You’ve taken a concrete step to make the world a little better!
Starting chapter can be great fun and you may make some wonderful new friends, too.
For a little time and effort once a week, you can start your very own chapter.
Some of the ideas below are mandatory, others are merely suggestions. So, please don’t let the length of the list concern you.
Have fun with your new chapter!
Establishing and Organizing a Local Chapter
Students and members of ZoosAreForTheBirds.org can form local chapters. We encourage local chapters as a means of advancing our mission, increasing membership and preparing individuals for leadership roles on the national level. The following guide provides information on the process of forming chapters.
Why Go Local?
ZoosAreForTheBirds.org is an international organization which delivers a range of benefits to members. There are many things that can be accomplished on a local level much more effectively.
Local chapters serve as a venue for members to get together, exchange views, attend educational presentations and social activities. Local chapters can regularly interact in a local community to provide programs or activities that directly impact the quality of life for all members of the community – both it’s human and wild life members. And, a local organization is aware of and sensitive to the needs that are unique to every community.
Perhaps, one of the most important responsibilities of a local chapter is establishing and maintaining a high level of rapport with the City Council, which typically governs the local zoo.
What You Need To Get Started
Starting a chapter is not a difficult process, but it is a process which requires commitment. It requires animal lovers who agree with our mission – We advocate transforming zoos into wild bird sanctuaries – and wish to take a proactive role accomplishing that mission.
Without this commitment an effective chapter cannot exist.
Steps in getting started
Contact the national association. Inform the Executive Director that you are interested in forming a local chapter of ZoosAreForTheBirds.org. We will provide a list of members in your community or metropolitan area.
Get two or three people who share your enthusiasm and goals to assist you in the creation of the local chapter. These members may be the founding officers of the new chapter.
Contact local ZoosAreForTheBirds.org members and students. This can be done by telephone or email; however, the Association recommends that you first identify individuals or members you already know. Contact them and ask them to participate in the formation of the new chapter.
Decide upon a structure
What officers you will have and who they will be.(Recommended officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer.)
A chapter is not designed to make money, but you will need funds for organizing, events, meeting expenses and so forth. The Association will have guidelines for you to consider.
Review the national chapter’s by-laws. A sample set of local chapter by-laws is available for guidance.
The initial goals of the chapter.
What do you want to accomplish for your first year? Develop your MISSION statement.
Set-up a system for record keeping and accounting.
At a minimum you will need to track:
Member contact information
Dues received and owed
Once You’ve Started, Here Are Some Suggestions of What To Do Next
Hold an organizing and recruiting meeting. Hold this in the evening at someone’s house or office or a location on campus. Serve refreshments. Invite everyone who may be interested. Include current members of ZoosAreForTheBirds.org and potential members.
At the meeting be prepared to:
- Generate enthusiasm for the new local chapter! Without your enthusiasm, you can’t expect new members to be enthusiastic. Both you and they will need enthusiasm to make a difference.
- Make sure everyone understands and agrees upon our mission statement – We advocate transforming zoos into wild bird sanctuaries.
- Sign up new members to both the local and national chapter.
- Discuss a possible schedule of events.
- Appoint members for committees.
- Secure a faculty advisor (for student chapters) and get a commitment from the school or university.
- Open your bank account. Student chapters will need to become recognized as a student organization by their college or university. A bank account may be set up through the school.
- Designate a location (s) for your meetings. The location will depend upon the type of meetings you will be holding. Generally, locations are easy to arrange, such as small meeting rooms at hotels or banquet rooms at a restaurant. For student chapters you may find locations within the school or university to hold meetings. These facilities are eager to host and cater professional meetings.
Locations for other meetings may include:
Officer’s meetings: Hotel lobby, restaurant, officer’s house, library meeting room.
Educational meetings: Hotel lobby, library meeting room.
Board meetings: Library meeting room or officer’s home.
School or university facility
Publish a schedule of events:
Please make special note that all posters or flyers must be approved by the National Director.
If you’re a student, ask for approval to post approved flyers or posters at school. Churches, coffee shops, gyms may also be good places to post information about events.
You may want to contact local vegetarian, vegan, animal welfare or animal rights organizations to place announcements in their journals or newsletters.
The chapter exists to do things. It is important the chapter has a mix of activities and a structure to its activities. This will entice membership as people may join for different reasons and it will bestow the professional credibility appropriate to a chapter of ZoosAreForTheBirds.org. Chapters may engage in the following activities:
Chapters may provide classes using the fully illustrated magazine, Are ZoosMisleading Us? Ten Points to Ponder, as a textbook of sorts.
Community Events. Local chapters may participate or organize:
Animal Welfare Fairs – You may want to begin by being a part of a farmer’s market or art festivals. It doesn’t matter if you start small or big, the most important thing is that you start.
T-shirt Sales – This is a great way to raise money. We can help you with purchasing t-shirts with our logo.
Peaceful, Silent Demonstrations – These must be approved by the National Director prior to planning, organizing and gaining permits for the demonstration.
It is absolutely paramount that all demonstrations we organize, or in which we participate, be thoroughly peaceful, conducted according to law and coordinated with local law enforcement officials and officers. We must always be very respectful, fully cooperative and courteous to them.
Indeed, it is mandatory that participants behave as ladies and gentlemen at all times. All of our demonstrations are silent – we may quietly talk among ourselves and answer questions but other than this, we must remain silent during demonstrations.
The ZoosAreForTheBirds.org national office will provide information and updates on current issues.
Forms, Documents & Supplies:
Any organization requires paper to function. Be prepared to develop or acquire the following forms.
Certification of Membership
Flyers for events
Newsletters or informational mailings
Schedules of events
Don’t worry about doing everything right away. Organizations grow and develop over time.
The important thing is to start.
And, remember – have fun!