Using Teamup for a Large, Multi-Chapter Organization

A multi-chapter organization requires a balance of central control and regional autonomy, plus working with individual chapters. Here’s how Teamup can help.

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Large organizations with separate, regional chapters are a unique management challenge. On one hand, the organization needs to be coordinated. It’s better if information is consistent and schedules don’t conflict. Central management is key. On the other hand, the regional chapters often operate independently, organizing their own events and meetings. So the need is twofold: stay coordinated, while allowing autonomy.

Common factors

In our work with Teamup users from all over the world, some factors come up often for this type of large, multi-chapter organization:

  • Non-profit organization: there may be increased budget or security limitations. Sometimes staff and resources are limited, sometimes not. Sometimes a volunteer workforce handles administrative duties, and the turnover can be quite high. In all cases, everyone wants an efficient and easy-to-use solution.
  • One organization, many chapters: a single organization with multiple chapters, which generally function independently but are required to operate within the guidelines of the organization.
  • Sectional or regional division: chapters may be organized into large sections or regions. In some cases, a large region may contain multiple chapters. Depending on the type of organization and the regional division, some chapters may cover a large area, while others may be more concentrated (e.g., an urban area).
  • Independent chapter events: chapters may coordinate with or be involved in events managed by the central organization office, but they often schedule and hold their own events independently.
  • Sectional/regional events: sections or regions often have their own larger events, involving their local chapters and open to other chapters joining.

Common requirements

This unique set of factors leads to a unique set of requirements:

  • The chapters want to be able to control/maintain their own calendars but see and share their events easily with other chapters.
  • The different regions want to coordinate to avoid having major events scheduled at the same time.
  • The calendar needs to be easy to use for the people who will be inputting the events; many times, these people are volunteers with their own careers and busy lives and they need to do this organizational work in their downtime.
  • To maintain central coordination, the calendar needs to include the ability to aggregate all sectors or regions into one master calendar that can be easily viewed in one place, while also providing the ability to see only one section/chapter’s calendar at a time.
  • The calendar needs to be accessible, in as many ways as possible, to accommodate a wide variety of diverse chapter members.
  • It’s important to control who can only see the calendar, versus who can add to or modify events on the calendar.
  • Bonus: if individual events can be shared publicly, without compromising the calendar or security, then event planning and promotion is easier for everyone.
Now that we know the factors and requirements, let’s take a look at how Teamup can help.

How to use Teamup for a multi-chapter organization

There are several ways to organize a multi-chapter organization. But first, there are two important setup tasks to complete:
  1. Add one sub-calendar for each chapter or district.
  2. Create a unique customized link for each individual (or group) who will use the calendar to add/update their events. This post explains in more detail how to create unique calendar links to securely share your calendar.

Option 1: Modify for regions

Use one master calendar for all regions. Create a folder for each region, and add one sub-calendar for each chapter under their respective regional folder. The result will be one master calendar with multiple folders and multiple sub-calendars in each folder.

For security reasons, we recommend that you share the calendar administrator link only with a designated calendar administrator; for each region, supply a designated person with a unique calendar link which has modify permission for their regional sub-calendars and read-only permission for all other sub-calendars. This way, one designated regional “calendar coordinator” can add and modify events for their own region, and all chapters within their region, but will not be able to change events for the other regions.

  • Alternate: create a customized link for each chapter and assign the modify-from-same-link permission to their own chapter sub-calendar. This way, each chapter can add and update their own chapter events, without requiring the regional person to add or update the events for them. This option gives a bit more autonomy and flexibility to each chapter, but a bit less control to regional directors.

Option 2: Add-only for chapters

Use the same master calendar, organized as described above. Create a calendar link for the regional coordinator with full modify permission for the regional sub-calendar (and, if desired, for the chapter sub-calendars included in their region). For each chapter coordinator, create a calendar link with add-only permission for their own chapter sub-calendar (and, if desired, for the regional sub-calendar). In this setup, any changes for chapter events would need to be updated by the regional coordinator or the central calendar administrator. This option provides a bit more control at the regional level, but also requires a bit more work from the regional coordinator.

Option 3: Multiple master calendars

Use multiple master calendars, creating one master calendar for each region; this is a good option for organizations which have many chapters per region, and with regions which operate more independently. In this setup, each region would manage their calendar, with their own designated calendar administrator. Each region would have full administrator rights over their own master calendar, including the creation and organization of sub-calendars, calendar links, access permissions, custom event fields, etc.

To get a single, central overview of all regional master calendars, create a master Overview Calendar; then add inbound iCalendar feeds, one from each master calendar, to this Overview Calendar. See details here. This option requires a bit more work to set up, but provides the most flexibility and operational independence for the separate regions.

Each option has its pros and cons, depending on what’s important to the organization as a whole, and to each region and chapter. The same powerful Teamup features are available — from event pages to signups to event comments and sharing — and the Teamup mobile apps keep all chapter members connected and updated.

Photo by Angelo Moleele on Unsplash

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