I was excited to attend my second Chapter Leaders Meeting and meet more than 80 leaders from around the world on Sunday, June 18 at the 28th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference. I looked forward to hearing about the issues that most affect the chapters and the solutions provided to help make your chapters succeed.
Ryan Hubbs, CFE, former President of the Houston Area Chapter, kicked off the meeting discussing the successes of the past year. They included several chapters exceeding attendance expectations, new awards within the chapter, interactive websites, increased scholarship donations and increased revenue. Difficulties in the past year included board management, and poor attendance to or no shows at events. He also mentioned many chapters didn’t set goals for the year. Setting realistic goals for the year can guide your event planning, budget and keep you organized for the year.
Several chapters expressed the challenge the face when a speaker cancels at the last minute and trying to find a replacement speaker. One chapter leader’s solution was to play an ACFE video if they aren’t able to locate a speaker in time. If you have any of the DVDs, this is a great solution. Unfortunately, we no longer have these DVDs available. However, we have started to discuss other video options to help you if this happens.
Ryan also mentioned a very good resource for chapters is the Chapter Leaders Resource Guide. It gives strategies to increase membership, attendance at your meetings, networking and more. It is extremely valuable and brings in new ideas. The latest version is 2014, but we plan to update this within the next year.
The next speaker was Tim Harvey, CFE, who is part of our Global Chapter Development team and president of the U.K. Chapter. Tim discussed the importance of sponsorships with other organizations and the opportunities they bring. One item heavily discussed was exhibitor sponsorships being a two-way street. When an organization sponsors a portion of the event, if they are pleased with the outcome, they will be more inclined to sponsor again. Set their expectations accordingly by providing them an exhibitor prospectus. If you don’t already have this type of document, we will be working on creating a sample template you can use.
After Tim, the ACFE’s Public Information Officer, Sarah Hofmann, discussed how using the media can encourage new members to join and increase chapter event attendance. She discussed offering yourself as an expert on the topic of fraud, submitting a press release, guest writing and how to respond appropriately when contacted by a reporter. For additional information on strategies on how to work with the media, contact Sarah at SHofmann@ACFE.com.
The last block was presented by the Oman Chapter Secretary/Treasurer, Alison Benbow, CFE. She covered membership-building strategies. She recommended each chapter use the ACFE Member Lists that are available on the Chapter’s admin page. For information on how to access the member lists, please read this newsletter article. She also discussed having the chapter work more closely with universities.
One item that was discussed during the meeting was having a speaker database that chapters have access to as an easy way to find more speakers. This is a topic that we will begin discussing with the committee to find the best way to provide this and where it would be located. Once we roll out with this database, we will be asking each chapter to help provide speaker information to help build the database.
If you have not attended the Chapter Leaders Meeting at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to discuss your day-to-day challenges and learn from your peers.
Thank you to all who attended and I look forward to an even better meeting at next year’s conference in Las Vegas.
Below are more pictures from the meeting.