AFLSE Chapter and Group Guidelines
Revised and approved by the AFLSE Board - Meeting of April 2009
The AFLSE Structure and Financing
The AFLSE is reliant on the time and effort of its volunteer members. The AFLSE Board of Directors comprised of officers, chapter leaders, and others committed to the organization, meets (in person and by conference call) once or twice a year, to review the organization’s status and policies. A smaller Executive Committee meets every four to six weeks to review and oversee finances and review policy implementation.
The AFLSE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and funds its activities almost exclusively from membership dues. Dues can be paid annually, once every 3 years, or by becoming a life member. (Life member payments are placed in separate investment accounts, the income from which is transferred to the administrative account, and 3-year membership payments are also handled separately).
The majority of revenue from dues is expended to finance the AFLSE Office. There are additional expenses for licensing and maintenance of the AFLSE website (www.aflse.org) which is currently managed by Alumni Magnet and ad hoc expenses for printing, postage etc.
The website represents a substantial investment by the AFLSE and has enabled it to make major administrative improvements and offer greater resources for chapter leaders and local alumni. Membership dues are paid online (as well as by mail for those who prefer not to use the website), individuals can update their own data, and chapter leaders can advertise and have alumni sign up for events online. A members-only job search and career-networking link is also in place.
For many years, the AFLSE has had chapters located in many major cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Over the years, AFLSE members have also volunteered to be contact persons in areas with a low concentration of alumni, such as Northern Florida and Southern Illinois, etc.
The Board has approved specific requirements for establishing City Chapter status. Starting in 2008, it is required that Chapters hold two web posted events during a calendar year to retain or establish their chapter status. Leaders in locations who are unable to have this level of programming will be recognized as AFLSE representatives on our web site and will assist alumni, new students and visiting LSE faculty in their respective areas. AFLSE also has special interest groups such as industry, professional and age related groups that will be subject to the same recognition requirements as city-based Chapters.
Chapter boundaries are based on zip codes and mileage from the center of major metropolitan centers. For example, the chapter borders of New York, Philadelphia and Washington are defined by a 50 mile radius from the downtown center of each of city. In the mid-west and the west, the borders are greater distances, i.e. either a 75 or 100 mile radius.
The AFLSE only can function as a national organization with strong chapter leadership. We are grateful to our many chapter leaders who dedicate considerable time and effort to arranging and attending AFLSE events.
Chapter leaders often evolve and emerge from those who have attended events and offer to assist. Sometimes chapter leaders have been in leadership in other chapters. In general, AFLSE has been very fortunate in having chapter leaders that are appreciated by both the local membership and by national officers.
The Board has approved the following procedures for recognizing chapter leaders. In active chapters, leaders should be proposed by AFLSE members who are active in the local group, and a brief curriculum vitae should be submitted to the President and the Chapter Coordinator for formal approval. In the case of a dispute between the local city group and the national officers, the Board of Directors will make a final decision. AFLSE regional representatives in areas not served by chapters will be appointed by the President working with the Chapter Coordinator.
The success of alumni relations in the USA is achieved primarily through the chapters and their volunteer leaders, who represent both the LSE and the AFLSE to the local alumni. The Chapter Coordinator is responsible for recruiting individual chapter leaders, and questions relating to chapter policy should be referred to that person (firstname.lastname@example.org).
AFLSE Membership Requirement for Volunteers
The willingness of individuals to offer their time and effort on behalf of local alumni is greatly appreciated, but in order for the AFLSE to function and expand its operations, it is essential to adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Chapter Leaders must be alumni/ae (having completed at least one year of study at the School), be members of the AFLSE and ensure that they continue to be members in good standing from year to year.
2. Alumni volunteers who may be co-opted as chapter co-leaders, members of committees, or organizers of events, and are to be listed on the website, must also be AFLSE members.
