Chapter Resources Guide

 

Support, Guidelines and Information for SFA Chapters

The online version of this guide is kept current, whereas the print version may, at any given time, be out-of-date. The association will update chapters’ print versions annually, but it is recommended that chapters use the online version.

CONTENTS:
(Click on the bold titles to jump to the page)

Introduction

Shared Events Calendar

Chapter Revenue

Check Requests
Deposits
Financial Reports
Credit Cards
Receipts
Association Financial Report

Bylaws, Policies and Procedures Relating to Chapters

Chapter Charter

Event Planning Resources

Event Insurance
Insurance and Alcohol Sales and Tastings
Festival of Farms
Annual Meeting
Event Planning Basics
Advance Schedule
Promotion
Ticketing & Admissions
Vendors & Exhibitors
Security
Hospitality
Contracts

Volunteer Guidelines and Policy

Staffing Guidelines and Resources

Grant Writing Guidelines

Membership Management

Membership Form
Tips on Membership Recruitment & signup

Graphics and Branding

Chapter Governance Guidelines

Chapter Board Structure
Chapter Annual Meeting
Holding Effective Board Meetings

Developing a Youth Component

Creating a New Chapter –or- Reestablishing an Inactive Chapter Board

Networking Groups

Fees for Services

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Introduction

Purpose

The idea and purpose for this guide, and for all of the Network Development work that took place from 2013 – 2015, is simple, even if the material appears quite complex:
We want to spend as much time and energy accomplishing the mission and goals of SFA, and only as much time as necessary to maintain and operate the organization itself.

But 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations are complex, and there are a host of rules, regulations and best practices that must be recognized and adhered to.

It is our hope that by streamlining and communicating all these procedures and policies in an accessible format, all of us will be able to focus on the tasks at hand: providing education, building our sustainability community, and caring for the land.

If a few of us – the association board, the staff, chapter officers and delegates – take care of the operation and maintenance of the organization (which should take a lot less time now that all these portals, policies and procedures are in place) then everyone can get out there and do the work without having to think about all the mundane details.

Mission Statement

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration, and education.

Strategic Plan

The current Strategic Plan, adopted in 2013, can be found here:
http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013-SFA-Strategic-Plan.pdf

History and Structure

The previous “Chapter Handbook”, published in 1994, will be online soon at: http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-documents

The 25th Anniversary Edition of “The Cornerpost”: http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/CornerPost-for-website-2014-15.pdf

“The New Dawn of Farming”:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/NewDawnofFarming1.pdf

“The Beginnings of the Farmer-to-Farmer Network“:
http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/The-Beginnings-of-SFAs-Farmer-to-Farmer-Network-–%C2%A0March-12-2013.pdf

SFA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation chartered by the State of Minnesota. It is comprised of individual members, business & organization members, chapters (nine chapters in 2014), and Networking Groups.

The board of directors includes delegates from each of the nine chapters and six at-large directors.  http://www.sfa-mn.org/board/

See here for a current staff directory:
http://www.sfa-mn.org/staff/

The CHAPTER RESOURCE PORTAL:
Find all the resources available to chapters through the association.
www.sfa-mn.org -> Resources -> SFA Chapter Resource Portal
Direct link: http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-chapter-resource-portal/

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Shared Events Calendar

The Shared Events Calendar serves a valuable function for Chapters both internally and externally. By keeping the calendar updated, chapters can insure that events are known to the rest of the association and can help minimize conflicting events inadvertently booked on the same date. This calendar appears on the SFA website (http://www.sfa-mn.org/events/) to serve as our published calendar to the public, allowing it to also be a useful promotional tool.

Find this events calendar at sfa-mn.org, in the “Events” pull-down menu.

Each chapter may assign one or more people to enter chapter events on the Shared Events Calendar.

The calendar has the capability to include links to your chapter webpage.

Here is the procedure:

  • Send a request to Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448, 763-244-6659, to have someone from your chapter designated as the person who will have editing access. He will need the person’s name and email address. Jerry will assign them a password.
  • Jerry will train this person to use the WordPress calendar (it’s not difficult).
  • You may enter any chapter events, or any events on which you are collaborating. This includes your chapter board meetings, farm tours, deadlines for registrations, Annual Meeting and similar events.

Alternate Procedure:
Send your event information to Jerry Ford, and he will enter it for you.

Association board directors and staff may also have editing access to this calendar.

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Chapter Revenue

The association provides an array of financial resources to all unincorporated chapters, including account management by a certified public accountant (CPA), check writing capability, record keeping, and coordination with your chapter treasurer. In addition, the association handles all state and federal tax reporting, as well as filing all corporation paperwork with the State of Minnesota at no charge to your chapter.

Each chapter’s funds are kept within the Chapter Funds Account, which is separate from the SFA Operating Account, and are recorded in distinct and separate accounts. All revenue from memberships, event admissions, and other sources received from the chapter are recorded in this account and may only be used by the chapter.

It is required that all chapter finances must be handled through the association (Bylaws, Section 10.2) in order for SFA to stay in compliance with state and federal tax regulations. The exception to this rule is Lake Superior Chapter, which is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3).

Generally, your chapter’s treasurer will handle all the financial interactions with the association. See the section on Chapter Board Structure.

Check Requests

There are three ways for your chapter to spend its funds:

1) You can request a check to be sent directly to the vendor, or the check made out to the vendor may be sent to one of your members who will deliver it to the vendor.
2) Your members can spend money out-of-pocket and request reimbursement via the same check request procedure.
3) You may set up credit accounts through the association with particular vendors, which is especially useful for regularly recurring expenses. This billing can go directly to the association, if you wish.

Generally, your chapter treasurer will be the designated person to handle your check requests. This person will need to have Google Sites access, and should send a request to Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448, to get clearance, if this hasn’t already been done. He will need the name and email address that you will use when you access the website form.

Once this person has been entered into the system, to request checks, they will go to this website:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFRYTzlGcDJGMVQ4cHZjRXhjSGR3Smc6MQ
Enter your name and email the same as what you submitted to Jerry. The rest of the form is fairly self-explanatory, but if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Timeline: As with any organization that processes as many payments as we do, checks take a little time. Please allow up to four weeks for the check to be mailed.

Financial Reports

A chapter can access its most recent financial report here:
http://www.sfa-mn.org/chapterbalance/
These reports are updated monthly.

 Deposits

Please note that all checks written to your chapter should be made out to “SFA”, and should not include anything else in the pay-to line. In the memo line of the check, you may include things like “membership” or “farm tour admission” or your chapter’s name.

