Free tools to help start a new chapter

Hello brothers! Starting a new chapter can be intimidating but trust me, it’s well worth the time and energy you put into it. It’s an amazing experience for you as well as the founders that you’ll never forget for the rest of your life!

Here’s a list of useful free tools available that helped me while starting a new chapter:

  • Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram – used this to publicize our new group across our campus. Example: Alpha Canada
  • Facebook Events – From the Facebook Page, we created an event for each of our recruitment events. Then all of us invited all of our friends to every event. Since they were ‘hosted by’ our Page, they were all connected and people could discover other events to go to as well. [Sometimes we even spent $10 on Facebook Ads for these events, filtering to only show the ads for people on campus and it had a great turn out for even such a low cost]
  • GroupMe / Facebook Messenger – We started with GroupMe to have a single chat but it required another app download so we moved to Facebook Messenger since everyone already had it. Doesn’t matter which one you use, but it’s great to have a single place where everyone can see what’s going on, and get event reminders.
  • YouTube – used this to create recruitment hype videos and posted them on social media before recruitment season.
    Some examples: Alpha Delta’s Spring Rush 2016;

    Alpha Canada’s Fall Rush 2016:

  • MailChimp – after tabling at campus recruitment events we take all those email addresses people wrote down at our booth and add them to a MailChimp list. Then we can email out to everyone at once with a nice email letting them know the next recruitment event details and links to the Facebook Events mentioned above.
  • APOonline.org – Free for Interest Groups and Petitioning Groups. It’s a great tool we use to organize everything from membership, internal APO events, tracking service hours and fellowship events, collecting dues online, awards & achievements, families & family trees, etc.
  • Additional Resources can be found on a Facebook Group the Alpha Canada chapter created to help start new chapters in Canada (all ideas would work for US groups as well). APO Resources for New Canada Chapters Facebook Group

What other free tools have you all used when starting a new chapter?

Tweet your ideas to @APOonline

Extension Manager for Region and Section Chairs

Introducing the Extension Manager for APOonline. To all Region and Section Chairs, the Extension Manager will make your life tracking chartering schools much easier. You’re now able to track interested students, alumni across your region or section, and match them up to start a Prospect Group once there’s enough interest at a specific university. Then you can use the Chartering Process feature to track each requirement as you take your new Prospect Group through each phase of chartering. Let’s take a look!

Updated Dashboard

Region Dashboard

From the Region (and Section) dashboard you can quickly see a summary of your region’s (and section’s) service total, active member total, active alumni total, and other useful statistics. On the right you’ll see all the chapters and groups in your region/section as well as a way to easily create new ones.

Let’s take it for a spin, walking a day in the life of a Region Chair.

Recording New Alumni

Add Active Alumni

I just got a call from a brother moving into my region, Portland, Oregon, and is looking to volunteer! In APOonline I’ll just add their contact information and while I set up our first call. There’s no extension activity in Portland but I’ll add them just the same.

Recording New Student Interest

Prospect Group

Just our luck! A student just contacted the National Office seeking to start a chapter at Portland State! Let’s go ahead and create a Prospect Group for Portland State and add our interested student.

Whoa look at that! There’s also a Recommended Alumni section showing alumni that haven’t been assigned to a group or chapter that match the same area. This made it really easy to pair of volunteers with interested students and get this Prospect Group off the ground quickly.

I had a quick call with the Jeremy, the interested student and logged my call notes right on the Prospect Group’s page. This way anyone else who may look into the status of this extension effort or someone who may take it over has the complete history.

Chartering Process Tool

Chartering Process Tool

Now that I have my Prospect Group all set up and paired with alumni volunteers, I can track their progress through the phases of chartering with the Chartering Process Tool. Each requirement is listed and I can make notes as I complete each task and see my progress reflected in the progress bars.

Assigning Alumni

Assigning Alumni

Ensuring all of your alumni volunteers are used effectively the Active Alumni Roster shows all of your active alumni and where they are assigned (either on staff, advising a chapter, or sponsoring an extension effort). But more importantly, it also shows all of the alumni that currently don’t have a role and are ready for assignment.

Enjoy! Please Share!

I’m excited to see how you use this new Extension Manager for your regions and sections. Please let me know what you think @APOonline, Facebook.com/APOonline, or tony@APOonline.org. Share this blog post if you think this would be useful for other APO staff!

Top Brothers Across Your Section and Region

You can now check out the top brothers in service across your section and region from the Top Brothers page! Compete for the top spot in community service each semester! You can view this page by logging in and then choose Brothers > Top Brothers, and tab over to your section or region.Top Brothers

Global Login and Site Switcher

Logging into APOonline and switching between your various APOonline sites has never been easier! We’ve added two great features to get you going quickly across all of your APOonline sites: Global Login, and Site Switcher.

Global Login

Global Login Button on HomepageA newly added ‘login’ button has been added to the top of APOonline.org‘s homepage. This will allow you to log in to any APOonline site you have access to. In fact, once you enter your credentials, you’ll be able to select from all the APOonline sites your connected to with one click!Global Login Site Selector

Site Switcher

Once you’re logged in, sometimes you may want to switch which APOonline site you are working with. For example if you are on Section Staff but are also a Chapter Advisor you may want to sign up for events at your local chapter, but then quickly be able to switch to you section’s APOonline site to post a new event and invite your section’s chapters to attend. To make this easy we’ve added a site switcher to the top nav drop down.