The Role of Chapter Leaders
The character of each AFLSE chapter varies greatly by geographic size, and number of alumni, all of whom are potential members. There is no generic rule or measure of a “successful” chapter or chapter leader. However, more active chapters tend to attract more dues-paying AFLSE members, and chapter leaders should play an active role in recruiting members in order to maintain and strengthen the organization.
The AFLSE chapter leaders are the most important link between alumni, the national organization, and the LSE itself. Chapter leaders are the point of contact for all local alumni, as well as for potential and new students and for LSE academics visiting to their areas.
The LSE and the AFLSE websites (www.lse.ac.uk) and (www.aflse.org), are resources which have relieved chapter leaders of some of the burden of providing information and responding to frequently asked questions, for example: “How do I apply for admission to the LSE?” Questions regarding job opportunities are also frequently referred to chapter leaders, and the AFLSE is working to set up a careers networking function on the website. However, the internet cannot replace personal contact and interaction, for example: an opportunity to speak directly to someone who studied an LSE course of interest to a potential student; to meet face to face with other alumni pursuing the same career, or simply to make contact with people with whom one has a common interest and background, particularly after moving to a new city. Chapter leaders play a vital role in fostering these interactions.
Chapter leaders should also be aware, that although most enquiries and opportunities for networking are sought by younger alumni, they should also plan activities which will be of interest to all age groups. The AFLSE encourages chapters to host an event which will appeal to a broad range of alumni at least once or twice a year. Consideration should also be given to the fact that older alumni may be able to help in providing resources to the chapter such as venues for events: board rooms for receptions, homes suitable for barbecues, end-of-year parties, etc.
Suggested Activities and Events
Regular Happy Hours, at a lively location which attracts young people and is convenient for people to reach after work, have become very successful in chapters such as New York and Washington, D.C., regularly attracting 30 or more (mostly young) alumni. They also have great potential for other cities such as Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
Visits by LSE Academics and/ or Lectures by Alumni
The AFLSE works with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations (ODAR) at the LSE, and the LSE Foundation in New York to get notice of visits to the US by LSE academics as guest lecturers at other universities and institutions. Local alumni are usually welcome to attend these events, including any associated receptions. Details are then advertised on the AFLSE website, and notices put out in newsletters circulated online.
Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, LSE faculty seldom makes such visits known in advance. It is therefore a good idea for chapter leaders to make contact with alumni in the local universities, think tanks, etc. and ask them to review their websites for upcoming lectures/seminars by LSE faculty, or other academic alumni. In addition, most chapters have locally resident alumni who are distinguished in academic and other fields, and would be happy to speak. The LSE Foundation can assist chapters in identifying speakers for local chapter engagements.
Bon Voyage Parties
In recent years, a number of chapters have held very successful parties between late July and early September for new students beginning their studies at the LSE in the fall. Planning for Bon Voyage parties should start by May 1st. The earlier that a chapter establishes the date, time and location of its Bon Voyage event, the more students will know about the event and be more likely to attend.
At the end of June or early July, e-mail notices are sent out by the LSE Admissions Office to all those who have been offered a place for courses starting at the beginning of October, listing all the AFLSE parties that have been scheduled. Enrolling students are asked to RSVP in advance to any event they would like to attend. This is important as it allows us to record their e-mail address and communicate with them centrally before they leave for LSE. Venues have ranged from private homes to restaurants and bars, (where the students are hosted by the alumni with hors d’oeuvres and/or drinks), to the British Consulate in Boston and the residence of the British Consul-General in Los Angeles.
In pricing the bon voyage events it should be noted that the LSE has been providing grants to AFLSE for new students ($10 per student in 2008) and chapters that have received such funding should not charge students. However, guests of students, AFLSE members and AFLSE non member alumni should pay their way. AFLSE non-member pricing should be higher than AFLSE member pricing in order to encourage membership dues payment.
