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10 Ideas On How To Start A State ALGBTIC Division
by Sue Strong, Ph.D.
There are several considerations in deciding to have ALGBTIC recognized as a division at a state counseling association level.
- First, obtain a copy of ALGBTIC's mission statement and bylaws (please fee free to print this page).
- Second, obtain a copy of the mission statement and bylaws of your state counseling association (contact the bylaws chair). Edit the mission statements and bylaws to match the purposes and policies of the proposed state ALGBTIC. The bylaws of the national ALGBTIC and the state counseling association must be congruent, edit for any conflicts. Then, solicit support from the present and past leaders of the state counseling association. Call or meet personally with these leaders on an individual basis to fully explain the role of and need for ALGBTIC at the state level.
- Third, hold an organizational meeting at a time and place convenient to many members, such as the annual state conference. If you meet at a conference, schedule the organizational meeting of ALGBTIC when it does not conflict with any other major events, for example lunch with some meeting time afterwards may work well.
- Fourth, for a while ALGBTIC may be a fledgling division in your state, you may consider limiting the number on the Executive Committee and/or the minimum membership required to start a division. Perhaps, initially elect a President and Secretary/Treasurer for two year terms each, with the option to seek reelection, and set the minimum membership as low as the state counseling association will allow.
- Fifth, in order to have a cooperative alliance with the state counseling association, you might require all ALGBTIC members to also belong to the state association. Being unified with the state association may reduce potential conflicts.
- Sixth, in order to build membership quickly to stabilize the organization, consider making first year membership free and keeping dues to a minimum thereafter. Contact counselor-education allies to help encourage student membership. Invite members of committees, interest groups, etc., in the state association which have an interest in advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT).
- Seventh, run an article on ALGBTIC in the state counseling association newsletter and in the newsletters of the other state divisions announcing the need and plans for a division that addresses the needs of GLBT people.
- Eighth, encourage ALGBTIC to be a welcoming organization for allies as well as GLBT people. Personally contact straight allies in the state counseling association and request their membership in ALGBTIC. Write an article on the role or and need for straight allies in the state association newsletter and divsion newsletters.
- Ninth, see who is interested in running for office prior to the organizational meeting and encourage several candidates.
- Tenth, recognizing ALGBTIC as a division at the state counseling association level is an excellent opportunity to educate members of your state. If nothing else, ALGBTIC will appear in the state association directory which is often printed in the quarterly newsletter, will have a seat on the board of directors, and will provide workshops at the annual conference. Keep the faith and do not underestimate the power of visibility of GLBT issues that recognition of a division at the state association level will bring.
Starting an ALGBTIC State Branch: The general process to become a fully recognized state branch of ALGBTIC, is to become a division of your state ACA organization, then get approved by ALGBTIC. You should begin by finding out what the process is to start a division in your state organization.
You should gather other interested ALGBTIC members in your state who are willing to join the effort to start a state branch. You will need enough members to have at least 3 board members. You may be required by your state organization to have a minimum number of interested members before you can officially become a division. This may also require you to begin as a Special Interest Group, until you have paying members, an elected board, and active bylaws. All elected officers of a branch must be members of ALGBTIC.
The next step is to draft bylaws for the branch. Again, your state organization might have input, suggestions, or specific requirements for those, but they should also be written to be in compliance with ALGBTIC’s bylaws concerning state branches. You can follow this link to the appropriate section: Article IV, Section 9
Once the process is underway, you should report your activity to the State Branch Committee of ALGBTIC, who can help with the logistics of official approval. Once you have been officially granted Division status by your state organization, you can then submit your request for official recognition as an ALGBTIC state branch, which requires a 2/3 vote of the ALGBTIC board.