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 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- 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 email@example.com 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.