Site Switcher

Event Enhancements

Over the past few weeks we’ve been adding more capabilities to events to allow you even more control over the events your chapter hosts. There are two key enhancements: allow sign-ups starting on a specific date, and a second coordinator position.

Event Create Form EnhancementsAllow sign-ups starting on a specific date

This new capability will allow you to create events far in advance but block members from signing up until the designated date. By default it will be set to today so you don’t have to change this value if you don’t want to use this capability.

Second coordinator position

Some chapters are so large that it takes two to run an event. We’ve added a second coordinator position so that you can designate two people to have full privileges over this single event which allows these members the ability to edit, delete, or even complete this event awarding out requirement credit.

APOonline v2.0: Quick Setup

APOonline Quick Setup

New to APOonline? Don’t worry! I know there’s a lot of features and lots to customize so we’ve added a Quick Setup box to all new chapter sites so that you can easily customize your chapter’s site to match your chapter’s By-Laws. Every chapter is different so APOonline allows you to completely customize just about anything on the site to ensure that your chapter has no issues moving from your previous online or offline system.

Step through this nine step process and your chapter’s site will have all of it’s officers, requirements, dues, contact info, everything needed to get your chapter’s new website up off the ground!

APOonline v2.0: Achievements & Leaderboards

APOonlineLovesAPO

Dear APOonline Community and Brothers,

Happy New Year! It’s 2013 and with the start of a new year comes new adventures for Alpha Phi Omega and APOonline! 2012 was a very exciting year and the National Convention was a blast!

Firstly I would like to take the time to thank all of you for using APOonline and fueling it to grow, reaching over a third of the entire fraternity! The APOonline community is strong and I’m very thankful to be of service to each of you. In the beginning, I created APOonline to help my very own chapter, Alpha Zeta Chapter at the University of Kentucky, become more efficient and reduce paperwork so that we can all focus more time on what really matters: service. I’m happy to announce that since the introduction of APOonline, APO chapters have logged over 300,000 hours of community service! Congratulations to you all!

Moving forward, APOonline will face challenges from time to time, from within the fraternity as well as externally. If you were in attendance at the National Convention you heard about a challenge from both: YouTopia. This is an exciting time for APO to grow as we move into the technology age of our fraternity together. As founder of APOonline, I approach this challenge with excitement and as an opportunity to continue to provide the best service for my brothers.

APOonlinev2ChapterLeaderboard

 

In order to invest all of the resources, both in time and money, the national executive committee has devoted to YouTopia, I am sure they have done extensive research to conclude that you as brothers of APO need a tool to manage achievements. I did not find such results from my internal research of APO brothers: Gamification is great, but what I learned from brothers is that we do not do service to get a badges or points, we do it because we love service, we love giving back, and we love providing a helping hand for those in need. We do service because we love to serve. APOonline is designed from the ground up to help chapters do exactly this, and make the other “stuff” like records and paperwork simple and quick so that you can get back to what you love to do: serve.

APOonlinev2Achievements

 

But if our fraternity executives believe that gamification of service is in fact needed by the APO community, then APOonline will deliver. Live today is a fully featured achievement system integrated into the chapter management system that you know and love! Leaderboards and Top Brothers have been in place for years but they have been improved and extended so you can see how you match up with your chapter, section, region, or even the entire nation!

 

APOonlineMobileScreenshot

 

 

If there is a need in the APO community, APOonline will be there to serve your chapter. Thank you for your commitment to APOonline. As an added bonus for your dedication to the APOonline cause, I would like to publically announce that APOonline will have a mobile site! Beta testing will be available to a selection of APOonline’s oldest chapters in the spring and general availability will be ready for the fall semester.

Again, thank you for your continued commitment to APOonline! Click here to see all features available with APOonline versus other chapter management systems.

In LFS,

Tony Schmidt
tony@apoonline.org
APOonline Founder

APOonline v2.0: Petitioning Groups

APOonlinev2CharterProcessIntroducing “Charter Progress” feature! Are you trying to start a new petitioning group of Alpha Phi Omega? If so you should think about starting a FREE APOonline for Interest and Petitioning Group site! APOonline offers this service for free for the entire time you are working toward chartering.

This new feature gives you a tool to track your progress as you move toward chartering or rechartering your group! Watch your progress and record your steps. Once you are done you can send your notes to your section and/or region chair so that they can approve your progress!

Click here to learn more about starting an APOonline for Interest/Petitioning Groups site

 

APOonline v2.0: Messaging

APOonlinev2Messages

New to APOonline, messaging! You can now send message to anyone in the APOonline community! From any brother’s profile simply click, Send Message. If you wish to find brothers from other chapters simply choose “View Chapters” from the “Brothers” menu drop down. Find their chapter, then click view brothers. To find someone in your own chapter, simply type their name in the search box from any page!

Find me and send me a message! Alpha Zeta Chapter > Anthony Schmidt

APOonline v2.0

APOonlinev2Dashboard2

Version 2.0 is out! APOonline has been completely redesigned to take advantage of wider-screen monitors moving from 600 pixels wide to 1000 pixels! With the new wide layout comes new calendar and table views which will make reviewing larger chapter data much more easy!

Also added are notifications! Whenever you receive credit for attending an event you will receive an email as well as a notification in the upper right hand corner!

Over time more features will be redesigned for the new wide layout making APOonline more accessible to everyone! Enjoy!

Click here to view a full photo album of the new redesign!