard for resources and information required to run your chapter. Join our Chapter Leaders Group, Native Plant Society of Texas on Facebook where new ideas are constantly being shared. Downloadable governance, leadership and state records are available in Key Documents.
Managing a Chapter
The ultimate guide to running a chapter is the Chapter Leader Handbook. It summarizes in one place all the expectations and requirements for chapters and chapter leaders. Every chapter leader should become familiar with the tools there. The strategic plan outlines the Society’s goals and objectives. Chapters often find successful ways to contribute to its implementation.
Every chapter is required to have a treasurer and a bank account. The chapter is expected to report finances to the state office once a quarter so that they can be incorporated into the financial reports that go to the state board and statements that must be filed with the IRS. The chapter usually delegates this responsibility to the Chapter Treasurer. Chapters can obtain a document called Chapter Financial Reporting Guidelines to learn more.
Chapter leaders need to be able to communicate with members, standing committees, executive officers, Society staff and the public.
Ways that chapters communicate:
- Member newsletters (PDF, or email marketing manager, such as MailChimp)
- Website (each chapter has a dedicated section on this site)
- Email Marketing (opt-in only, such as Virtual Events Calendar)
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others)
How-To Website Documentation
Tutorials for WordPress and Elementor.
Your chapter needs members! Chapter Membership Contest Each winter the Society has a Chapter Membership Contest. The contest begins on January 1 and continues to April 1. Two chapters are recognized: (1) the chapter with the largest numerical increase in memberships, and (2) the chapter with the greatest percentage increase in memberships. The determination is based on the Monthly Membership Report found in LeaderWeb (Login Required). By comparing the report for end of March with the report for end of December the numerical increase and percentage increase is computed for each chapter. No affiliate memberships are counted in the report, only primary memberships that are “paid-up” at the date of the report. Bringing in new members adds new life and ideas to a chapter. Some chapters even offer incentives to new members. For instance a free book or free t-shirt. This might be cost-prohibitive to a chapter just starting out but for an established chapter it could turn out to be a sound investment. Ten Tips for Increasing Chapter Membership Implementing a few basic concepts can help you build and retain membership. Watch or download this powerpoint to learn more.
A healthy chapter needs members who are enthusiastic about the chapter and willing to participate. There are many ways to build enthusiasm and participation. Dennis Perz of the Williamson County Chapter has created a handout that describes tips and techniques that worked in his chapter.
Plant Sale Signs & Plant Care Cards
The signs and template are to be used only in a manner consistent with the Society’s status as a 501(c)(3) organization.
Additional plant signs may be created using these templates. When new signs are created, please submit them to the Chapter Toolkit for inclusion.
If permission is given to an outside organization to display, print, or use the electronic file, the receiving organization must agree to leaving the NPSOT name and information in the left margin unaltered and in place as provided in the signs and/or template. In addition, they must agree to all terms set forth in this document. Sale of the signs or compilation into a book for sale in order to raise funds is not appropriate.
Wilco Chapter Plant Sale Signs
Chapters may find it necessary to modify an individual plant sign to reflect conditions outside of Central Texas (for instance, bloom period, evergreen or semi-evergreen nature). Read carefully to ensure there are no mistakes. For each plant, download the template and add or delete icons and text as needed. If the sign is scaled down or enlarged, the information must be scaled at the same ratio.
Our collection of signs is in Microsoft Office PowerPoint (updated April 14, 2019). Older, outdated versions of PowerPoint may cause problems with the sign layout when the file is opened. If so, please update your software and try again.
The template includes the following information:
- Sign ‘title’ box (top-most left corner).
- Plant common name, other common names, genus, species, and family. (Note: Fill the Name box with green (see other slides) if plant is EVERGREEN or has EVERGREEN winter rosette.)
- Relevant plant information – for the gardener, including size, attributes and maintenance.
- Wildlife attractions.
- Texas native range information – from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (LBJWC) signs or LBJWC plant page if LBJWC sign info is not available.
- Date box – to avoid confusion as to which printed version of a sign is the newest, as changes to a sign are inevitable.
- Photo of a bloom and of the whole plant. Many pictures were copied, with permission, from the “unrestricted” category of the LBJWC plant database image gallery. LBJWC requested that photographer attributions are added and a ‘Photo Credits” line is provided. Many pictures were provided by Bob Kamper initially, although no attribution was provided on the signs. However, credit should be given for any photograph that is used. The use of copyrighted photos are best avoided. NO copyrighted photos are to be used without written permission from the photographer and a copy provided to our state office for filing.
- Water use, light requirements, soil moisture, and deer resistance.
- Warnings – concerning toxicity of or allergic reactions to any part of a plant.
- Bloom months.
- Source(s) of plant information – usually this is the LBJWC, but other sources may be referenced.
- Slides are numbered so they are easy to file in order after use.
Chapter Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP)
NLCP is a series of classes developed by Native Plant Society of Texas members that teach best practices for native plant landscaping, including indoor training sessions and outdoor plant walks. The classes are tailored to fit local ecoregions and target homeowners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape design and maintenance professionals, park employees, nursery employees, teachers and others.
Most classes are sponsored and taught by volunteers from one or more of our local chapters. The NLCP Steering Committee is interested in spreading the classes to more areas and would welcome the opportunity to get your chapter involved.
Chapter NICE! Native Plant Partners
Demonstration Gardens & Interpretive Signs
Many chapters may be interested in installing interpretive plant signs in their local parks and trails. Wilco Chapter developed plant signs in coordination with their local parks and recreation department and installed them at several different parks and trails within their county. The chapter created digital files for over 80 signs (including text, images, credits, logo, and QR Code), plus additional how-to information, which may be used by any chapter. The QR Code on each sign directs users in the field to a Wilco Chapter webpage. Other chapters can use these files “as is” (including the QR Code), or they can easily customize or adapt the signs to suit their own preferences or circumstances. The Wilco Chapter installed signs in two different ways – using 8.5” x 11” laminated papers in kiosks, and using 9” x 6” aluminum plates on posts. Download files below.
Here are ideas and projects that can help a chapter engage their local community on the topics of native plants, native habitats, local ecology, and more. Let us know if you have more ideas for outreach so we can continue to expand this list.