Other Events and Building a Chapter Tradition
It is appreciated that what works for one chapter will not necessarily translate into a successful event in another. Types of events which have proved popular, some free and some incurring charges, include: wine tastings, speaking engagements by non-academic distinguished alumni, theater outings or sporting events. Parties have been organized where alumni have been asked to bring donations for charities such as Toys for Tots, or for children in local homeless shelters. Summer outdoor concerts in some cities have also proved popular as venues for alumni to bring picnics and socialize.
It is a good idea to try to build a chapter tradition: Create a special annual event that members will anticipate and look forward to year after year. For example, New York City hosts an annual wine tasting. Other chapters have held regular receptions with the local British Consul General. There are British Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Information can be found online at: www.britainusa.com. This site has links to the local consular web pages, and these also list visits by senior diplomats, including the British Ambassador and the UK Ambassador to the UN, for speaking engagements in cities around the USA.
Suggestions for Smaller Chapters
Types of events will clearly vary, depending on chapter location and size. The AFLSE understands that chapters covering a broader geographic area, with a low concentration of alumni, will have a greater challenge in arranging events. However, the CHAPTERS link on the website now makes it easy for chapter leaders to get ideas from others around the country.
An example of a small chapter which has adopted an initiative which could be copied by others is Minneapolis/St Paul. Here, the chapter leaders have joined with the Ivy Plus Network (www.ivyplus.net) which organizes happy hours and get-togethers for Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge and the LSE, as well as Ivy League Alumni.
Co-sponsoring events with other alumni organizations makes particular sense for smaller chapters, but “joint ventures” with others who have experienced higher education in the UK have proved a success for others. For example, New York City has co-hosted an end of year Holiday Party with Oxford University Alumni for the past two years.
Another organization which has welcomed LSE alumni to attend its events is the English-Speaking Union (E-SU) founded in the 1920s to foster relationships between the UK and the United States. The E-SU has more than 70 branches within the USA and promotes cultural activities, books by British authors, etc. Contact information can be found at: www.esuus.org/branches.htm
Generic Guidelines for Events
1) Cover Costs
With the limited resources provided by dues income, the AFLSE can only make a small amount available to assist with chapter events. Since 2007 chapters have been able to request up to $150 per annum in documented expenses for events advertised on the website the previous 12 months. However, in general, the pricing objective should be to generate sufficient revenue to cover the costs associated with each specific event as well as a small margin to help with financing the chapter’s events.
2) Advertising, Sign-up and Paying on Website
All chapter events should be advertised on the website (forward information to the AFLSE office: email@example.com). You are strongly encouraged to have alumni sign up for all events online, whether or not there is a charge. Online sign ups enable you to monitor the number of those who propose to attend. Paying in advance encourages attendance, reduces problems associated with collecting money at the door, and attracts non-members to use the website and appreciate the benefits of membership. Chapters will be reimbursed by the AFLSE office by check, shortly after the event for the full amount for all tickets/admissions paid online. The AFLSE national organization absorbs the cost of credit card transactions.
3) Events as a Benefit of Membership
It is AFLSE policy for chapters to employ differential pricing for AFLSE members versus non-members attending chapter events (with guests of members admitted at the member price). At LOGIN the website database will discriminate between members and non-members in order to implement the policy. Larger chapters should also consider holding some members-only events to reinforce the benefits of membership. The Board has mandated that the President or his/her nominee should approve the pricing of all chapter events to ensure that this policy is appropriately implemented.
4) Encourage Membership in the AFLSE
At all events, try to encourage membership in the organization. Make an announcement reminding people that the AFLSE is a non-profit organization, dependent on membership dues. Provide hard-copy membership forms directing people to login to the website to pay online, or to send a check to the administrative office.
5) Contracting for Events
If a major event is planned, requiring chapter leaders to sign a contract for reserving a room, catering etc., the contract should be approved by the AFLSE President (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to signing. Chapter leaders do not have authority to bind the AFLSE to any financial or other legal commitment without the President's approval.
