Chapter Tool Chest

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.

Online tools

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.

Financial Matters

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.

Chapter Programs

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.

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.

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.

Chapter Outreach

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.