Managing your chapter

GCSAA provides information and documents to help chapters advance their missions. You can also learn more about annual reporting requirements and the affiliation requirements for new chapters. In addition, watch the Your Chapter and GCSAA - A Management Guide webinar to learn more.

Framework for the future

Investing the time to conduct strategic planning encourages chapters to establish a framework, helps them to focus on accomplishing specific goals and broadens the scope of member involvement. The Strategic Planning Template leads your chapter through the steps of developing a comprehensive strategic plan.

GCSAA provides strategic planning assistance. A field staff representative will facilitate a 1/2-day or full-day planning session with your chapter's board of directors or other members who wish to participate. During the planning session, your chapter will:

  • Develop a mission and vision statement.
  • Identify the constituents it serves.
  • Complete an environmental scan to identify strengths, challenges, opportunities and risks to the chapter.
  • Discuss future goals and objectives, and then select two to three specific goals and objectives to be completed in the coming year.
  • Develop strategies and assign specific tasks to committees to help achieve those goals and objectives.
  • Learn how to involve all members in successfully launching and completing the strategic plan.
  • Use tools to ensure that the plan evolves and continues to meet the needs of the membership as the association's priorities and goals change.

Outcomes of the planning session and a draft business plan are provided to the chapter as follow-up materials. GCSAA covers all costs and coordinates all travel arrangements for strategic planning sessions. Staff will follow up with your chapter to offer support during the implementation and evaluation phases of the plan. To schedule a strategic planning session, please contact Steve Randall, director, chapter outreach.

Here is month-by-month rundown of deadlines and duties.

  • Begin gathering annual affiliation reporting requirements for March 31 deadline (president, secretary and treasurer)
  • Register for the GCSAA Chapter Leaders/Executives Symposium (vice president)
  • Register for the Chapter Managers Sessions at the GCSAA Conference & Trade Show

GCSAA Conference and Trade Show

  • Chapter Managers Session
  • Voting Delegate votes at Annual Meeting
  • Annual affiliation reporting requirements are due (president, secretary and treasurer)
  • Chapter Leaders/Executives Symposium (vice president)
  • Submit nominations for GCSAA Board of Directors candidates
  • Deadline for GCSAA Board of Director Nominations June 30
  • General Liability and Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance invoices mail for chapters in the GCSAA program. All chapters must have liability and D&O coverage.
  • Register attendee for Chapter Delegates Meeting (president or other delegate)
  • Appoint your chapter’s voting delegate and voting alternate (president)
  • Review Chapter Delegates Meeting Agenda with the delegate and the board (president)
  • Chapter Delegates Meeting (president or appointed delegate)
  • Identify Voting Delegate and report to GCSAA.
  • Voting rosters are available to chapters. Visit the Voting Roster Portal.
  • RSVP for chapter events at the GCSAA Conference & Trade Show
Recurring items and ongoing annual events
  • 60 days in advance – Plan an ON DEMAND webcast to view at a chapter meeting
  • Review monthly membership and certification reports in Chapter Connection and update chapter records as needed
  • One week following your chapter’s election of officers and directors – Submit the chapter leadership update form to GCSAA
  • Schedule a strategic planning session (president)
  • Annually review the chapter bylaws and the GCSAA Affiliation Agreement to ensure the chapter’s bylaws are in compliance (president)
  • Ensure elections are held for all board positions, and that GCSAA is notified of these changes as well as updates to liaisons and newsletter editor. Complete this chapter leadership update form to submit changes.
  • Appoint members to serve on chapter committees (president)
  • Develop a calendar of events prior to the new year and distribute it to members (vice president)
  • Maintain the chapter’s bylaws, articles of incorporation, standing rules of membership and other governance documents (secretary)
  • Notify GCSAA when new members join (secretary)

One of the requirements for affiliation with GCSAA is that chapters must carry two liability insurance policies.

Directors and officers liability insurance

The first policy is directors and officers liability insurance. If your chapter participates in the GCSAA-sponsored insurance program, your treasurer will received an invoice in the mail for the renewal of this policy. (A copy of the invoice is also mailed to your chapter president and executive). This policy renews March 1 of each year. The average premium paid by chapters in this program is $680.

General/property liability insurance

The second policy is for general/property liability insurance. This policy covers office equipment and property owned by your association. Chapters that do not own property, such as an office building or equipment, are only required to carry general liability insurance coverage on this particular policy. It also provides liability coverage for association-sponsored events. This policy renews in November of each year. The invoices for this policy are usually mailed in December. The average premium for chapters who carry both general and property liability insurance coverage on this policy is $500. The average premium for chapters who carry only property liability insurance coverage on this policy is $425.

Chapters that participate in the GCSAA-sponsored insurance program should plan to budget about $1,800 per year for insurance coverage.

GCSAA works with its insurance carriers to provide a competitive insurance rate. However, please keep in mind that your chapter always has the option of purchasing insurance through another company. If you have any questions regarding liability insurance, please contact Leann Cooper at 800-472-7878, ext. 3648.

Managing a chapter is like running a business. It requires fiscal responsibility. The board and staff are accountable to the membership for being good stewards of the association’s financial resources.

Fiduciary responsibility

The treasurer, in particular, is responsible for reporting the association’s financial status to the board and membership. The treasurer should work closely with the chapter executive on the collection, allocation and investment of funds. An effective chapter should hire an accountant to file its taxes and should establish an audit committee to conduct an annual review of the association’s assets.

Establishing a budget

An effective chapter has a budget that supports its mission, goals and business plan. Every activity, program or service tied to your association’s purpose should be included in the budget.

Financial reporting

What should be reported to the board and members? The board and chapter executive should receive detailed reports. The information presented should be clear, accurate and complete.

  • A majority of GCSAA-affiliated chapters are designated as 501c6 or 501c3 organizations. A section 501c6 covers professional membership and trade organizations. Contributions made to 501c6 organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions.
  • A section 501c3 covers charitable, education and scientific organizations. Dues paid to 501c3 organizations may be deductible as a business expense, except to the extent they support certain political or lobbying activities.
  • All nonprofits must file a Form 990 return, no matter what their size, level of assets or gross receipts. To learn more about the IRS requirements, visit the website. 
  • Unrelated business income tax (UBIT) – Activities unrelated to the chapter’s purpose or mission are regularly carried on and are considered a trade or business, according to the IRS. This may result in unrelated business income tax (UBIT) by the IRS. If unrelated revenues subject to UBIT rise within 30-40 percent of the chapter’s annual budget, the IRS may question the chapter’s tax-exempt status.

Lobbying and political activity allowances

Please refer to this chart for lobbying practices allowed by tax-exempt organizations:

Type of organization Definition Lobbying Activities
501c6 Trade, professional membership and business leagues Unlimited
501c3 Charitable, scientific, educational or religious organizations Limited – It cannot be substantial, and cannot be related to directly or indirectly supporting a political campaign, candidate or political action committee (PAC)

Sources: Managing Chapter Funds by Susan S. Vowell, CPA, Professional Practices in Association Management by John B. Cox, CAE and Association Law Handbook Third Edition by Jerald A. Jacobs.