This information is meant to give you an idea of how to start a chapter. Do not plan to do everything yourself. Just use this as an outline for discussion when meeting with other families in your area.
You can also contact our FRUA Regional Liaison at email@example.com for more personal help.
Starting a chapter doesn't really take all that much time. Each member of your volunteer leadership committee will need to be a current member of FRUA. You need to hold an event (a pot luck supper, play date, etc.) and find out if there is enough interest in your region. I'm guessing there will be! FRUA National can help with this by getting a database of FRUA members in your area.
Pull together a few core volunteers. You will need a Chapter Chair for outreach and to be a point of contact for members and for the FRUA board, an Events Chair, and a Treasurer. As interest grows and you learn what is most needed by the regional membership, more positions can be added. This will vary depending on the focus of your particular chapter's membership interests.
Save your receipts! Once the chapter is established, you can submit up to $100 in receipts for a one-time start-up reimbursement. The $100 can be used to cover postage and copying costs for invitations to meetings, bank fees, a kick-off event, etc. Hopefully, this will minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you need help locating members and other interested individuals in your area, please contact Elizabeth Field at firstname.lastname@example.org. Beth can provide you with a list of FRUA members in your geographic area, if you are already a FRUA member. (We do not give out member information to non-members.)
You can get complimentary FRUA materials, newsletters, brochures or membership forms to promote your chapter formation at no cost by contacting Lori Zimmer at email@example.com.
You are welcome to include information about the chapter in FRUA's newsletter, “The Family Focus.”
Once you have your core volunteers on board, the chapter will need to open a bank account. Having the bank account opened makes the chapter eligible for “dues share”. FRUA cannot send “dues shares” to an individual. Therefore, the account should be in the name of your chapter, “FRUA – Arkansas” for example.
The chapter will need to decide on an amount for your chapter dues. Chapter dues range from $25 to $35 per year. FRUA National retains $20 (a figure it has not changed since its founding in 1994), which covers, “The Family Focus”, the website, the hot line, membership and database and membership expenses, orphanage support projects, etc. If the members live within a local chapter, the dues in excess of $20 is returned to the chapter as “dues shares”. The chapter portion of the dues is used to fund local events, Orphan Support projects and anything else that you do in your chapter. Memberships are processed and the “dues shares” back to the chapter will be sent out approximately every six weeks to your treasurer. You will receive a copy of the application forms and a listing of both current and former members on a monthly basis.
What the chapter becomes is really up to members. Most chapters have found that low-cost, kid-focused events are what most members need. Of course, this will change over time, as our children get older and parents face new challenges. Some chapters have monthly or quarterly parent networking meetings or events. These events can be educational or purely social.
FRUA has a very basic mission and we ask chapters to follow it. “FRUA offers families hope, help and community by providing connections, education, resources and advocacy and works to improve the lives of orphaned children"
One other important note is that our 501(c)(3) status does not extend to the chapters. To be a non-profit corporation, the chapter must apply to the IRS on its own. If your chapter wants to pursue this, FRUA National offers a reimbursement in the amount of $150, to help your chapter obtain the 501(c)(3) status.