Chapter Startup Guide

  1. Get some like-minded people together and decide to start up a chapter. You’ll have more success if you include active, reserve and retired professionals.
  2. Review National NIP Bylaws Article III for chapter requirements.
  3. Read Lessons Learned and the NIP Vision Statement so you can better answer the common question, “Why should I join NIP?”
  4. Draft Articles of Association and Bylaws. A template is available.
  5. Elect Officers. Approve Articles of Association and Bylaws.
  6. Contact the NIP Board of Directors Chapters Chair (Charleese Sampa) to help set up an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your chapter.
  7. Funding toward NIP chapter events is available. If you are planning an event which will require funding support, pre-coordinate the event with the NIP Treasurer (Rich Barkell) and carbon copy the Chapters Chair.

Lessons Learned

Creating the Chapter Plan

The purpose of the chapter should be clearly defined and be congruent with the interests of the local membership and the uniqueness of the chapter. For example, a chapter of primarily retirees will probably have some different interests than a chapter primarily composed of reservists or active duty.

Continued attention to recruiting and retention is also essential for the health of a chapter. It should include imaginative exploitation of all possible sources, regular contact with members, and calls to those fall-outs who can be brought back into the fold.

Some tips:

  • Use email, but also personally ‘meet and greet’ to recruit. Be ready to say why someone should join NIP, the old “what’s in it for me” is important, and do not forget  the contributions managed by the Foundation Committee.
  • Be prepared to explain how to enroll online.
  • Publicize the chapter and events.
  • Money – Once the chapter is approved, National NIP may provide funding that should alleviate any immediate needs to raise money. However, the chapter leaders will need to think about money and what they anticipate future needs to be. If the chapter is going to collect dues or money, then it has to be collected, managed, and turned over when managers rotate. This takes effort. Each chapter should decide, in its planning, if collecting dues is necessary. In effect, don’t collect money without a need. Can members “pay as they go” for NIP activities? How about conducting a fundraiser once a year? Remember, members also pay dues to National NIP.

Scope of Operations and Activities

The geographic area to be covered by the chapter should be agreed upon and be realistic. Some sample events that have been held: meet at the O’Club after work, hail and farewells, guest speakers from local information warfare professionals or visiting VIPs, VIP breakfast and lunch speakers, panels on issues of interest.

Get the word out on scheduled events as soon as you can so people can schedule and attend. Publicize chapter events and pictures on the NIP website and encourage members to submit articles, but ensure you do not run afoul of local command rules and procedures.  Do not forget to send thank you letters to guest speakers. If someone comes specifically to speak to your chapter, a small token of appreciation may be warranted.

Leadership and Command Support

The key ingredient for chapter viability is leadership. Active, “hands-on” leadership, supported by an executive committee (Chapter officers), and providing for succession is essential for the viability of any chapter.

Command support from senior 1830’s/civilians is also crucial for the chapters with predominantly active duty USN membership. Participation should be out of professional interest, not obligation.

Sometimes new leaders are selected who do not do a good job. If it is time or necessary to “give someone else a chance,” to be leader, ensure the structure is in place to support that leader. One chapter has an Executive Committee to support the leader and ensure good continuity.

To find a chapter near you or view information on existing chapters, please log in.

Ideas to Keep Your NIP Chapter Contributing to Everyone's
Professional and Social Well Being

Informal Gatherings

Periodic/quarterly socials (such as happy hours, family picnics, wine tastings, sports events and game nights) to meet peers, seniors and juniors in an informal social environment to connect, learn and mentor 

Professional Development

Speed mentoring events, professional speakers, workshops or forums – often followed by a social hour

Volunteer Events

Adopt a local organization or school and support
it by volunteering time or conducting fundraising events and donate money, or form a run/walk team for scheduled charity events such as Race
for the Cure or Relay for Life

Tournaments

Golf, bowling, ping pong followed by social time