When your chapter receives income, you may deposit these funds into your account with the association by mailing the checks and a descriptive list to:

Sustainable Farming Association
P.O. Box 192
Princeton, MN 55371

Include with the check a descriptive list with a statement of what each check is for: membership, admission to an event, donation, etc.

When the association receives the checks you send and the descriptive list, all of them will be scanned and archived. You may request a copy of this scanned document. Your chapter, usually the treasurer, is responsible for keeping records of all deposits you submit.

Cash Deposits

If you receive cash, you may designate a person to collect it and write a personal check for the amount. It’s always best to have two of your chapter leaders count the money together. When you send the personal check as directed above, you must include a statement with details about why the cash was collected, such as event admissions, donations, etc.

If there are membership dues included, you must include the following information for each member:

Membership category (individual, family, student)
Amount paid
Name
Address
Email

If you need to deposit more than $2,000.00 into your chapter account, or if you anticipate needing this in the future, contact John Mesko, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nhoj1432545448, to make arrangements.

 Credit Cards

For all your events that have advance registration or ticket sales, the association provides the capability for your chapter to accept credit card payment. It can be linked from your chapter webpage within the association website by our Communications Coordinator. Contact Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, to set this up. There may be an additional service fee for this option.

For accepting credit card payment onsite at events, two options exist:

1.  In certain circumstances you can use the SFA website to process membership sign-ups.This option requires a fast wireless internet (wi-fi) connection and having your own linked device available (laptop, tablet, or smartphone). With this set-up, the patron can simply use the association website to make payment. (This arrangement works to accept admissions payments to an event for which online registration is already in place on the association website).

2.  It is also possible to take credit cards “live” at events. Please contact Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448, for details.

 Receipts

Chapters are to keep their own receipt records. In the case of an audit or discrepancy, you will be asked to produce the receipts for verification.

Association Financial Report

The Financial Report from the SFA treasurer for the entire organization is given to chapter delegates at each association board meeting, and the delegates may include this in the reports given to their respective chapters.

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Bylaws, Policies and Procedures Relating to Chapters

This section will connect you to Bylaws, Policies and Procedures that are specifically important to chapters. Information follows that will take you directly to the most current version of these documents in their entirety.

Before going into the details, here are the minimum requirements for chapters to remain “in good standing” in the association:

  • Operate in alignment with the mission of SFA.
  • Sign and file a Chapter Charter every three years.
  • Elect or appoint a delegate for a term of three years to represent your chapter on the association Board of Directors and attend the association board meetings. The delegate must not miss more than two consecutive board meetings. (There are three association board meetings per year.)
  • Keep minutes of your chapter’s Annual Meeting and board/leadership meetings, and be prepared to provide those minutes to the association board if requested.
  • Update your membership roles with the association at least annually.
  • Manage finances through an association account only, and maintain a record of receipts.

Bylaws are required for any 501(c)(3) corporation registered in Minnesota, and are the primary rules and parameters under which SFA and its chapters operate. (Lake Superior Chapter, being a separate 501(c)(3) corporation, has its own Bylaws, but, as part of the association, still operates under the parameters of SFA’s Bylaws.)
You can see the entire association Bylaws document here:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-chapter-resource-portal/bylaws-april-2014/

Policies and Procedures are implemented by the SFA Board of Directors to define the day-to-day operations of the association.
You can see the entire Policies and Procedures document  here:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-chapter-resource-portal/policy-manual-april-2014-2/

Bylaws Particular to Chapters

Section 3.1.1 stipulates that “One (1) Director shall be elected by each Chapter” as a delegate to the association board of directors; and goes on to say that chapters may send an “alternate” if the elected delegate cannot attend.

Section 3.2 sets the delegate’s term at three years, and that he or she may serve as many terms as the chapter wishes. It also sets forth that the delegate agrees to:
(1) Faithfully attend regular state board meetings,
(2) Serve faithfully and regularly on at least one SFA of Minnesota Board Committee,
(3) Make regular and accurate reports on state activities to their Chapter and
(4) Present and file reports of their Chapter activities at each and all SFA Board meetings.

Section 3.6 sets the frequency of association board meetings at three per year. These traditionally fall on the day before the Annual Conference in February, April, and October.

Sections 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9 deal with how an elected director (currently sitting on the association board) may resign, how a director may be removed, and what a chapter should do if their delegate director dies, is removed or resigns.

Section 3.15 allows the association board president to appoint an interim director/delegate to represent a chapter that is not in good standing in place of a removed director.

Section 10 concerns itself with the relationship between the association and the chapters (“Corporate Linkage”).

Section 10.1 gives details on the obligations of all chapters in order to remain “in good standing.”  This section:
1) Says you will send a delegate director to the association board.
2) Talks about chapters paying their “proportionate share of support”.   Originally, this included a portion of the membership dues paid by your chapter members, but now the entire membership dues goes to your chapter’s account (Policies & Procedures, Page 24). Any costs incurred by the association on behalf of the chapter, such as certain services provided by staff, printing through the association’s preferred printing company, etc. will be deducted from the chapter’s account.
3) Has to do with fulfilling agreements.
4) Says the chapter will promote sustainable farming within its area, and work with other chapters to do so statewide.
5) States that Chapters will adopt and support the mission of SFA.
6) Has to do with using the phrase “Sustainable Farming Association”.
7) Is about Chapter Charters (see “Chapter Charters” in a subsequent section).
8) Tells how the association board can revoke a Chapter Charter.
9) Refers back to the portions of Section 3 about remaining in “good standing”.

 Section 10.2 in particular pertains to Unincorporated Chapters (officially known as “Regional Committees”). At present (January 2015), this is all chapters except for Lake Superior are unincorporated.

Unincorporated Chapters are required to manage all of their finances through the association, and may not have their own checkbooks.
These chapters must coordinate at least annually to be sure that the membership roles are updated at the association.

 Section 10.3 is particular to Incorporated Chapters, and contains some additional requirements specific to such chapters.

Incorporated Chapters are required to conform to all state and federal filing and reporting requirements and provide proof of good standing with the relevant state and federal agencies at least annually to the Secretary of the SFA of MN Board of Directors.
At least annually, incorporated chapters must transmit all member information to the Secretary of the SFA of MN Board of Directors to be included in the master membership list for the association.

Policies & Procedures Particular to Chapters

Page 14 sets a family membership rate of $40, and states that “all people who are at that address are members”. Chapters should adopt this into their membership structure as well.

Page 15 sets March 1st as the renewal dates for individual and family members and notes that “membership drives” will begin in November of each year.

