Creating a Local UXPA Chapter
Local Chapters have proven to be a very fast way of promoting the growth of UXPA and the usability profession. The pilot chapters show impressive figures of growth of the number of members of UXPA in their respective regions.
The most central activity for a Local Chapter is the Chapter meeting. Chapter meetings and all that they can offer are the most tangible benefits of membership, and they are also the most important way of adding new members to the chapter. In order to show potential new members what chapters are all about, all newcomers are allowed one free meeting, without joining or paying the door-fee for non-members. "Bring a friend" or "Bring a co-worker" theme nights are also successful ways of showcasing the Local Chapter.
The important thing is that we as an organization can find strength in these numbers. A larger organization carries more clout (for example in discussions with governments, i.e. the UXPA Outreach Program) and also offers increased credibility to the members of the organization on a global, national and local level.
The Short Route to Creating a Local Chapter
- Contact the UXPA office or a member of the UXPA Chapters Committee and you will be assigned a Chapter Sponsor. Your Chapter Sponsor will send you the Chapter Guidelines and other information that you need in order to start a local Chapter. They will also continue to help you create your Chapter bylaws and guide you through the process of getting approval from the UXPA Board of Directors for Chapter status.
- Round up three to five volunteers in your area who are interested in starting a Local Chapter. This is the core team that will help you prepare the constituting meeting. It may also be smart to arrange one or more informal sessions prior to the constituting one. Both to see if there is enough local interest to start a local chapter, and to see how many UXPA members there are in the region (you need 10 members to petition for Chapter status).
- Write a tentative plan for future meetings and other chapter activities to present at the constituting meeting.
- Create a petition to form a Local UXPA Chapter. Also include the suggested Chapter name, Chapter boundaries and interim Chapter officers. The list of officers shall include a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, or a Secretary/Treasurer, and additional officers as approved by the Chapter.
- Find volunteers who will help develop the Chapter Bylaws in accordance with the suggested guidelines in the UXPA Chapter Guidelines, or decide to adopt the template Bylaws for Chapters. Submit the Bylaws to the Chapter Council, Chapter Sponsor and Chapter membership for review.
- Organize a constituting meeting with at least ten people that currently are, or are prepared to become, UXPA members and support the Local Chapter. The Petition should be signed at the meeting (with each name printed or typed next to the signature) by at least ten members requesting to be recognized as a local Chapter of UXPA. Have the President sign the Charter.
- Submit the Petition, along with the Chapter Charter, proposed Bylaws and the proposed boundaries of the Chapter to the UXPA Chapters Committee and UXPA Board of Directors for approval. Your Chapter Sponsor will inform you continually about the progress of your petition.
These seven easy steps are excerpts from the UXPA Chapter Manual that will help you build the necessary infrastructure and also advise you on how to make your Chapter grow and prosper.
See also the full chapter manual in PDF format.
The Organization of a Local Chapter
The Chapter is a vital part of the UXPA, and the Chapter Council with its President occupies the most prominent leadership position in the Chapter. In addition to being a key to the success of the Chapter's programs, the Council can make important contributions to the success of Association-wide programs. Most Chapters start out with a small Council consisting of four to five officers, but as the Chapter grows the organization of the Council might look something like the figure below. The Chapter Council is elected while committee managers, who report to the Chapter Council, are usually appointed.
Typical organization of a mature Chapter
Another important actor is the Chapter Sponsor. He or she is a veteran UXPA member elected by the UXPA's Board of Directors, and is responsible for overseeing the operation and activities of one or more Chapters. The Chapter sponsor will be an essential part of helping you to get a Chapter started. The Chapter Sponsor is also a member of the UXPA Chapters Committee and the Chapter's link to the Association's Board of Directors and, as such, is the conduit to a wealth of UXPA services and opportunities.
A Local Chapter is part of the UXPA organization, but it is responsible for its own finances. A chapter's first source of operating income is the chapter dues. Chapters are responsible for collecting their own dues, separate from UXPA dues, and verifying that chapter member applicants are current UXPA members before approving chapter membership applications. Most chapter activities are self-sustaining; that is, each activity pays for itself.