How to Form a Local Chapter of the Missouri Green Party
It’s not difficult to start a Chapter, but it does require organization, consistency, and belief in our values.
The basic steps to getting started
1. Let the Missouri Green Party know that you are interested in starting a Chapter by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We can provide you with contacts to other Greens in your area that we know of, sample starting documents, and advice. A regional coordinator or other State Party organizer will be available through the process to answer questions, and provide any needed support.
2. Host a Chapter Formation Meeting(s) with five or more Greens from the same congressional district. Ideally, it would be best to have the chapters formed on the county level but there may not be enough Greens in your county so you may want to form a chapter with Greens from several nearby counties.
Your goals at the Chapter Formation Meeting(s) are to make sure everyone has filled out a membership form & paid their first year’s dues, determine your officers, adopt bylaws, establish a regular (at least monthly) meeting time and place, and create meeting notes that describe who was at the meeting and what was decided (bylaws adopted etc). Local chapters should have as officers, two co-Coordinators, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and an Outreach Coordinator. The folks at the initial meeting will be the first members of your Chapter.
You should also designate a Local Chapter Representative to the State Coordinating Committee (this could be one of the officers or another member). A Missouri Green Party Local Chapter Representative is a member of the party chosen by the chapter to communicate and represent the chapter’s concerns, assistance and decisions as a member the of Missouri Green Party Coordinating Committee, and to conduct the business of the Coordinating Committee.
3. Send the Missouri Green Party your Chapter Documentation. We need to receive your letter of intent to be a local chapter, a list of your officers’ contact information, your current bylaws, the names of the people at your organizational meeting where the bylaws were adopted, a list of the full membership, and your meeting time & place. Once you receive confirmation from the State Party, you’re official!
As the basic steps describe, forming a local chapter could be quite quick and simple, especially with the minimum of 5 people. You could easily adopt bylaws based on an existing chapter without much debate. If you have a large group of people wanting to form a chapter, you may need several streamlined meetings to form your chapter. It’s important that these meetings be well run so that they don’t devolve into demoralizing chaos. Here are some suggestions for those initial formation meetings.
First Organizational Meeting
The first organizational meeting is a meeting to form a new local Green Party chapter instead of a meeting of an existing group so the only rules you have to follow are the ones you make up. It’s your meeting, and you control the hall.
You may control who shows up to the **organizational** meeting (you can say, for instance, “invitation only” or something similar). It may be best to limit this meeting to disciplined activists you know will stick to the task of forming a chapter.
Be fair at all times, and respect the rights of others to speak and participate.
Agenda for the First Organizational Meeting
1. Elect temporary officers, including a Secretary to take official notes (these will serve only until the charter meeting at which bylaws will be adopted).
2. Adopt a resolution to form a new organization.
3. Appoint a committee to draw up bylaws.
4. Decide on the next meeting time and place
Your bylaws committee may want to check out other local Green Parties’ bylaws while they come up with draft bylaws. For one example of local chapter bylaws that you could use, see the bylaws of the St Louis local chapter, the Gateway Green Alliance.
The Second Organizational Meeting: Adopt the Proposed Bylaws
Once your bylaws committee has hammered out the desired bylaws, it is time to hold the second organizational meeting, where you will adopt bylaws. This vote is pretty significant because, as soon as you adopt bylaws, you have a brand-new organization, and the bylaws are in effect immediately upon their adoption. Because they are new bylaws of a brand-new organization, only a majority vote is needed to adopt them — but note that after they are adopted, no changes can be made without previous notice and a two-thirds vote!
Once you’ve adopted bylaws, they define who is eligible to join the chapter, and how. And because from the moment you adopt bylaws you need to be an enrolled member to vote on anything, your new organization stands in immediate recess to enroll members. Everyone in attendance should at that moment start taking care of their paperwork (and dues if they haven’t already joined the State Party). This should only take a few minutes if everyone was prepared for it. Be sure to have membership forms available. You can modify the State Party membership form to use for your chapter’s purposes. Just be sure to include language that indicates that membership in the local chapter also gives them membership in the State Party.
Agenda for the Second Organizational Meeting
1. Call to order.
2. Consider adopting formal bylaws.
3. Group stands in immediate recess upon adoption of Bylaws. Once everyone has finished ante-ing up their dues and whatever else is required to be a voting member of the chapter, immediately call into session your Charter Meeting.
Basic Agenda for the Charter Meeting
1. CALL TO ORDER: The Interim Chairman (the same individual who presided over the two Organizational meetings) calls the Charter Meeting to order.
2. REGISTER: Attendance sign-in – People eligible to participate are the members who joined during the recess.
3. CREDENTIALS: The meeting Secretary should report to the meeting how many are in attendance and eligible to participate.
Elect permanent officers, according to the details your bylaws outline. Local chapters should have two co-Coordinators, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and an Outreach Coordinator. Also, the State Party bylaws require that your chapter appoint a Local Chapter Representative to the State Coordinating Committee.
Consider endorsement of any announced candidates for public office.
Following-Up After The Charter Meeting
Send the state Green Party your local chapter’s documentation by email [contact @ missourigreenparty.org No spaces]. This should include:
– A letter indicating your group’s desire to become local chapter of the Missouri Green Party.
– A copy of your bylaws, as adopted.
– A list of your officers FULL contact information, to include name, postal mailing address, and email and phone(s).
– A list of the people registered as in attendance at the charter meeting.
– A list of the full membership, including names, addresses, email(s), phones. Instead of creating a list, you could also send us copies of the membership forms with everyone’s information.
-Your meeting time & place
When we receive the above, your Chapter is ready to roll!
State Party support
The State Party can support local chapters in the following ways:
- Advice from veterans on policy ideas, strategy, and organizational tactics.
- A seat on the State Coordinating Committee that sets policy within the Missouri Green Party.
- A dedicated page on the State Party website for your local chapter’s information or a link to your local chapter’s website from the State Party website.
- Access to your area’s mailing list from Missouri and possibly National databases.
- Integrated dues sharing. Local chapters get to keep $15 of the $20 annual State Party dues paid by members of their chapter. (Look for more information on this process and establishing a local chapter bank account, soon.)
Sticks are harder to break when in a bundle. We look forward to working with you & your chapter in solidarity![Thanks to the Virginia & Illinois Libertarian Parties for the free organizational advice they left lying around the internet]