State Leadership Teams 101
By Mike Baugh, Chairman, State and Regional Chairs
Volunteers have been described as the driving force of the RMEF. Their passion and excitement motivates them to do great things for the mission. One of the many valuable attributes of RMEF volunteers is their willingness to share ideas and help others. A fun and efficient way to accomplish this is through a State Leadership Team (SLT).
Last summer at their annual meetings in Missoula, the state and regional chairs established several goals for 2013. One of those goals was to foster a functioning SLT in each state, and another was to develop a strategic plan for each SLT.
An SLT is a dedicated, diverse group of RMEF volunteers—led by the state chair(s)—that creates goals and objectives for their individual state, and then works together to achieve them. The overall purpose of an SLT is to provide assistance to the regional directors (RD) and chapters within each state. SLT members attend meetings for or with RDs, assisting with training and helping support the local committees with their banquets or other events. Most importantly, SLTs strengthen the lines of communication between volunteers and field staff.
The core of a strong SLT is a strategic plan that helps guide the team throughout the year. A strategic plan should be prepared in collaboration with the RD to ensure everyone is working toward common goals. The plan should have a one- to three- year vision and be reviewed annually to ensure the plan’s goals remain pertinent to the RMEF’s mission. Goals need to be attainable and achievable to be successful.
The strategic plan should also identify who will make up the team and how often they will meet. Monthly or quarterly conference calls, an annual planning meeting and a yearly PAC and state grant allocation meeting are usually adequate. An SLT may also hold a summer rendezvous in their state that includes a work project to get volunteers out in the field together for some hands-on mission work. In addition, an SLT may organize a volunteer fun night which can provide great opportunities for folks to get together for some fun and idea-sharing.
Once completed, the strategic plan should be shared with RMEF volunteers within the state, for each and every one is vital to the SLT’s success in achieving its goals and objectives. In fact, communicating with the volunteers on a regular basis is one of the duties of an SLT. One useful tool for doing that is publishing a state newsletter. Newsletters can be as simple as a one-page flyer or as extensive and informative as an SLT has time to create. Some examples of state newsletters are Minnesota’s Antlers and Ivory, Montana’s Bullsheet and Washington Tracks. State newsletters can be used to share ideas among committees, track and report state grants, report on PACs, recap the state’s banquets and highlight recent projects. They can also clarify RMEF position statements. No matter what, a SLT’s newsletter is just one great way to communicate the RMEF mission.
Like RMEF chapters, an SLT will have its share of challenges, such as recruitment and retention of its members. The more members on the team and the more active each member is, the more effective an SLT will be. Combine that with a well-developed strategic plan and regular communication, and there’s a good chance the SLT will succeed.
If you’re interested in joining an SLT, reach out to your state chair or RD. You can find their contact information by visiting www.rmef.org. Many of our SLT members go on to become state and regional chairs. Don’t delay—your State Leadership Team is waiting for you!