Resources for Chapters
Use SfN's information and resources to successfully establish, manage, and grow your chapter.
Best Practices for Chapters
- Encourage active participation in activities run by your chapter and SfN
- Hold a professional development activity at least once a year
- Hold a public outreach and education event at least once a year
- Conduct at least two business meetings every year
- Utilize SfN resources on Neuronline and participate in the Chapters Workshop at the annual meeting
- Engage in public advocacy efforts (in accordance with applicable governmental regulations)
Chapter Financial and Funding Administration
- U.S. chapters must have their own federal employer identification number and are eligible for tax exempt status as an SfN subordinate.
- Email SfN's Membership department prior to soliciting funds to determine whether the supporter made an earlier commitment to SfN (this is a must).
- Seek matching funds for support from various foundations and local companies.
- Include all foundations, companies, and noninstitutional contributors that support SfN chapter activities in the Annual Report.
- Soliciting chapter donations:
- Share with potential donors a list of activities needing sponsorship, such as travel awards, receptions, meetings, poster sessions, Brain Awareness Week activities, etc. Include details on sponsorship pricing.
- Develop a list of benefits organizations would receive in return for their donation, such as acknowledgment in event marketing materials, name recognition, etc.
- Prepare a legal contract binding the institution to the commitment after an institution has agreed to make a donation. Include:
- Sponsorship amount, including the duration of sponsorship
- Date sponsorship amount is due
- Details on sponsorship benefits
- Permission for chapter to use company logo for any advertisement related to sponsored activity
- Rights of both the institution and chapter in regard to said activity
- Liability if activity is cancelled or postponed
- Options in renewing sponsorship from institution
- Overall, make the case that donations contribute to the education and development of neuroscience and the community.
Chapter Representative Responsibilities
- Submit a chapter annual report online through the submission portal every year. Chapters may set their own reporting cycle. However, for eligibility to apply for a Chapter Grant, chapters must first submit their annual report
- Submit, in a timely manner, reports for any chapter events held with funding from the SfN Chapter Grants Program
- Report any change in the stated purposes, character, or method of operation relative to SfN’s statement of purpose, as described in chapter bylaws
- Maintain a roster of membership
- Communicate regularly with chapter members and keep them informed of chapter activities and SfN chapter award programs
- Assist with new member sponsorship requests
- Ensure a successor is found before the end of your term to allow for a smooth transition for the incoming chapter representative
- Provide leadership transition updates to the SfN Chapters by filling out the Chapter Representative Form
Chapters Management Workshop Presentation
SfN chapters are organizing innovative events each year to increase knowledge and awareness of the brain within their membership ranks and their local communities. Many of these activities are funded through SfN Chapter Grants. SfN's workshop, "Leveraging Communities and Resources To Increase Your Chapter’s Impact and Reach," experienced chapter leaders will share best practices in an informal, roundtable format on topics such as how to run successful events, build local partnerships and collaborate with other chapters. New chapter leaders or those considering starting a chapter are especially encouraged to attend this unique networking event.
Guidelines for Chapter Governance
SfN recommends these actions to govern your chapter:
- Hold at least one meeting per year.
- Reappoint or elect a chapter representative by a majority vote of the membership yearly.
- Chapter representatives should serve terms no longer than three consecutive years. At the end of the three-year term, members must elect a new chapter representative by a majority vote.
- Adopt an organizational structure that includes a president or chairperson, secretary, and treasurer.
- Elect officers by a majority of votes. Bylaws should define election procedures.
- Appoint/elect a council or committee to help with special programs and activities.
- In times of leadership transition, ensure outgoing and incoming officers work together to exchange important information, including any existing files and establishing a “training period” for the new officers.
Chapter email accounts:
- Consider using Gmail or Yahoo to create a free email account.
- Use the dedicated account to store chapter members’ contact information, correspondence, a history of chapter activities, annual reports, and awards.
- This approach also ensures communication between the chapter and SfN continues uninterrupted following a change in chapter leadership.
- When completing the Chapter Representative Form, provide a secondary account for general emails or list the chapter account as the primary contact email address.
- Submit text, subject line, etc. to be included in an email that SfN will distribute to members in the chapter’s region.
- SfN sends a quarterly digital newsletters to all chapter representatives. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to feature your chapter's news.
Member Recruitment and Engagement
- Share job opportunities within the field, scientific findings, and other updates.
- Volunteer to speak to college groups.
- Contact college career centers and student advisers to share new developments in the field and participate in college student job fairs.
- Co-sponsor events on campus or offer internships.
Establish a strong and active governance group
- Encourage members to volunteer for chapter leadership.
- Ensure leadership transitions are smooth.
Foster member contributions
- Ask members for their opinions.
- Use surveys to gather information on preferences and why they joined the chapter.
Use meeting time wisely
- Keep meetings short and effective.
- Adhere to an agenda to ensure meetings are concise and well-prepared.
Collaborate with others
- Join with other programs to co-sponsor Brain Awareness Week and other activities.
- Ask successful chapters what works; start a discussion thread on Neuronline’s Chapter Community.
- Look outside the neuroscience community; faculty/students who have a science background outside neuroscience may attend lectures/seminars.