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 sending us an email. We can provide you with contacts to other Greens in your area that we know of, sample starting documents, and advice. A 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. 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 state party 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). At minimum, local chapters should have as officers, two gender diverse 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, provide assistance and decisions as a member of the Missouri Green Party Coordinating Committee, and to conduct the business of the Coordinating Committee.
3. Send the Missouri Green Party your Chapter Documentation. You can email these to us. We need to receive your letter of intent to be a local chapter, a list of your officers’ contact information, your founding documents (articles and bylaws), the names of the people at your organizational meeting where the founding documents were adopted, a list of the full membership, and your meeting time & place. The State Coordinating Committee reviews these documents and decides to make your group an official chapter in the interim between MOGP meetings. The State Coordinating Committee will respond to let you know their decision. The official decision is made by the membership at one of our state meetings or conventions.
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 articles and 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 founding documents.
4. Decide on the next meeting time and place
The Second Organizational Meeting: Adopt the Proposed Founding Documents
Once your bylaws committee has hammered out the desired founding documents, it is time to hold the second organizational meeting, where you will adopt them. This vote is pretty significant because, as soon as you adopt these documents, 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 whatever percentage of vote it takes to amend them!
Once you’ve adopted founding documents, they define who is eligible to join the chapter, and how. And because from the moment you adopt these documents 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 founding documents.
3. Group stands in immediate recess upon adoption of founding documents. 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. At minimum, 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 founding documents, 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, the State Coordinating Committee will review the documents, make an interim decision, and inform you of that decision. The final decision is made by the membership at our state meetings and conventions.
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]