Page 18 offers “Guidelines for Chapter Delegates to SFA Board”, and dictates that Chapter Delegates must also be members of the board for their respective chapters.

 Page 20 spells out limitations to political activities in which the association and individual chapters may participate, and sets parameters for political activities. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, there are particular ways in which SFA can and cannot be politically active.

 Page 21 sets rules for exhibitors and vendors at association and chapter events.

 Page 22 deals with the requirements for a chapter event to be considered and official SFA event for the purposes of Event Liability Insurance. All official events are covered under the association’s blanket policy. Certificates of Insurance can be provided on request; there may be a fee for the certificate.

 Page 23 is our Social Media Policy, and chapters should observe when using social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

 Page 24 states membership money collected by or designated to a particular chapter is credited entirely to the chapter’s account, although any transaction fees incurred will be subtracted. There are no “dues” required from chapters to the association that are tied to membership fees.

 Page 26 authorizes SFA, in the case that a chapter is found to be “not in good standing”, to use funds designated to that chapter solely for the purpose of reestablishing the chapter.

 Page 27 established Business and Organization Memberships, and mandated that, if such a member designates a particular chapter, then the chapter will receive 20% of the membership fee.

 Page 29 sets a procedure for Creating a New Chapter or reestablishing a board in an inactive chapter.

Page 30 gives the procedure for submitting Proposals to the association board. These are the most direct and effective way for chapters to influence association policy and objectives.

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Chapter Charter

Every chapter is chartered by the association, and the association is in turn chartered by the state of Minnesota. Separate charters exist for unincorporated chapters (Regional Committees) and incorporated chapters.   As of 2014, there are eight unincorporated chapters and one incorporated chapter.

 You may find the charter documents at:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-chapter-resource-portal/chapter-charter-2014/

To see your chapter’s current signed charter, they are on the website at:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-chapter-resource-portal/

If you don’t see your chapter’s charter listed there, it means that there is not one currently on file with the association, and you chapter should rectify this as soon as possible.

 Chapter charters are renewed every three years. As your renewal date approaches, review the charter with your chapter board, and have your board president sign it and send it to the association board secretary. You can find the contact information for the secretary here:   http://www.sfa-mn.org/board/

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Event Planning Resources

SFA is known for producing high quality events, ranging from local farm tours to large festivals that further our mission by educating farmers and supporters about sustainable practices.
The association provides certain resources to chapters, though each chapter chooses what types and how many events it wishes to produce.
And the association as a whole produces events of statewide and regional appeal. Particularly in the case of the SFA Annual Conference, the majority of the content is driven by chapter and member input.

Event Insurance

The association provides special event liability insurance that covers all chapter events at no additional cost to the chapters, provided the event meets the criteria set forth in the Policies & Procedures manual on Page 22:

1) The event must be approved by either the appropriate chapter board or the SFA board and recorded in the appropriate minutes;
2) The event must be in alignment for SFA’s mission;
3) Particularly in regard to collaborative events, there must be some advantage, bonus or discount to SFA members or the association as a whole;
4) All publicity for the event should include the SFA logo and website at a minimum.
(For the proper use of the SFA logo, see the section below, “Graphics and Branding”.)

If your event anticipates over 300 attendees, then a special application will need to be completed by your chapter so that the insurance company can assess the need for additional premium based on the increased risk.
There is an SFA Standard Fee for this service that will be charged to the chapter (see “Fees for Services” below). Contact Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448 , 763-244-6659, to start the process.

Should you need a Certificate of Insurance for your event, this must be obtained no later than two weeks prior to the event. You may request a Certificate of Insurance from Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448 , 763-244-6659. There is a SFA Standard Fee for this service that will be charged to the chapter (see “Fees for Services” below).

You should REPORT A CLAIM immediately if:

1. There’s been an accident at your chapter event
2. Someone has been injured at your event
3. Property has been damaged at the event site
4. You think someone ought to know “just in case” – don’t hesitate! The sooner it’s reported, the better.

 HOW to REPORT A CLAIM:

1. Call John Mesko immediately, 763-260-0209.   If you can’t reach John, call Jerry Ford, 763-244-6659
2. Complete the Incident Report Form that John or Jerry will send to you.

 Insurance and Alcohol Sales & Tastings

If you are giving away alcoholic beverages at an event, that is covered under our Liquor Liability Coverage.  You are responsible for ensuring that there is no underage drinking and that you are not “causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person”.

If you are selling alcohol or doing a “tasting” at an event for which you charge admission, you will be required to purchase additional Alcohol Liability Insurance from the Minnesota Joint Underwriters Association; and you will need to obtain a Liquor License from the appropriate governing body – usually city or county – in the area that the event is being produced. The procedure is somewhat complex, and the process should be started at least two months in advance of the event.  All costs involved in this process are the responsibility of the chapter.

If the venue of your event handles the liquor license and insurance you may not be required to follow the process just described; for instance, if you hold the event at a winery that normally serves alcohol.

If you have questions on how to start the process, please contact Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448, 763-244-6659.

Festival of Farms

Held on the second Saturday of July, Festival of Farms is a statewide event produced by SFA chapters. The concept is that every chapter will hold farm tours, and the association will help to promote them on a regional level (in 2011, Gov. Dayton declared it Sustainable Agriculture Day in Minnesota).

Once you have a tour(s) set, please contact Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, before June 10th, with the particulars so that he can include it in the overall promotion.

Remember that you can also use your SFA webpage to promote and provide information.

Chapter Annual Meetings

Chapters agree in their charters to conduct a minimum of one meeting each year for their members. Such meetings are an effective way to accomplish some of the requirements of being a chapter within SFA. They are also a great way to encourage existing members to renew their memberships, and to recruit new members.

Generally, these Chapter Annual Meetings are held within the two months prior to the SFA Annual Conference, which is usually the 2nd Saturday in February.

It’s also a good time to elect chapter board members and hold an annual business meeting. (Usually the chapter board officers and delegate to the association board are not elected by the entire membership, but rather the chapter board elects its officers and the delegate to represent them on the SFA board.)

Formats vary from chapter to chapter and from year to year, but these programs generally include:

Registration
Opening Session with guest speaker
Business Meeting and Chapter Board Election
Lunch
Breakout sessions, visioning groups, planning committees
Closing Session and Social Time

Chapters are encouraged to invite SFA staff and at-large association board members to their Annual Meetings. SFA’s Communications Coordinator is also available to help with promotion.

Once you have set the date and basic information for your Annual Meeting, be sure to inform the Communication Coordinator, Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, by December 1st, and add it to the Shared Events Calendar (above).

Event Planning Basics

What follows are some guidelines and advice on organizing and managing an event.

