• ROCO Chicago offers a space for the community to express itself artistically, academically, in business, and through arts and culture.We are a modern center dedicated to engaging and supporting our community and accelerating Romanian businesses in Chicago. ROCO has minimal staff and works with hundreds of volunteers.ย Learn more


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    Starting a Chapter

    A Guide for Chapter Leads


    ROCO Chicago offers a space for the community to express itself artistically, academically, in business, and through arts and culture.We are a modern center dedicated to engaging and supporting our community and accelerating Romanian businesses in Chicago. ROCO has minimal staff and works with hundreds of volunteers. Learn more


    What is a Chapter

    The Purpose of a Chapter

    Help, provide resources to, and support outside volunteers who organize events, programs, and clubs. The role of a ROCO Chapter is to:

    • engage our community in a specific area of interest (e.g. sports)
    • connect with and support outside volunteers
    • decide which events and programs they โ€œsponsorโ€
    • coordinate interested volunteers that run events and programs under the ROCO umbrella
    • meet regularly to create a certain cadence
    • organize at least one event/activity per year


    A ROCO chapter is a group of volunteers with a common background and expertise who are passionate about a certain subject of general interest to the community and have agreed to work together to strengthen the fabric of our community.

    What a Chapter looks like

    • has a structure with at least 5 members, including 2 chapter co-leads (or a lead/co-lead)
    • the chapter members meet regularly, at least once a quarter (pref. once a month)
    • they work together to plan the activities of the chapter, andย 
    • they make joint decisions on the activities of the chapter
    • the chapter sponsors at least one event (or program) per year dedicated to our community
    • the chapter has a shared/central means of communication (WhatsApp)
    • chapters are open, so new members can join at any point throughout the year
    • Chapter leads can change/elect/nominate a new (co)lead anytime during the year

    Who can join a chapter?

    Chapters are open structures so anyone can join a chapter as long as they are interested in the chapter specific area of activity and want to volunteer.


    This being said, the Chapter Lead has the flexibility of defining an internal process for new people who want to join the chapter (this process cannot be prohibitive to new people and must be approved by the Executive Director).

    Chapter Activities

    • Chapter leads (or delegates) are the main point of contact for any new event/program in their area of expertise
    • the members of the chapter create a schedule of events and communicate it with the Executive Director
    • The chapter members will approve projects that belong to a certain area (e.g. sports)
    • The chapter members take on the responsibility of delivering all approved projects (with the support of the core team & staff)
    • chapters are also responsible to help identify volunteers for projects in their area of expertise
    • the chapter can sponsor (and run) clubs, programs, or events at ROCO

    Chapter Leads

    A successful chapter starts with a committed volunteer Chapter Lead and Co-Lead. The ROCO staff and Core Team of Volunteers, and the Executive Director work alongside chapter leads and chapter members to help the community organize itself in the Chapterโ€™s area of activity.

    • Chapter Leads/coleads are elected by the chapter members and they must accept the responsibility to run the chapter for a period of 1 year. If there is a no co-lead, the Chapter Lead must select a co-lead within the first month of taking over.
    • A chapter lead must nominate a new chapter lead 3m before their leadership term is up

    Chapter Leads Tasks and Responsibilities

    The chapter leads (together) are responsible for โ€œmoving things forwardโ€.

    Administrative Responsibilities

    • Appointing a chapter secretary or acting as the secretary her/himself
      • Create meeting agendas before the meetings
    • Calling regular chapter meetings
    • Announce the meeting to everyone involved. This includes:
      • Adding the meetings to the calendars of all involved
      • Announcing the meeting on all communication channels (email and chat)
    • The chapter lead will sync up with the Executive Director periodically (at least once/per quarter)

    Program Responsibilities

    • Connect and respond timely to all incoming requests for the chapter
    • Coordinate and engage with all chapter volunteers
    • Work with Program Directors and One-Time Event Coordinators
    • Collect all the email of the program volunteers
  • The ROCO Chapter leads are volunteers that are making a one-year commitment to support and lead the chapter. Annually new chapter members can decide to continue the chapter or close it down, and new chapter leads may be elected in an annual event. Learn more about our ROCO Chapter Leads.

  • So, someone's shown interest in joining your group? That's amazing! ๐ŸŽ‰ And getting to know them is a fantastic use of your time! โฐ


    Download PDF Guide


    ๐Ÿค— Welcoming Someone Joining Your Chapter ๐Ÿ™‹

    Guide for Chapter Leads

    Expressions of Interest ๐Ÿ“

    Every so often, a new face will want to join your chapter. This interest might show up as:

    • A direct sign-up through the ROCO website's form ๐ŸŒ
    • An email or Facebook Messenger message ๐Ÿ“ง
    • A chat during a casual conversation ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

    What Should We Do With Them? ๐Ÿค”

    People who've registered to join us have already taken the first step, but they need to be invited, included, welcomed, and reassured they belong and have a role to play ๐Ÿฅฐ. The best approach? Making time for a one-on-one chat with them! ๐Ÿ’ญ This conversation brings several benefits, including:

    • We get to know them, their interests, and what they offer ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ
    • They get to know us and ask questions about the chapter ๐Ÿข
    • We can figure out where they can best contribute ๐Ÿ’ช
    • We'll work better together if we know each other! ๐Ÿค

    People really appreciate personal outreach ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

    Relationships are the heart of social movements ๐Ÿ’–, and getting to know someone new increases the chance they'll feel welcome, appreciated, and remain involved longer. It's also energizing for us! ๐ŸŒŸ

    Tempting Shortcuts to Avoid โ›”๏ธ

    We all love a shortcut, but here's why they may not work in this case:

    • Can't I just email them? ๐Ÿ“ง Sure, but one-on-one contact builds stronger relationships. ๐Ÿ’ช
    • Can't I invite them to our next meeting? ๐Ÿค Yes, but the one-on-one conversation often works better. ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ
    • I don't have time! โŒ›๏ธ If youโ€™re swamped, it might be time to share the load among several members. ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘

    Organizing a Conversation ๐Ÿ“…

    When setting up a conversation, consider these:

    • Find a good time to talk, and if a face-to-face chat or a phone/video call works best โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ“ž
    • Allow 30-40 minutes for the chat โฐ
    • Figure out common ground and next steps ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

    How to Follow Up ๐Ÿ”„

    Once the conversation's done, donโ€™t forget to:

    • Add them to our database ๐Ÿ—‚๏ธ
    • Invite them to things! ๐Ÿ’Œ
    • Introduce them to relevant people ๐Ÿ‘‹
    • Share meeting minutes and other relevant information with them ๐Ÿ“„

    Further Learning ๐ŸŽ“

    There are many resources available for learning more about relationship building and community organizing.

    โ€œSometimes the welcome chat we have with a new person is their first real opportunity to express, and be heard, about a part of them thatโ€™s passionate about life and the wellbeing of our community. They can feel really affirmed to get to voice that passion, and sometimes even their despair for what they want, and be heard. And then we are offering them a way to channel that passion into a plan to win real change together.โ€

    Remember, the first chat with a new person may be their first real chance to express their passion for our community. Let's make them feel heard! ๐Ÿ’ฌ๐Ÿ‘‚

    This guide was inspired and adapted from resources shared by the Australian Conservation Foundation and Stop Adani - big thanks to them! ๐Ÿ™Œ

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