SMPS has continued to excel at a local and society-wide level thanks to the 1,000+ chapter volunteers. Volunteers are the fuel that power SMPS and the local member experience.
SMPS HQ is always looking for ways to support you and make your lives easier. Whether it’s implementing new chapter technology, providing collateral and giveaways for your chapter events, or reviewing venue contracts, we strive to ensure volunteers spend less time looking for a document or an answer, and more time engaging with fellow members and colleagues.
With this in mind, we’ve developed this webpage to create a “cheat sheet” for chapter volunteers. Below you’ll find specific resources and tools for your specific chapter volunteer role. Most items are downloadable directly from this web page, for your convenience. Due to the sensitive nature of certain documents, you may have to log into MySMPS.org to retrieve the resource.
Resources below include tips from SMPS HQ staff, answers to frequently asked questions, and downloadable documents.
Chapter Meeting Support
Example of event cancellation email:
Example of website update:
Items to consider for event cancellation:
- Can we still fulfill the purpose and goals of the event with reduced attendance?
- What percentage of cancellations will make a difference to the effectiveness of the event?
- What are your state/local directives?
- Do CDC/WHO recommendations impact your attendance? (i.e. no more than 10 people)
- (SMPS HQ staff are not attorneys) If you have a venue contract, you can likely make the case that it is now impossible to have the meeting.
- Your venue may be awaiting a call for cancellation, and may be more willing to waive fees to cancel or reschedule your event
Sample cancellation language for letter to venue:
SMPS XX Chapter termination of this Agreement is due to the COVID-19 disease outbreak and its related effects. The President of the United States has declared a State of Emergency, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the XX Mayor and/or Governor [insert names and appropriate jurisdictions] declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency, and there are governmental recommendations to cancel events, engage in social distancing, and work remotely, among other things, all of which are unanticipated circumstances beyond the control of either party making it impossible and commercially impracticable for SMPS XX Chapter and the Event Facility [insert name] to hold the Event from [insert dates].
SMPS XX Chapter reserves any and all rights and remedies under the Agreement and the law not stated expressly or by implication herein. Accordingly, please refund to SMPS XX Chapter all deposits and pre-payments that were made. Please also refund any deposits or pre-payments made by guests.
We recognize that this health crisis is dire and concerning for all and appreciate your thoughtfulness in this matter.
Template for overview of situation while addressing members:
As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is making global headlines, SMPS XX continues to prioritize the health and safety of our members, volunteers, and community. We respect that many of our member companies have temporarily suspended non-essential travel and attendance of industry events in the interest of public health and employee safety. Additionally, local and national government agencies have provided recommendations in relation to event capacity.
As of March XX, 2020, all SMPS XX programming is postponed until XX XX, 2020. While we deal with this unprecedented situation, we share your health concerns and appreciate your patience and the trust you place in SMPS.
At this time, we have the following updates to share:
*Insert status of upcoming programs*
Items to consider if your event is still happening:
- Box lunches instead of buffet (you may need to discourage walk-ins due to having to order meals)
- Remind attendees they will receive cancellation notices by email, and don’t need to email you to receive updates
- Confirm that the venue is taking extra precaution with cleaning and sanitizing efforts
- Good examples: hand sanitizing stations, propping doors open, providing extra elbow room and personal space
Virtual platforms that chapters are using for webinars/virtual meetings:
- Microsoft Teams
Speaker resources for planning virtual events:
Unused Build Business speakers: Reach out and ask if they’re able to host webinars for your chapter members.
2018-19 chapter education report: We have isolated webinar offerings from the 2018-19 chapter education reports. This is a great resource during a time where virtual meetings are more important than ever. You can filter/sort the list by CEUs, evaluation score, topic (find feature), and domains.
Consider pushing these resources out to your membership for their professional development and CEUs while in-person events are on hold:
Staying connected with each other is always important. Since we cannot get together in person, let’s make a point to stay connected virtually. Here are a few FREE options:
- Learning Labs (bi-monthly free programs to SMPS members)
- Archived recordings in the Marketing Resource Center (30+ hours of content!)