Advance Schedule

One of the most common mistakes in event planning is the failure to sufficiently plan ahead. Below, as an example of effective advance planning, is a “production schedule” for a typical Festival of Farms series of tours. Larger events obviously require more advance time – for example, Garlic Festival planning continues year round – and, conversely, a small meeting/workshop may not need as much. This is only a suggestion; some chapters begin Festival of Farms planning in late winter.

12 Weeks in Advance:

– Determine and book venues;
– Determine admission price, if any;
– Set a schedule for the tours;
– Determine any additional features: food, entertainment, etc.;
– Decide what honoraria will be paid, if any;
– Update the Shared Events Calendar at: http://www.sfa-mn.org/events
(see “Shared Events Calendar” above).

8 Weeks in Advance:

– Determine promotion details (see “Promotion” below);
– Update your SFA chapter webpage;
– Send promotion details to Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, including some descriptive text, and pictures if possible;
– If desired, set up online admissions sales – again, the Communications Coordinator can help you do this; there may be an SFA Standard Charge for this (see “Fees for Services” below;
– If you wish to send a “hold the date” email specifically to your members, now is a good time (remember that the association is sending the SFA Connect every two weeks);
– Order portable bathrooms for each location (consider getting handicap accessible);
– Request checks for honoraria, facilities rentals, caterers, tents, portable bathrooms, etc. (See “Chapter Revenue, Check Requests” above).

4 weeks in Advance:

– Send press releases to local papers (Jason is available to help with this);
– If you wish to send another email reminder specifically to your members, do so;
– Ask Jason to post it in SFA’s social media outlets;
– Request any additional checks for honoraria, facilities rentals, caterers, etc. not previously requested;
– Assign a chapter representative as a host to each farm/location as a helper to the farmer: when the farmer/presenter is out giving the tour, it’s good to have someone to greet and direct latecomers, to hand out your chapter information, and to answer event questions;
– Line up any volunteers needed, including some to help clean up at the end;
– Order any temporary signs that may be needed: direction signs, parking, entrance, etc.;
– Determine if additional arrangements need to made for parking; decide if a volunteer needs to be assigned to direct parking; have a contingency plan if the area designated for parking is too wet or can’t be used.

1 Week in Advance

– Check if payments from previous check requests have been sent;
– Check in with presenting farmers and other venues to confirm such things as when to set up, presentation times, and any other last minute details;
– Remind chapter hosts and other volunteers, confirm their arrival times;
– Remind and confirm portable bathrooms, and any tents, caterers or other service providers;
– Arrange to have a cashbox and change if admissions are being taken or donations are being solicited.

Day Of Event

– Each chapter host should arrive early to confirm set-up of portable bathrooms, tents, caterers, etc., and to see if the host farmer needs help;
– Check on parking arrangements;
– Keep a person at the main entrance while tours are in progress to greet and direct latecomers;
– It’s always best to have two people count the admissions/donation money (see “Financial Services, Deposits” above);
– The chapter host should make sure that the host farmer is satisfied with clean-up at the end of the day – you don’t want to leave them with extra work.

Post Event

– Send in deposits if there were admissions or donations (see “Chapter Revenue”);
– Submit check requests for any reimbursements;
– It’s good to have a debriefing/review of the event at your next board meeting;
– Send a “thank you” to the host farmers, and perhaps the volunteers.

Promotion

The primary communications vehicle for the association and chapters is the SFA Connect electronic newsletter (http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-connect) that goes out every two weeks to the entire membership and additional mailing list. Chapters are encouraged to send event information to the Communications Coordinator for inclusion in the SFA Connect. You may also ask for it to go out in SFA’s social media outlets. Contact Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448.
See examples of official SFA promotions under “Events Archives” here: http://www.sfa-mn.org/sfa-documents/

Here’s a checklist for promotional information (some of these are, of course, obvious, but often overlooked):

What:
What is the nature of the event? “CSA Farm Tour”, “Direct Marketing Workshop”, “Chapter Annual Meeting”, “Festival of Farms, Dairy Tour”. It’s also appropriate at times to give a subtitle or tagline: “Crow River Chapter Annual Meeting – Local Foods, the Next Step”.

Where:
Give the location as a physical address that people can look up and use with GPS, and include the farm or facility name: “McLeod County Fairgrounds, 840 Century Ave. SW, Hutchinson, MN 55350”.

When:
Date and time, and, if appropriate, duration: “July 12th, 2014, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m., One-hour tours”

Who:
Be sure to use proper SFA logos, including your chapter logo (see “Graphics & Branding” below). It should be very clear who is producing this event, and this is one of the requirements for being covered under SFA’s event insurance. It is also appropriate to include any partners or sponsors in the promotional materials.

Why:
This is usually a sentence or paragraph describing the purpose of the event, and should allude to the mission of SFA is some way: “This tour will feature a rotational grazing system that not only sustains healthy animals, but also helps to reduce pollutants in the nearby lake, while providing nutritious grassfed beef to the farm’s customers in the surrounding community . . . “

How:

“How can I find out more?”—Give your chapter website (“sfa-mn.org/cannon-river”), and appropriate contact information.

“How much does it cost?”—Give clear admission cost, or prominently advertise “free to the public”.

“How do I pay?”—Include information such as “reservations accepted online” or “pay at the door”.

“How can I get involved?”—If you need volunteers, include that in the promo information: “Want to volunteer? Contact Bob at . . .”; and it never hurts to include how-to-become-a-member information.

Ticketing/Admissions

You’ll want to decide from the beginning if you are charging for the event. Ticket sales can be a great way to recoup the cost of producing the event, as well as fundraising, but it does add a level of complexity.

Some things you’ll want to consider:

  • “How much do we charge?”:
    It’s an art to set a price that will achieve your financial goal and still not deter attendees. Look at similar successful events in your area as a guide.
  • “Are we doing advanced sales or reservations?”:
    You’ll need to decide if you’re going to keep a list of who has purchased in advance, or if you’ll distribute printed tickets. Again, if you wish to use the SFA website for advance sales and reservations, it is a very effective way to do it. Contact Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, to set it up. Remember that there is a service charge for processing credit card sales, which is deducted from your price, and there will be an SFA Standard Fee.
  • “Are we set up to handle onsite admissions?”:
    Will you have a ‘box office’ at the event where attendees can sign-in or show their tickets, and are you prepared to handle cash, checks and possibly credit cards onsite?

Accepting donations is almost always appropriate, but check with your hosts if you’re on private property.

Vendors & Exhibitors

Having product sales and exhibitors onsite can encourage participation and bring in additional revenue for your chapter. It can also add yet another level of complexity.

