USA Volunteer Resource Site

Chapter Essentials

Understand Your Support System

 

    • Chapter Advisor: Primarily focused on supporting anyone interested in starting a chapter or getting involved with Global Brigades through the chapter creation process. Anyone who is interested in starting a new Global Brigades chapter or getting involved with Global Brigades can contact the Chapter Advisors to get started by emailing newchapter@globalbrigades.org 

 

    • Volunteer Engagement Associate: Primarily focused on year round engagement of volunteers, high level chapter support, leadership development, supporting Campus Chairpersons, and planning GB Student Leadership Conferences. Campus Chairpersons should seek support from their Volunteer Engagement Associate and in turn actively support the chapter leader(s) on their campus.

 

  • Program Associate: Primarily focused on supporting Chapter Leaders through the brigade planning process, strengthening chapter operations, and being the liaison between brigades and in country program teams. Chapter Leaders (presidents)  should seek support from their Campus Chairperson, assigned Global Brigades Program Associate and in turn actively support their leadership team and volunteer base.

Create a Strong Leadership Team

Global Brigades mobilizes thousands of volunteers each year to travel abroad and participate in sustainable development alongside our staff and community partners through Global Brigades Chapters that are found on university campuses across the world. Global Brigades’ student-led Chapters are the engine that drives the impact and success of the organization’s mission and vision. On campus, student leaders create Global Brigades Chapters which are most commonly student led organizations (i.e., clubs/societies) that mobilize ideas and action for global equality and plan brigades (7-9 day volunteer experiences in one of our program countries)). Whether you have one chapter or all seven, it is important to set your chapter(s) up for success by understanding the foundations of what make a chapter successful: their leadership team(s). 

Campus Leadership Structure: We highly encourage each campus to build their leadership teams in a way that is best suited for their unique campus or circumstances. Two of the most common high level structures we see are “Centralized” and “Decentralized” leadership teams.

  • Centralized leadership structure:  In this option, the Global Brigades leadership, despite the number of chapters or brigades, are all one large team. As can be seen in the diagram below, there are Chapter President roles, and more general roles. Importantly, the roles outside of chapter president are not chapter specific. This means that the fundraising president, marketing recruitment president, and secretary are benefitting and supporting ALL chapters on their campus. Importantly, all chapters of Global Brigades 
  • Decentralized leadership structure: In this option, there are a bunch of separate mini-leadership teams that are all united by the Campus Chairperson (hopefully). Each chapter president runs their own club/society with separate logistical roles. For example, the VP Fundraising is exclusively fundraising for the Medical Chapter, in this case. 

Leadership Roles & Descriptions: 

  • Campus Chairperson (Required): A Global Brigades Campus Chairperson (CC) is the highest calibre leadership position within Global Brigades that is meant to understand and represent the mission, vision and values of Global Brigades on their campus. CCs oversee all Global Brigades Chapters, operations, and activities at their university and in their community. Their core responsibilities are to unite the chapters on their campus, be the GB point person on their campus represent their chapters to GB & other universities, empower and support all chapters on their campus, and grow the movement.
  • Chapter President (Required): The chapter president is in charge of running their respective chapter (whether it be water, medical, etc.) and planning a brigade. They are the ones who are ultimately responsible for the recruitment of members for their chapter, organizing and running specific chapter meetings, communicating with the in country GB Program Associate regarding brigade logistics, etc. 
  • Fundraising President: Manages funds; Collects deposits; Plans and coordinates fundraising events; Reaches out to corporate sponsors; Works with college/university to gain fullest possible financial support. 
  • Marketing/Recruitment/Outreach President: Coordinates recruitment efforts to support chapters on campus, builds awareness about Global Brigades and development issues through social media and on-campus events
  • Secretary: Responsible for taking meeting minutes; booking meeting rooms, Managing chapter records; Notifying members of meetings and other events
  • Education President: Facilitates chapter meeting content and charla preparation

Chapter Leadership Accountability
A constitution is a basic set of rules for the daily running of your chapter. Your Constitution should establish your club/society’s name, state and support its mission/purpose, and set policy and procedures related to your members, officers, meetings, elections, and other functions that may be unique to your club/society. It is important that chapters’ policies are made transparent to chapter leaders and members. Constitutions can explain to members and non-members what your group is about, provide guidelines for the daily running of the chapter, and are great at helping solve any internal problems, as they act as an unbiased/objective document. Constitutions are also sometimes required by universities in order to become an official club/society on campus. Feel free to reference a Sample Chapter Constitution and create your own! 

Leadership Transitions
Your final task as a GB  student leader (and arguably one of the most important) is to ensure the sustainability of your chapter(s) after you leave. But what does this mean? We want to work with you to ensure that your legacy on campus lives on and that your chapter(s) continue to send successful brigades and make impact for many years to come! The most important next step is taking the time to thoroughly transition your leadership role to a new leader, and prepare them with all of the wisdom and knowledge you’ve gained in your position. Use our very detailed Chapter Leader Transition Packet or make your own that’s more suited to your exact campus leadership structure.

Develop University Relations

Though not mandatory as a part of being a Global Brigades Chapter, it is important that you and all Global Brigades Chapters on your campus consider the benefits of developing some type of  relationship with your university. Chapters who have a positive relationship with their university have better access to funding, are allowed to use university resources (booking classrooms for meetings, setting up at clubs/societies fairs), and are at a much lower risk for shut down of their club. 

We don’t expect you to navigate this process alone! If at any time you need support with university relations, please feel free to reach out to our Director of University and Corporate Relations, Lauren Maitland at lauren.maitland@globalbrigades.org

Please review the following strategies/resources you can use to start building out a positive (or at least neutral) relationship with your university:

  • University Affiliation: Define
  • Faculty Relationships Define
  • University Administration Relationships: Define 

 

Resources: 

  • Empowerment Packet/University packet (ask lauren) 
  • University Liaison Site Visits: Define & provide link
  • Ambassador Trips: Define & Provide link

University Frequently Asked Questions

We have never had a relationship with anyone at our university, how do I start?
What happens if we learn our university wants to shut down our chapter? 
The risk department of my university just reached out to talk about safety and security, how can I approach this?
My university asked me to  complete a form requesting information on policies, insurance, etc.