- MySMPS discussion groups and libraries
- New: Business Continuity (Coronavirus) community – Join today and connect with members to share ideas and ask questions about how business is getting done in the context of the pandemic.
- SMPS Foundation A/E/C Research: Free downloads for members
- Most recently: Powering Up Technology: A Spotlight on MarTech
- Marketing 2020: A Survey Exploring Current and Future A/E/C Marketing Practices
- Archived Marketer Articles (100+ articles from the last two years alone)
- In light of the limitations and cancellations to in-person chapter events, SMPS HQ is providing our new A/E/Courses FREE for members: use promo code HQcares2020 through May 31, 2020.
President-Elect, President, and Past President
2019–20 SMPS Chapter Manual Sections:
Volunteer Retention Tips
- Create an organizational chart. Pinpoint gaps. Understand where your team
- Prepare a succession/talent development plan. Consider co-chair positions.
- Send a volunteer interest/skills survey to chapter members. Consider including in a membership survey and be sure to send to new members to help engage them.
- Create position descriptions that clarify role, time commitment, and expectations of professional conduct.
- Create a volunteer orientation. Ensure all volunteers attend the Society’s volunteer orientation or access the recorded version.
- Nurture a team environment. Check in with volunteers regularly.
- Communicate volunteer resources available from headquarters.
- Celebrate and recognize volunteers. Send personal notes and/or notes to supervisors.
HQ Staff Contacts:
Julio Santos – General assistance, chapter technology, and relationship with SMPS volunteers
Tina Myers – Advise on legal and governance, bylaw review, policies and procedures
Matthew McFadden – Membership resources and strategies, collateral, prospecting, and MySMPS training and assistance
Q: Who is responsible for formulating our budget?
A: All chapter board members should work with the treasurer to produce the budget.
Q: When should the budget be finalized?
A: Typically, your budget should be drafted near the end of the current program year and approved by the board at the first meeting of the new program year.
Q: What is our fiscal (program) year?
A: September 1–August 31
Q: Are there sample budgets or other resources available to chapter leaders?
A: Of course! We have a host of resources including toolkits, budget samples, and a QuickBooks on-line subscription with a sample company that allows treasurers to get acquainted with the software and perform test transactions.
Q: Does SMPS HQ provide assistance with budget preparation?
A: Absolutely! Antonio assists chapters upon request and is available to chapter leaders 24/7…well, almost 24/7!
Antonio Payne – All financial questions, tax information, and contract reviews
Denise Schjenken – Assistance with membership renewals and payments, general membership, and customer service
SMPS Membership Chair Roundtable Discussion (live recording from 1/22/2020)
- Develop a recruitment strategy, know your core member base—is there a gap or segment you’re not reaching?
- Decide on membership goals (target number). Align with strategic plan and develop action plan.
- Split the role of membership between two volunteers—one focused on recruitment and one on retention. Develop a membership committee to share responsibilities.
- Know the value, benefits, and features of membership. All board and committee members must know and understand the Society and its value.
- Before each program/event, highlight a benefit of membership and invite a member to “share their story” (new member, marketing director, business developer, principal).
- Make recruiting personal. Each board member goes to coffee with a nonmember twice a month–spend time “courting” potential members.
- Conduct membership campaigns.
- Keep an up-to-date and viable prospect/nonmember list for outreach. Share your nonmember list with SMPS HQ for additional support.
- Conduct small focus groups with nonmembers and survey—learn what they’re seeking—help them solve a problem.
- Share SMPS: Refer a Friend member referral campaign.
- Welcome new members with a personal touch: call each new member.
- Develop a new member orientation (monthly). Offer the orientation prior to networking events. New members can attend orientation and then jump right into a networking opportunity.
- ASK them to volunteer. Match talents and skills with opportunities.
- Consider a mentor program: Ambassador or Guru Guidance.
- Make sure your educational program offerings appeal to all members and are balanced.
- Offer member-only opportunities.
- Build a recognition program, member spotlight. Highlight member/firms on your website, newsletter, and at programs.
- Involve members in recruitment activities.