Some things to consider:

Food Vendors: anyone selling or sampling prepared foods will need to be in compliance with Minnesota Department of Health regulations. For events, the Special Event Food Stand rules are applicable: (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/license/specevent.html). Other rules may also apply.

Certain SFA events have placed the responsibility for compliance with such rules on the vendors themselves by requiring the vendors to sign an Indemnity Agreement. You can see one of these on the MN Garlic Festival Vendor Application, page 3 (http://www.sfa-mn.org/garlicfest/vendor-application/). You’ll notice that this form also requires the food vendors to agree that “FOOD BOOTHS MUST COMPLY WITH ALL HEALTH DEPARTMENT RULES AND REGULATIONS. Any additional permits or licensing required by the state or county are the responsibility of the vendor”.

Reservations: In general, the association and some chapters have found that a paper form for vendor applications and reservations works best. If your vendor application process and pricing structure are very simple, you may be able to set up an online form through Jason Walker.

You can see an example of the Annual Conference exhibitor application here: http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2014-AC-Exhibitor-Application.pdf

You should require all of your vendors to fill our a Minnesota Revenue Operator Certificate of Compliance and return it to you. . You must then retain these forms and be prepared to present them if the MN Department of Revenue requests them. You can download the form here: http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/Forms_and_Instructions/st19.pdf

Why do we call it a “vendor application”? SFA has a policy that all vendors and exhibitors at official SFA events “must be in alignment with the stated mission of the SFA” (Policies & Procedures, Page 21), and being clear that it’s an application process gives you the opportunity “to refuse the application of any vendor or exhibitor that is determined . . . to be not in alignment with the stated mission of the SFA”.

Security

Rarely is there a need for formal security at an SFA event, but there are times when it may be advisable:

– When there is a large amount of cash ($5,000 or more) onsite, such as at the admissions gate of a festival. There are security companies that will provide armed or unarmed guards, or you may be able to hire an off-duty police officer.
– When there is potential for traffic problems on public roads, including entrances to farm tours if a large crowd is expected. In this case, it can be advantageous to inform the appropriate law enforcement agency of the location and time.
– If you are offering alcohol in quantities larger than “tasting”, you may want a police presence to discourage over-consumption, or to help with checking I.D.’s. If you are selling or providing alcohol at your event, you must provide a means of effectively identifying potential underage drinkers.
– If a chapter is producing an event, it is the chapter’s responsibility to determine the need for security at the event.

If you would like further assistance on this matter, please contact Jerry Ford, Network Coordinator, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448

Hospitality

One thing that is occasionally overlooked is the proper treatment of the “stars” of the event – the host farmer, the guest speaker, the entertainers. Communication is of utmost importance to insure that your presenters know what is expected of them, and when and where they are to be. Having a written contract or agreement that spells all this out is best, and often the presenter will have one of their own. (See more on contracts below.)

Be sure to request payment or honorarium checks well enough in advance (see “Chapter Revenue – Check Requests” above) to pay the presenters in a timely manner – and this includes other service providers for your event, like rental companies, caterers, etc. Presenting them a check at the event, or mailing it to them a couple of days in advance is advisable.

Contracts

The SFA Bylaws direct that it is the fiduciary responsibility of the association President, Executive Committee and Executive Director to enter into contractual agreements on behalf of the organization.  If your chapter wishes to sign a contract that obligates SFA in any way, regardless of the monetary amount, then the procedure is to send the contract to one of these two people for their signature:

John Mesko, Executive Director
763-260-0209, gro.1432545448nm-af1432545448s@nho1432545448j1432545448Box 192, Princeton, MN 55371

Jim Chamberlin, SFA Board President,
218-764 3020,   ten.1432545448dreni1432545448arb@m1432545448rafek1432545448aldna1432545448lsi143254544823111 State Hwy 18, Deerwood, MN 56444

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Volunteer Guidelines and Policy

The mission of Sustainable Farming Association could not be accomplished without volunteers. Though the association has paid staff, and chapters are empowered to contract people for certain work (see “Staffing Guidelines and Resources”), much of the work is carried out by those who believe in the mission and are willing to help in reaching our goals without receiving remuneration.  Actually, for many people, volunteering is their preferred way to contribute to the cause and mission of SFA.

For general information about volunteering and SFA: http://www.sfa-mn.org/volunteer/

Promote Your Chapter’s Volunteer Opportunities

If you go to the SFA website (sfa-mn.org), you’ll see the “Volunteer” tab near the top of the main page; and on the volunteer page is a form, “Submit a Volunteer Opportunity”. Use this to list any volunteer work that your chapter has available, either ongoing or for a particular event or project. Once it is approved, it will appear in the “Volunteer Opportunities List”. The association regularly advertises the Volunteer Opportunities, both the page in general and specific postings.

Direct link to Submit a Volunteer Opportunity: http://www.sfa-mn.org/submit-a-volunteer-opportunity/

Direct link to Volunteer Opportunities List: http://www.sfa-mn.org/category/volunteer/

Volunteer Handbook

It is required that all volunteers receive a copy of, or be notified about how to download, the Volunteer Handbook. It contains information that will help volunteers to understand the mission and basic structure of SFA, policies and procedures pertaining to volunteers, a listing of volunteer rights, and an outline of general responsibilities.

You can find a copy of the Volunteer Handbook on the website at the “Volunteer” page, and in the Chapter Resources Portal:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/SFA-Volunteer-Handbook.pdf

Volunteer Release Agreement

It is required that chapters, networking groups, or the association have one of these forms on file for all of their volunteers. This form is an effective means of ensuring that you have contact information for your volunteers, as well as an emergency contact. It is also a way of guaranteeing that the volunteer understands that they will not be paid in any way for their service to SFA.

You can find a copy of the Volunteer Release Agreement on the website at the “Volunteer” page, and in the Chapter Resources Portal at:

http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/SFA-Volunteer-Release-Form.pdf

Tracking Volunteer Hours

It is of great advantage to chapters and the association to record volunteer hours:  having accurate records of volunteer hours can be used to help get grants and other funding for both your chapter and the association.

Volunteer hours can be reported at “Track Your Volunteer hours”:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16O2Tt689F7bWuGEJnLY78P3omqoazaV8sMGG9A6ZrFk/viewform

We are still working on developing the most effective ways to gather this information from chapters and networking groups, and we would appreciate your suggestions and help.