6) Sponsorship of chapter events
Members of a number of chapters have generously helped sponsor chapter activities by providing locations, refreshments and financing for specific events. AFLSE is grateful for this support and in return is willing to give members and their companies some acknowledgement of their support for the event. In order to coordinate sponsorship efforts with the AFLSE national organization, Chapter Leaders should inform the Chapter Coordinator and President of any plans to solicit sponsors. Any solicitation of sponsors should be discreet and personalized. Appeals for general financial sponsorship in chapter newsletters reduces the professional image of AFLSE overall.
Communication between AFLSE, Chapter Leaders and Alumni
The AFLSE Website (www.aflse.org)
Every chapter has a page on the website CHAPTERS link. The AFLSE has a uniform structure for the chapter pages but Chapter leaders will provide specific content, including the names of those who are active in organizing or overseeing events. Chapters are strongly encouraged to keep their page updated with write-ups and photographs of any events and listings of activities of interest, whether or not they have been initiated by the local chapter. Send all updates to the AFLSE Office for posting.
The website has proven to be a very successful innovation, with great untapped potential, and chapters should not set up their own separate websites or mailing lists. This is in order to maintain the unity of the AFLSE, the legal entity under which the chapters operate.
Everyone whose name is mentioned on the chapter page should be an AFLSE member. Membership status can be determined by any paid up member at the website using the online Membership Directory which is automatically updated when alumni join or renew AFLSE membership. The website has an associated database of current and recent members. Alumni may sign up online for membership and update addresses, telephone numbers, etc. Names and addresses of members without e-mail addresses and those who prefer to pay membership dues by check are also entered in the database.
Publicizing and Paying for Events on the Website
The AFLSE Office must receive the following in order to post events to the AFLSE website. The AFLSE Office will edit and format any text send to fit the website's style guides. Chapters do not need to send all the information that is requested at once, however the more information send the quicker the Office will be able to get the event posted to the AFLSE website.
Please email email@example.com with the following details about the event:
1) headline (60 characters max)
2) sub head (255 characters max)
3) main text (unlimited) to include location, contact for more info, event date, and time
4) include an image (preferably in jpg format) to include in announcement if available
If there is a cost to attend the AFLSE office will set up a link for Credit Card payment:
1) price for AFLSE members & guests, price for non members (pricing will require the President's approval). There is no limit to the number of different ticket prices
2) max number of tickets to be sold
3) cut off date for ticket sales
Generally it takes the AFLSE Office two business days to post an announcement on the AFLSE website. In fairness to all chapters, events are readied for posting in the order they are received, not by the event date.
If you have limited information about a planned event, the Office can post a "save the date" notice on the AFLSE website. Only a date, time, and general details about the event a need be sent the AFLSE Office for posting a "save the date" notice on the AFLSE website. All additional details are still required for the completed event notice to be posted.
The event posting appears on the main event page in date order. The AFLSE Office will normally tag the event for it to appear on the chapter page and group page.
Chapter e-mail Address
Each chapter has its own e-mail address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). The address is a post box for forwarding any e-mails to one or more chapter leaders. The benefit of this procedure is that individual e-mail addresses do not need to be placed on the website and transitions in leadership can be easily handled. Please notify the AFLSE Office of any changes to the chapter leadership recipients for the chapter e-mail address.
Chapter Newsletters and Group Lists
Chapter newsletters exist to communicate with a sub group of AFLSE registered users who either live in the chapter area or have signed up to receive specific chapter newsletters. Any registered user can sign up for any chapter newsletter by joining the chapter group at the specific chapter home page site. One of the benefits of this approach is that there is no separate list to be maintained for a chapter’s newsletters. Each registered user is responsible for updating his or her profile with current e-mail address and ensuring that he/she is a member of each group of interest.