- Outreach to members mid-year and prior to expiration.
- Know your chapter stats and member demographic. Reach out to Matthew McFadden, Member Engagement Coordinator, to learn about your current and historical chapter stats.
Matthew McFadden – Membership resources and strategies, membership stats (retention year over year), collateral, and prospecting
Kevin Doyle – Requests for collateral and popup banners, membership, and customer service
Q: Can SMPS HQ help chapter leaders identify relevant programming ideas (i.e. topics, delivery methods, pricing structures)
A: HQ has compiled 5 years of chapter education reports to see what is working for others and maintains a list of 1,000+ Build Business speaker proposals.
Q: Does SMPS HQ offer assistance with speaker resources?
A: In addition to the Build Business proposal lists, Chapter leaders are encouraged to use the vast network of SMPS members and post speaker related questions and requests through the communities in MySMPS.
Q: What are the key components of a solid engagement strategy?
A: A program engagement strategy defines what should take place before, during, and after an educational program. For example:
- Before includes informal discussions with registrants (face-to face or virtual), knowledge assessments, and the opportunity to express learning goals.
- During includes a focus on learning concepts, poll, Q&A, and live chats, and the opportunity for attendees to share personal experiences.
- After includes survey, assessment and certificates, continued discussion between attendees and instructor(s), and the opportunity to share real-world applications.
Q: What does SMPS HQ offer related to distance learning?
A: This online learning portal offers the following:
- Certification training (webinars)
- Webinars (live and On-demand)
- Virtual workshops
- Online courses (self-paced)
- Learning Labs (bi-monthly free programs to SMPS members)
- On-demand seminars
- Visit https://onlinelearning.smps.org/ for details.
Q: How can chapter leaders influence programming offered by SMPS HQ?
A: SMPS HQ would love to hear from you! What are some emerging trends, relevant topics, or gaps in training that you are dealing with? Please send us your suggestions for upcoming programming by emailing [email protected].
Q: How will chapter leaders know about upcoming learning opportunities from HQ?
A: Be sure to check out our monthly educational preview newsletter called Learn & Leverage. This monthly email will include upcoming SMPS professional development, from online webinars to in-person workshops and conferences.
Amanda Smith – Guidance on Adult Learning Principles and Domains of Practice
Natalie Gozzard – Assistance with educational events and programming, and inquiries regarding SMPS webinars
Christine Chirichella – Sponsorship assistance on contracts, packages, and agreements
Semra Ergun – Questions on event planning and logistics, assistance with site visits, and review of hotel contracts
SMPS Brand Videos:
- Firm Leader video – SMPS and Your Firm: A Valuable Partnership
- Mantra sizzle video – This is SMPS – Business Transformed Through Marketing Leadership
- A Day in the Life of a Marketer video
Q: Where can we find our chapter logos?
A: All HQ logos, typefaces, chapter identity guidelines, chapter logos, and other design templates are available in the Branding folder in the All Chapter Leaders Library of MySMPS.
Q: How do we access the SMPS Survey Monkey account?
Q: What type of information can my chapter contribute to SMPS Marketer QuickLook?
A: Examples of ideal contributions and/or events that we could announce include full-day conferences and chapter or member spotlights (e.g., volunteer efforts, #SMPSGivesBack, members on the move/new job announcements, award recipients). In addition, contributions may include articles related to the profession or A/E/C industries. These articles must reside on a website or blog so that we can link to the full story from the blurb we use in Marketer QuickLook.
Q: How do we contribute our chapter news/information to SMPS Marketer QuickLook?
A: Submit contributions or ask questions by reaching out to Content Manager Linda Smolkin at [email protected]. We must have the information in paragraph format (40 words or less) at least two weeks prior to the Tuesday you’d like it to run. SMPS reserves the right to edit content of the paragraph and cannot guarantee placement in a specific issue. In cases where we need an image, please send a few hi-res options in jpg format. Please obtain permission from the photographer and people in the images before sending them to us.
Q: What links/pages from the SMPS HQ site should I be sure to include links to on my chapter website?