One chapter designates a person on their board to report the hours for the board itself: after each meeting, that person tallies the hours spent at the meeting and driving to the meeting (as long as you’re not reimbursing mileage, it’s a donation of time), as well as any work done before the meeting, and fills out the online report form (http://www.sfa-mn.org/category/volunteer/) after each meeting.

The Volunteer Coordinators for MN Garlic Festival and SFA Annual Conference (see below) use their volunteer schedules and check-in/check-out records to file a single report for all the volunteers at each event.

It is also effective to ask individuals who do ongoing volunteer work to file their hours themselves. It’s helpful to remind them that doing so helps SFA in two ways: Directly with the hours worked, and also afterwards as in-kind contribution.

Model Programs

Annual Conference Volunteers

You can see the current sign up page for Annual Conference Volunteers here: https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/7232/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=68159
Contact: Gretchen Boyum, moc.l1432545448iamg@1432545448smraf1432545448muyob1432545448

Garlic Festival Volunteers

You can see the current sign up page for Garlic Festival Volunteers here: http://www.sfa-mn.org/garlicfest/volunteer/
Contact: Connie Carlson, constance.carl@gmail.com

Both of these experienced Volunteer Coordinators would be happy to talk with you about their practices and techniques.

Contact pages can also be set up for your chapter’s events, if you wish. Contact Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448   An SFA Standard Charge may apply, see “Fees for Services” below.

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Staffing Guidelines and Resources

According to the association’s bylaws, Section 3.12, “the Board of Directors may hire personnel to carry on the activities of the Organization between meetings of the Board.” This extends to chapters, who may contract people to carry out certain activities, either on an ongoing basis, such as a Chapter Coordinator (below); or for intermittent purposes, such as an honorarium to speaker for an event, a director of a festival, or any number of other professional tasks that the chapter needs.

There is one thing proscribed by the bylaws in terms of who may be paid: Section 3.14 states that “Directors shall not be compensated for their duties as Directors.” So, your chapter board members (directors) may not be paid for any of their board duties. However, Section 3.14 goes on to delineate circumstances under which a director may be contracted for work that is not within the duties of being a board member. So, for instance, a member of your chapter board could be paid to be the director of your annual Festival of Farms events, as long as that person recuses herself from voting on any issues pertaining to these events.

Remember that all contracts must be signed by the Executive Director or association board president.

Chapter Coordinator:

Several chapters have contracted a person to serve as Chapter Coordinator on an ongoing basis. Please note that any contract drawn up between the chapter and a contractor like this must be signed by the association’s Executive Director or SFA Board President.

Generally, chapters contract with their coordinator on an hourly basis, setting a maximum number of hours per week or month. The hourly rate is entirely up to the chapter, and the payment will be drawn from the chapter account. Your treasurer should record the hours worked and follow the check request procedure (above).

Keep in mind that the Coordinator must not be paid to perform duties as a board director. So, if your coordinator is also a member of your board, that person must be conscientious about dividing the time between board and coordinator duties, and should not vote on any issue that directly affects their work as coordinator.

Association Staff and Chapters:

Also keep in mind that certain association staff members are available to do work for your chapter.

The Communications Coordinator, Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, can design printed materials and oversee printing, set up pages for event admissions, and other tasks for your chapter.

Webmaster, Laura Borgendale, moc.l1432545448iamg@1432545448eladn1432545448egrob1432545448.l1432545448, can help with your webpage at the SFA site.

Network Coordinator, Jerry Ford, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@yrre1432545448j1432545448, is available to consult on event management.

Certain services incur an SFA Standard Fee, and when that occurs, staff will bill the association at their hourly rate when working specifically for your chapter, and the amount will be deducted from your chapter funds (see “Fees for Services” below).

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Grant Writing Guidelines

Grants can be a significant source of funding for the association, and particular chapters are sometimes involved in grant funded projects in collaboration with the association. It is also possible for individual chapters to be the primary party in a grant, and the unincorporated chapters may pursue such funding within these guidelines:

  • Since any grant a chapter would receive under SFAs nonprofit 501(c)(3) designation is a contract obligating the association, SFAs Board of Directors requires that the SFA Executive Director must approve all grant applications prior to submission.  And since the association is actively pursuing grant funding from several organizations, involving the SFA Executive Director early in the process of applying for grants at the chapter level will increase the likelihood of success, and avoid confusion among granting organizations.
  • Grant programs must be in alignment with the stated mission of the association.
  • Proposed budgets for grants will almost always include funds for “overhead” expenses: time dedicated to the project by your coordinator and association staff, office expenses, publicity, etc. Some percentage of the funding may be required to pay for association expenses. Granting organizations expect that applicants will request these funds.
  • Any funds designated to your chapter will be channeled through your chapter account with the association.

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Membership Management

SFA maintains a powerful database to manage membership in the organization, and chapters use this database to take care of their chapter members. Each chapter designates a person to serve as the membership management contact. Chapters may manage their membership lists in one or both of two methods:

1) If you haven’t done so already, you may ask Jason Walker, the Communications Coordinator, to set up a Membership Management Interface for your chapter. Jason will train you to use this interface. Through this interface you will be able to add, renew, and modify your member records, and you will be able to request comprehensive reports about your chapter’s members.

2) You may make requests through the association’s Membership Coordinator, Jason Walker, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448; for example, you may send him information for adding or renewing a member, or you may request a member roster for your chapter. (There may be an SFA Standard Charge for this—see Fees for Services below.)

Membership Fees

It is recommended that chapters set their membership dues at the same level as the general SFA membership: $30 individual, $40 family, $10 student.
If someone renews or joins your chapter online, this is the rate they will be charged and the amount that will be credited to your account, less credit card processing fees.

Standardized Membership Form

In order to effectively interface with the association database, which is where all member records are stored, it is necessary that membership forms and reporting be standardized—that we are all submitting the same basic information.

You can see the association’s print form here: http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-Membership-Form.pdf

You may request forms like this that are designed specifically for your chapter. Contact Jason Walker, Communications Coordinator, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448

If you make your own membership form, be sure to follow the guidelines in the “Graphics and Branding” section.

