3 Powerful Ways to Kick-Start Your Chapter’s Year

Whether it’s working with a new client or joining a new team, I’ve learned that the way you start has a lot of influence on the rest of the experience. The same applies to your upcoming PRSSA year. How you start will have an impact on the way it progresses, and ultimately, what you get out of it.

As a member of the executive board, it’s your job to set your Chapter on the right course. Here are three powerful ways to do so:

1. Plan Your First Semester—Now

It’s wise to plan your semester at least several months in advance, but if you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late. Here’s how you can chart a path without a lot of lead-time:

  • Do whatever you can to get your executive board on a conference call for a solid hour. Skype and Google hangouts work well for this.
  • During your time, focus on brainstorming what you want your members to experience, gain and accomplish for the upcoming semester.
  • Once you answer those questions, begin brainstorming events and put together a calendar you can send out to members in advance.
  • Vary your event types with a healthy mix of speakers, workshops and social engagements. Also, don’t forget to incorporate PRSSA National events and Twitter chats into your calendar.

2. Upgrade Your E-Board’s Communication Method

One of the biggest trends in agency life right now is the integration of chat tools into daily workflows.

In all the organizations I’m involved with, we utilize an amazing tool called Slack. The result? Transparent and razor-focused conversations. We’ve also cut out literally 1000s of emails that would get exchanged back and forth.

Want to know the best part about Slack? It’s free and you can download it on all of your devices for instant conversation.

Consider upgrading your communication system to a centralized, efficient chat application before you start your year. Investing in developing tight communication can make all the difference on the management of your Chapter as the year goes on.

Chat tools like Slack can improve your Executive Board's daily communication. Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch.
Chat tools like Slack can improve your executive board’s daily communication. Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch.

3. Present the Year to Your Members (Before the Semester Begins)

Your members want to know what the upcoming year will hold for them. The summer time is too often a time of silence for Chapters. It’s OK to give it a break for a little while, but when the school year is approaching, you want to open the communication lines again.

It’s as easy as leading with an email that overviews what the year will look like. Discuss the upcoming events (that you either had in mind or already established), and again, be sure to include the dates for PRSSA National events so that people can start saving and planning.

It’s also an incredible help to create a Google Calendar to share with your members.

Kick Off the Year with Purpose

With a little prep and a few systems in place, you can kick off an outrageously successful year for your Chapter. Ready? It’s time to get to work!


Ben Butler is an entrepreneur and marketing communications professional. He’s the founder of a public relations and branding firm, Top Hat IMC, director of inbound partnerships at an inbound marketing agency and head of communications at a SaaS startup. You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn and on Twitter @BenButlerPR.

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