New Chapter Guidelines for 2015

By Liz Herrera and Jessica Neidhart

It is that time of year to start thinking about your New Year's resolutions. Whether your personal resolution is to eat healthier, work out more, or shop less, your chapter's resolution should be to read over the new chapter guidelines that go into effect January 1, 2015.

The Board of Directors approved an updated Local Chapter Guide. The Local Chapter Guide was written in 1986 and this is the first update to the APA Policy Statement Regarding Chapter Affiliation. These new guidelines will help better serve the chapters, enhance relationships, strengthen communication between APA and our chapter leaders, and ease administrative burdens with new technologies. The new guidelines that will soon be in effect are going to assist APA's Chapter Relations Department and affiliated chapters by helping them understand what is required of APA and its affiliated chapters.

In the past few months, several regional teleconferences and webinars were held to explain the new guidelines to chapter leaders. Hopefully one or more of your chapter leaders attended the teleconference and/or webinar for your region to help prepare your chapter for the new changes. The Chapter Relations Department made sure to hit all of the bases when informing everyone about the new changes. We informed the Board of Advisors and APA's National Speakers Bureau members to make sure they knew everything there is to know about the new guidelines. This way they feel confident when they talk to the chapters and provide instructions on how to abide by the guide. Finally, a free Chapter Leadership Webinar -- New Chapter Guidelines for 2015 -- was held on October 21 for all members. The webinar's purpose was to reinforce the details of the new guidelines and provide tips to better prepare for the changes.

If you haven't read the Local Chapter Guide lately, or ever, this should be your chapter's New Year's resolution. The resource has an extensive amount of information for chapters to use. Some of the contents it includes are examples of letters and surveys you can send to your members, making the new guide a very valuable tool to help chapters and their officers grow.

The guide also includes the "API, Inc. Policy Statement," which sets the foundation on which our chapters are built. The following chapter policy changes were made to the "API, Inc. Policy Statement," and are effective starting January 1, 2015:

  1. Chapters must agree to abide by APA's Local Chapter Guide.
  2. APA reduced the percentage of local chapter members that must be national APA members from 75% to 51%.
  3. Chapters must re-affiliate annually instead of every three years. The re-affiliation process will include submission of a local chapter's membership list for verification purposes. The re-affiliation process will be streamlined and turned into an online application.
These changes will help APA and the Chapter Relations Department better serve the local chapters. Since the organization is constantly growing, there has been an increase in chapters that are requesting assistance and additional information from us. With the update of the policy statement and improvements in technology and automation, we can better track chapters to determine where more support is needed or where rewards are suitable.

For instance, chapters who achieve 51% or higher national membership rates can receive additional resources to share with their members to help the chapter advance their growth even more. Chapters who are not achieving this goal will now be easily identified. Once identified, we will then provide the chapter with assistance and guidance to help it attain the objective. Depending on the chapter's needs, the additional resources will vary. We know that every situation is not the same, and we want to find the perfect direction for your chapter to take.

Through the new improvements in technology, we are looking to ease administrative burdens by offering automated forms for chapter officers to use and submit via the APA website. This will make submitting requests, re-affiliation, and submission of contest entries an easier and smoother process.

APA and the Chapter Relations Department want all affiliated chapters to be successful, grow, and promote payroll education in their communities. For that reason, we will continue to work with affiliated chapters to advance and develop guidelines that fit the culture of APA. We anticipate additional changes to our chapter guidelines in the future to keep all our policies in harmony. Because we are going to keep looking toward the future, there might be another New Year's resolution in store for the chapters next year.

For more information on the new guidelines and to see quotes from the Board of Advisors about the new changes, please see the 2014 December issue of PAYTECH magazine. You may also contact Chapter Relations via email or at (210) 226-4600.

Liz Herrera is the Chapter Relations Manager for the APA. Jessica Neidhart is the Chapter Relations Coordinator for the APA.

Chapter President Profile
Donna Epperson, CPP
CenTex Chapter

By Caren Bennett

As President of the CenTex Chapter, Donna Epperson, CPP, is passionate about providing payroll education and information to chapter members.

"I make sure that our chapter is a good place to learn and to network, and that we are providing help to anyone who needs it," she says.

The CenTex Chapter provides members with RCHs, half-day workshops, and chapter meetings featuring strong, knowledgeable speakers.

For Epperson, the most enjoyable part of being Chapter President is meeting and working with chapter members. She devotes many hours to answering phone calls and emails from members who have questions. She also teaches CPP certification classes in Austin, Texas.

"It is so much fun celebrating with everyone who passes," Epperson says.

She encourages all payroll professionals to strive for their CPP certification.

"It completely changes how your company looks at and listens to you," Epperson explains.

Her goals for the chapter include growing the membership, and she is researching new ways to do this. She also hopes to encourage more commitment and involvement among the existing membership, and to keep the chapter "motivated and moving forward." Although Epperson says it can be a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing nature of social media, the chapter works to make ongoing upgrades and improvements to its website.

Epperson has worked with her company for 22 years and feels that serving as Chapter President has had a positive impact on her career.

"I have developed strong leadership skills and have learned different ways of working with people. I've also increased my payroll knowledge," she explains.

Outside of payroll, Donna enjoys spending time with her three grown children and five grandchildren. She also enjoys reading, painting, and anything crafty.

Caren Bennett is Editorial Assistant for the APA.


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