A: To assist members in locating valuable resources, please provide links to the following pages on your chapter website:
- Annual Awards Programs: https://www.smps.org/members/recognition/
- Annual Conference: buildbusiness.org
- Career Center: http://www.smpscareercenter.org
- Certification (CPSM): smps.org/cpsm
- Foundation Research: smpsfoundation.org
- Marketing Resource Center: my.smps.org/mrc
- SMPS Bookstore: https://www.smps.org/resources/store/
- Order chapter logoed items: http://www.shopsmps.org/
Q: How do we support the SMPS Foundation?
1. Share SMPS Foundation news and research as it becomes available.
2. Invite SMPS Foundation trustees to present (virtually or in-person) on the latest research.
Q: We are considering a chapter awards program. How do we create synergy with the SMPS Marketing Communications Awards program?
A: Contact Molly Dall’Erta at [email protected] and she will go over options with you on how your chapter awards program can align with the SMPS HQ MCA program, Striving for Excellence, and Chapter President of Year Award programs too.
Josh Miles – Questions on SMPS brand usage, and guidance for messaging
Michele Santiago – Assistance with membership marketing
Molly Dall’Erta – Questions about Awards Programs (SFE, CPY, MCA)
Linda Smolkin – Guidance on messaging and draft copy (how it sounds, flows), questions about SMPS editorial style
Lauren Waldron – Questions about marketing events, questions about SMPS HQ Career Center
- Planning is key: Select a sponsorship chair and, if possible, form a committee to share the responsibility. Get buy-in and support from your board. Set annual dollar and in-kind goals to work toward.
- Make it valuable for your chapter: Assess your sponsorship opportunities on an annual basis (networking and education events, awards programs, web and digital assets, etc.). Make the most of free and low-cost opportunities that allow you to showcase your sponsors.
- Make it valuable for sponsors: Create cash and in-kind sponsorship packages and determine pricing based on the tangible and intangible value of the assets and what the market will bear. Design a prospectus that is attractive and relevant.
- Pitch to the bottom line: When pricing, remember you’re not just asking the sponsor to cover the cost of your event’s budgeted items. Rather, you’re selling a sponsorship package that’s worth much more: a direct affiliation with their prospects in the A/E/C community. When possible, specify the projected number of attendees and emphasize the anticipated number and types of impressions that the sponsorship will achieve.
- Don’t just email: Pick up the phone and work your network. Explain why they need to be a sponsor, what is the value, etc.
- Know your membership and leverage it: Which firms have multiple members—how can you make a package that benefits them and their multiple members? Clearly, they see the value already in SMPS.
- Leverage your local community: Join local business and networking groups to expand your reach. Create or evaluate co-marketing or co-programming opportunities with other local organizations.
- Don’t be afraid to ask: The #1 reason why groups or businesses don’t participate and give money is that no one asked them. Nine out of 10 groups you approach may say “no,” but it’s that one “yes” that counts!
- Plan for budget cycles: Most businesses and groups have a finite grant or sponsorship budget that they distribute according to a set giving cycle, and SMPS is most likely competing with other organizations for those funds. It pays to confirm the potential sponsor’s giving cycle in order to meet their set deadlines.
- Don’t be discouraged by a no: Play detective and investigate if “no” means “not right now.” This could be an opportunity to start building a relationship with a potential future funder to find out more about their philanthropic/business objectives, policies, and key gatekeepers with whom you need to stay in touch.
- Be thorough: If you say you are going to deliver benefits, you must follow through. Make sure other volunteers involved understand their role and follow through as well.
- TRACK all commitments: You don’t need complicated software or databases, even an Excel spreadsheet will work.
- Don’t forget to thank your sponsors: Be sure to personalize your thanks. For example, instead of just sending a thank you card, create a “champion” award ceremony to honor your sponsor’s support.
- Always stay in touch: Be sure to keep the door open for future asks by sending your sponsor periodic updates on your organization or industry articles of interest.
- Ask again! A business’s circumstances and staff can change. It never hurts to try again.
Christine Chirichella – Sponsorship assistance on contracts, packages, and agreements