When you sign up members for your chapter with the standardized paper form or on a sign-up sheet, this is the minimum information that you will need to report to the association:

– Membership category (individual, family, student)
– Name
– Address
– Email

Tips on Member Recruitment

  • Keeping in mind that all of the money that you take in for memberships in your chapter (except for processing fees for website signups) goes into your chapter account, it is completely at your discretion to give out complimentary memberships. As long as you get the information into the SFA database (above), the new member will automatically receive renewal notices, and there’s a good chance that they will pay for that renewal.
  • Some chapters use complimentary membership as a perk or incentive: “Attend the Fall Harvest Social and get free membership through spring . . .”
  • Individual, Student and Farm Memberships run from March to March of each year, so if you give someone a complimentary membership in, say, November, they will start receiving renewal notices in the next month or so.
  • Once someone is listed in the database as being in your chapter, they will always be in your chapter unless the chapter or the member themself asks for them to be removed.
  • You can also add people who are not members to your mailing list in the SFA database, and they will be assigned to your chapter (as long as they are not already a member of another chapter). Then they will receive membership renewal notices.
  • People join for two reasons:

– They want to support the cause of sustainable farming
– They see a personal benefit to themselves

So, in promoting membership, be sure to list your programs and events as ways in which the mission of SFA is being accomplished. And let people know about any perks: being the first to know about particular events, getting a discount for a service or event, and so on.

  • There are brochures and other promotional materials available, and Jason Walker can design items specifically for your chapter. These can be handed out at all your events, placed at area businesses and agency offices, and they can be made available for download on your association webpage. (Design of promotional materials specifically for your chapter may incur an SFA Standard Charge – see Fees for Services below.)

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Graphics and Branding

SFA provides chapters with logos and other branding resources to help them promote themselves and their events. It is required that chapters use the trademarked logo and the fonts whenever possible in public communications, and to use them properly. The SFA Branding Guidelines Worksheet is available at www.sfa-mn.org/chapterportal, and all chapter and association logos can also be found at the Chapter Resource Portal website.

The SFA logo and website must appear in all event publicity in order for an event to be covered under our event liability insurance.

Jason Walker, SFA Communications Coordinator, gro.n1432545448m-afs1432545448@nosa1432545448j1432545448, is available to help you with this process.  There may be an SFA Standard Fee for Service (see below).

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Chapter Governance Guidelines

 Chapter Board Structure

Our chapters have chosen over the years to have only a few rules about how a chapter board should be structured. This way, each can choose practices that best suit the leadership styles within that chapter.

See the section “Bylaws, Policies and Procedures Relating to Chapters” for the things that are required of chapters. At the very least, you must:
–  Elect a delegate for a 3-year term as your representative and liaison to the association board;
–  Elect or appoint someone to act as the chapter secretary since you are required to keep minutes of your meetings;
–  Elect or appoint someone to act as your treasurer – you need a person to handle finances with the association;
–  Elect or appoint someone to handle membership records and interface with the association database.

The following items are more tradition than policy, but have become common practice in most chapters:

–  Most chapters model their structure after the association board; however, there is no recommendation for the size of a chapter board. The implication is that a chapter’s board should have as many people as it needs relative to the scope of the chapter.
–  It is traditional to elect your chapter board at your Annual Meeting; holding an Annual Meeting is required, and it should be scheduled in the 60-day period prior to the SFA Annual Conference, which is usually the 2nd Saturday in February.
–  Again, if a chapter board is modeled after the association board, a board member’s term is three years; so you don’t have to elect all your board members/chapter leaders every year.
–  It is also common practice that, after this board election, the board elects its own officers. On the other hand, some chapters allow the entire membership to vote on chapter officers.
–  It is recommended that you have a president/chair and vice-president/chair to preside over the board. You can see the job descriptions for all association board officer positions in the Bylaws {Section 4} and Policies & Procedures {page 4}, and you may, if you choose, model your officers’ duties after the salient points from those documents.
– Chapters are required to report membership information to the association Membership Coordinator at least annually. {Bylaws Section 10.2 & 10.3} Most chapters do these reports more often, or even on an ongoing basis, via the services available in the section on “Membership Management”. Most chapters assign this duty to a particular person. Often, it is the treasurer or secretary, but at least one chapter has a separate “membership czar”.
–  To remain “in good standing” chapters must select a delegate to the SFA board. Most chapters have their boards select this person—as opposed to the entire membership—and if the delegate was not already a chapter board member, they are required to become one of the chapter’s board members once selected as delegate.

Interacting with the Association Board

The primary “chain of command” for communications between chapters and the association board and staff is through the chapter delegate. This, of course, is not meant to limit accessibility, but rather to avoid cross-communication and mixed messages. There are notable exceptions to this; for example, your chapter treasurer and membership manager will often engage directly to the association’s Communications Coordinator. As a rule, when the association board or SFA staff wish to communicate specifically with your chapter, they will do so through your delegate.

Chapter Proposals

Spearheaded by a chapter delegate in October, 2014, the association board adopted a policy formalizing the procedure by which chapter can submit proposals for board action on statewide goals, policies and bylaws. This proposal format is also an effective way for chapters to recommend new projects to the association as a whole.

See the Policies & Procedures Manual, Page 30: http://www.sfa-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Policy-Manual-October-2014.pdf

Chapter Annual Meeting

As detailed in the section above, Chapters are required by their charters to conduct a minimum of one meeting each year for its members. Such meetings are an effective way to accomplish some of other the requirements of being a chapter within SFA.

Generally, these Chapter Annual Meetings are held within the two months prior to the SFA Annual Conference, which is usually the 2nd Saturday in February.

The Chapter Annual Meeting is also a good time to elect chapter board members (or whatever governing body you choose to implement) and hold an annual business meeting during which you give a report of the financial activities of the chapter to the members.

It is imperative that you keep minutes of the Annual Meeting and your board/leadership meetings and have those available to the association board if requested. This is one of the requirements for remaining “in good standing” with the association.

Annual Meetings are also the traditional—and best—time to encourage renewal of or new memberships. (See more tips on recruiting and signing up members in “Membership Management” above.)

Holding Effective Board Meetings

Agenda

SFA only requires that chapters have one meeting per year—the Annual Meeting (above)—but obviously an active chapter will have more frequent board/leadership meetings. Some chapters have monthly board meetings, and they have found it’s best to have those on the same day each month (such as the 1st Wednesday).

Setting an agenda in advance of a meeting not only gives your board members time to prepare, but it is also an effective tool for keeping a meeting on task and on time. While each chapter will find the best format for itself, a typical agenda will often include these elements:

Call to order, introductions
Call for changes or additions to the agenda
Review and approval of the minutes from the previous meeting
Committee and department reports, including financial report
Old Business: issue from previous meetings that require attention, such as ongoing projects and events
New Business
Confirm next meeting date and location
Adjournment

You can see a typical association board meeting agenda here (you may need to request permission/access if you aren’t already on the SFA Board Web):  https://docs.google.com/document/d/13ZZ2Z-CTJZUUOFu2w6pSYwZ314MoBzNRpDi8ue_ke4s/edit

Parliamentary Procedure

Whether your chapter decides to use some degree of parliamentary procedure or rules of order to structure your meetings is entirely up to you. Most chapters use at least some of these elements. Here are a few considerations that might encourage your to do so as well:

Whereas the main intent of parliamentary procedure is to provide an effective structure of taking and recording actions in a meeting, probably the most persuading reason for a small group like a chapter to use some of its elements is to ensure that everyone is heard.   Quite often, leadership groups find themselves in conflict or inaction because one or more of the leaders does not feel that they have the opportunity to voice their opinions. Conversely, rules of order can be an effective tool in regulating those who might, inadvertently or not, unduly dominate a meeting.

