Several years ago I saw a wonderful presentation by a chapter regent in Texas, Mae Bruce. Mae has marvelous organizing skills and put them to good use simplifying the files which a chapter regent needs to keep on hand. Even in an age when we strive to be paperless and new technological tools allow us to be more efficient than ever before, Mae’s system offers some great suggestions that regents, especially those new to their duties, may find extremely valuable.
While of course every chapter has its own style of doing things and every chapter regent has her own way of organizing her chapter, I know from my time as a regent that I was always open to ideas as to how others efficiently managed their chapter and their duties. I asked Mae if she would describe her chapter regent organizing system so that I could share it on the blog for new chapter regents or others interested in organizational tips. I hope you find these tips from Mae useful, and please share with us your ideas for chapter organization as well.
Purchase a 3-ring binder, maybe 2" or 2 ½" size and a sturdy set of tab divider pages. This binder is the first thing you are going to take to every one of your chapter meetings, and it will contain all the information that is crucial to have at your fingertips. Arrange in order either by date or alphabetically. Every item should be labeled, dated, and in order.
This is the order of tabbed sections that worked for me:
Doesn’t that sound simple? Well it is. Think of all the lists you need to refer to:
- ·Chapter members’ birthdays;
- ·State Officers’ names and contact information;
- ·Lists you can download from e-Membership with your members’ Magazine subscription list;
You will use this section more than any others.
Keep your Chapter’s annual Program of meetings here, along with the suggested calendar that appears within the Chapter Regent’s Manual on the Members’ Website and/or the calendar information that appears in the DAR Handbook. Your State may also furnish a calendar; put it in this section and READ it OFTEN!
3. Chapter Agenda/Minutes
For example, use your October meeting: You will have your planned agenda, and you will receive a copy of the Treasurer’s Report, the Registrar’s Report, and others. Possibly a flyer your chapter received about some state committee. And after the meeting, your efficient secretary will give you a typed copy of the minutes. At that time, you need to staple all of your pages regarding the October meeting together. For easy reference, you will have all that month’s information together in one place.
Place incoming, as well as outgoing, correspondence here, in order by date.
5. Regent’s Duties
From various sources (you, your chapter’s previous Regents, and the Chapter Regent’s Manual available on the Members’ Website), you have received wonderful pages of instructions for a Regent. Place them in this section.
Put copies of everything you can find on protocol in this section. It is so handy to help your membership feel comfortable when hosting, or visiting a DAR function. Visit the Protocol Committee page for more helpful resources.
7. Your State Society Information
Place your fall flyer, any conference information, hotel confirmations, etc. in this section. Also it might be handy to place a copy of that Nominating Committee Slate, which has photos and accomplishments of all the state officers. It will help you get to know them better and to properly introduce them at chapter meetings.
The Letter Box
Next you will need to purchase one plastic “Letter Box” with hanging file folders. This is the second of the two things that you will need to carry to your meetings. This box will contain all of the information which you may need to refer to when asked questions by your members. Think of it as a “reference” box. Personally, I use regular file folders and place them in the hanging file folders so that when you remove a folder to use, that hanger will stay right there ready to replace the folder.
The possible folders you will want to refer to (alphabetical order will help you find them):
1. American Spirit and the Daughters Newsletter – Only the latest copy
2. Committees – Place all the flyers you get from various committees in this folder. It is rare to accumulate enough on any one that it will need its own folder, so just place all of them in here.
3. State Packet – Keep one complete mint copy in this folder. It can be a disaster if you do not have this.
4. Insignia – All flyers and order forms from Hamilton should go in this folder.
5. Juniors – This is one committee which you might get enough paper that it will need its own folder.
6. Maps – Print a map of various meeting places, council meeting place, your popular library, and save the maps in this folder. When your members plan a group trip to research, there is your map!
7. CAA and Master Questionnaire – Another place for a complete mint copies. You always need to be prepared for lost or scattered pages, and this is where you keep a secure set.
8. NIP (National Information Packet) – Because it is now online, if you do not want to print the entire thing, you might just want to copy the Chapter Achievement Award Form and the Index. That way, when needing to look up something, you can look at the index to see exactly what page to go to.
9. NSDAR Info – Information about Congress, hotel information, credentials, etc.
10. Regents’ Council – Place your Council Yearbook in here, as well as any other information.
11. Supplies – A Regent always will need things like address labels, pens, and stamps. Store it here.
12. State Newsletter – Keep all the copies for your term and refer to them often. You will have enough space.
Now behind these hanging files, you will have some space. In this back portion of the box, place one small binder to collect small NSDAR booklets. You will need to unstaple and hole-punch them before placing them in the small binder.
Booklets such as:
- · State By-Laws
- · Official Procedure and Protocol
- · DAR Schools
- · Guide for Chapter Treasurers
- · Guide for Chapter Registrars
- · Application Papers
- · Instructions for Copying Source Records
- · NSDAR Ritual
You will place your NSDAR Handbook and Bylaws in that back space of the Letter box. If you are asked questions, such as the proper order of the pins on the ribbon, you can find the answers to them in these publications.
Last but not least, you will also have room for your gavel and a patriotic cloth about one yard square. When you are meeting in a room with no podium, all you will need to do is drape the cloth over the Letter Box, and place your 3-ring binder on top, and you now have a patriotic podium! Just place it on the table, and you are ready!
Good luck with your “Box and Binder” - they will carry everything you need to your chapter meetings. And in the event a family emergency keeps you from attending a chapter meeting at the last minute, your vice regent just needs the box and she will be ready to preside in your absence!