A designated Chapter leader is instructed in use of the Chapter Newsletter web function and will be given appropriate access to administrative sections of the web site. Chapter Newsletters can be prepared by entering the “Manage Newsletter” item on the Admin menu at the globe on the main menu banner of the web site and clicking on “New Newsletter”. Scroll down to the Edit Newsletter and first PLEASE be sure to evoke the recipient list for YOUR chapter. Please avoid sending messages to the whole membership, by error. Next, give your newsletter a title and text preferably starting with AFLSE and the chapter name (e.g. AFLSE Los Angeles May Newsletter). If you have separately prepared news articles and/or event articles that you wish to have embedded in the newsletter, please include the article number in the appropriate box. Please review and proof read your chapter newsletter before publishing it to your chapter membership.
We recommend that chapter newsletters be sent no more than once a month in order to avoid over saturation of alumni with e-mail material. We strongly recommend including local non-AFLSE events of potential interest to members, such as job postings, apartment sublets, charity events and other items sponsored by AFLSE members. You can encourage contributions from your recipients by indicating in your newsletter that they can send you material to your AFLSE mail box, “chapter name”@aflse.org e.g. email@example.com.
Many alumni receiving the newsletters are not members of the AFLSE, so chapter leaders should encourage membership in their communications. AFLSE has made a substantial investment in the chapter newsletter capability and new and renewing memberships will be a major way to recoup the cost.
Chapter leaders should not maintain separate e-mail lists but ensure that all interested alumni are registered in their chapter groups at the web site. Chapter leaders can obtain a full Excel spread sheet of their current membership by e-mailing a request to the AFLSE Office at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
The cost of hard copy mailings has become substantial, and they have been largely superseded by electronic communication. The AFLSE has access to data on all US alumni from the LSE ODAR database which is updated annually. If a chapter leader wishes to carry out a complete mailing to all alumni in the chapter area, (using chapter funds) the AFLSE Office can assist in preparing a postcard and arranging for automated mailing. Costs can be estimated on request to the AFLSE Office.
Any mailing, electronic or hard copy, should include a message directing alumni to the AFLSE website to join or update their membership.
Communication with the AFLSE Leadership
The President and Chapter Coordinator communicate frequently with chapter leaders on all aspects of the AFLSE. The AFLSE leadership is open to suggestions from chapter leaders on how to improve AFLSE policies and services. Any issues beyond administrative implementation should be addresses initially to the Chapter Coordinator. The AFLSE Office administers approved activities but does not make policy for the AFLSE.
The AFLSE is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Those chapters that maintain bank accounts do so under the AFLSE’s tax I.D. number. As such, each chapter with a bank account is asked to forward copies of their December and June bank statements to the AFLSE Treasurer; the annual audit should include such chapter information.
As noted above, chapter heads are encouraged to charge fees for their events both to cover the costs of their mailings and to recoup event expenses, so that chapters can hold events with no out-of-pocket expenses to the chapter leadership. Each year the AFLSE Board of Directors considers the size of the reimbursement of active chapter expenses ($150 in documented expenses in 2008).
Chapters are not required to open or hold individual bank accounts. However, if a chapter elects to hold events requiring the processing of members’ entry fees, the payment of invoices, or a substantial purchase of tickets, then the AFLSE urges that a bank account be established in the corporation’s name. If there are any questions about how or whether to open an account, please contact the Treasurer.
The AFLSE Office currently has a contract for administrative services provided by RPL. Please use e-mail to communicate with the AFLSE Office. In addition to keeping a record of AFLSE income and expenditures, RPL manages the website database, hard copy mailings, and traffic on the AFLSE website. Chapter Leaders should contact the AFLSE Office to have items added to the website.
P.O. Box 17510
Arlington, VA 22216-7510
voice mail: (202) 296-2406 (message and information line)
The post office mailbox, voice mail, and AFLSE e-mail account are checked regularly and should be used as a reference point for any membership inquiries, payments, or change of address information. Members and potential members should make changes to their profiles directly on the Web in the first instance rather than notifying the AFLSE Office.
The AFLSE Office functions exclusively through regular mail, voice mail and e-mail. Web support can be provided effectively to all members by these means. AFLSE does not have sufficient funds to allow the administrator to provide one-on-one technical support.