When your chapter leaders want to make a decision that effects the operation or policy of the chapter, a formal decision-making format adds authority.  For example, when the minutes record that chapter board member Bob made a motion that at least half of the chapter board should be current farmers, Jane seconded it, there was extensive discussion, and that the board unanimously passed the motion – this bears authority. (Apropos to that, some chapters have decided to adopt the association board’s practice of keeping a current Policies & Procedures manual to compile just such actions in a readily accessible format.)

Keep in mind that your chapter is required to keep minutes of your meetings and to provide them to the association board if requested – an additional incentive for orderly meetings.

The most common source for such proceeding is the ubiquitous “Robert’s Rules of Order”, which so many people like to refer to and so few have actually read. Somewhat more accessible are the Basic Parliamentary Procedures adapted for different groups, such as those for 4H Clubs: http://chatham.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/4-H_Leadership_2008-01pr.pdf

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Developing a Youth Component

 In addition to successful youth outreach projects in the past, SFA’s current work at the association level includes:

–  contracting Budding Farmers – a group that believes all kids should know where their food comes from and why they should be eating healthy food – to run an all-day kids program at the Annual Conference;
–  initiating the Youth Sustainability Conference with an organizing session at the 2014 Annual Conference, which will be an event designed by and for high school and college age young people;
–  a student membership level for $10.

Chapters often include educational activities for children in conjunction with events. A prominent example of this is Crow River Chapter’s Minnesota Garlic Festival, which produces an entire day of games, art projects, kite making and other activities, all of which include some educational component about sustainability.

It is a relatively simple task to give awards to young people who are doing good work with farms and food systems by contacting with local youth organizations, telling them about your award, and asking them to nominate people. Example: The Garlic Festival uses some of its proceeds for the “Outstanding Youth in Sustainable Agriculture Award” – a $100 cash prize and free SFA membership given to young people who have done creative work on farms or as part of a local food system – and determines the winners based on nominees from area 4H and FFA clubs.

Chapters sometimes work with their local 4H, FFA and various farm- and sustainability-related college groups to co-produce events and programs. You could bring them in as volunteers; or some chapters have asked a youth group to run a concession or provide a service at an event, allowing the group to keep the proceeds, or donating to their activities fund.

A simple outreach tactic is to invite 4H, FFA and college groups to attend your events, offering them discounts or complimentary admission.

As mentioned before, your chapter can give free memberships, and you could do this for an entire group of young people as long as you provide a list with names and emails to the Communications Coordinator, or enter them into the database yourself.

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Procedure for Creating a New Chapter and
Reestablishing an Inactive Chapter Board

Policies & Procedures, page 29

1) A Chapter Organizing Committee (COC) is formed.  This committee may be formed by existing SFA staff or board members, or may be organized by other interested SFA members. If this committee is not already working with an SFA staff or board director, they shall notify the SFA Executive Director, who will assign a staff person or board director to the COC as a mentor.  This mentor will conduct orientation for the COC.

2) SFA will send an email to people in the database who live in the geographical area of the proposed chapter, informing them that a Chapter Organizing Committee has been formed and encouraging them to participate.

3) The Mentor will provide orientation to the COC that will include elements of the Chapter Resource Guide and SFA Board Director Orientation.

4) After the orientation is complete, the COC will organize a Chapter Meeting, during which a Chapter Board will be elected.  This may occur as an actual face-to-face meeting, or electronically.

5) The Chapter Board will then elect a delegate to the association board  (Ref. Bylaws 3.1.1, 10.1.1, 10.1.9; Policies & Procedures Page 4 & 18)

6) The chapter board will submit a signed chapter charter.  (Ref. Bylaws 10.1.7)

7) The chapter delegate will take orientation for the association board, and then will become a voting member of the association board. (Policies & Procedures Page 5)

8) The association will sign and file the chapter charter, and the new chapter will become official.

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Networking Groups

This facet of our Farmer-to-Farmer NetworkTM was created in 2014 by the association board of directors. When a group of members, farmers or supporters, either in conjunction with or independent of a chapter, wish to form a group with a common interest or specific goal, they can ask the association, through the Network Coordinator or Communications Coordinator, to form a Networking Group for them, and request recognition from the board of directors.

These groups may or may not be affiliated with a particular chapter, and may be specific to a region or the entire state.

Networking Groups need to be for the benefit of the SFA membership and consistent with the SFA mission to be approved, and SFA reserves the right to determine any and all content. They are intended to be narrow in scope – to work around a particular issue or topic, such as rotational grazing, post-harvest vegetable marketing, mushroom production, etc.

Though Networking Groups do not have representation on the association board, they are encouraged to report to the SFA board annually.

You can see the Networking Groups Resources Guide here:  http://www.sfa-mn.org/networking-groups-resources-guide/

Advantages of forming a Networking Group include:

  • An extensive and effective communications network which can be customized for the Networking Group
  • The advantages of operating within a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (SFA is the fiscal sponsor and agent for the Networking Group)
  • Event liability insurance (events must meet the requirements for an official SFA event)
  • The ability to submit notices to our SFA Connect newsletter, which reaches our entire contact list
  • A ready-made financial management system
  • A webpage within the SFA website
  • Access to SFA staff services, including promotional design, printing, mailings, event management assistance, website hosting and design, and more. Please note that some of these services are fee-based and the Networking Group will be charged for any they use

As of December, 2014, there was one official Networking Group: The Crow Wing River Basin Forage Council.

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Fees for Services

SFA staff provide many services to chapters and networking groups free of charge, including setting up your initial online membership management portal, webpage hosting, accounting, event liability insurance, promotions through SFA Connect and The Cornerpost, events calendar listings, and others. However, there are some specific services that are not funded through the association budget, and, should you want to take advantage of them, there are additional charges.

The Schedule of Standard Fees for Professional Staff Services will be available online by Spring, 2015. But in general, these additional services are at $40 per hour. They include an array of communications, promotions, event management and web-based services.

NOTE: SFA staff will always tell you before you start to incur any charges.

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