The growth of ACAMS Chapters worldwide is increasing significantly. This growth highlights the need for information and guidance to ensure new and existing chapter success. In recognition of this need, ACAMS leadership created the Chapter Steering Committee in January of 2011. The Committee's mission is to provide proven guidelines and by-laws, subject-matter expertise, knowledgeable advice, best practices, and relevant advocacy to new and existing chapters worldwide.
In order to best understand the needs of the chapters, the Committee conducted a Chapter Operations survey of all the chapter boards to determine priorities from a set of 35 topics covering every phase of chapter life from inception to ongoing growth. The Committee was very grateful that all chapters responded. The 100 percent response rate enabled the Steering Committee to create a useful and timely list of topics that will provide a roadmap for Committee work over the coming months.
According to the survey results the leading topics of interest are:
- Development of emerging topics for learning events and sharing the same with ACAMS.
- Use of webinar format for chapters.
- Use of sponsorships for learning events and networking sessions.
- Co-sponsored learning events between chapter and third party.
- Best practices for event locations, times, and credits offered.
- Renewal process for annual chapter membership fees.
- Collaborative efforts of chapters to analyze the success or failure of learning events.
The Committee presented its survey findings and some initial recommendations at the chapter board member meeting at the AML Conference in Florida this past March. The discussion that followed helped clarify some areas of interest. The discussion also highlighted the regional and environmental differences of the chapters and the need for flexibility within the guidelines and policies provided by ACAMS.
Based on this initial feedback and the survey results, the Steering Committee will be working closely with ACAMS leadership and the chapter boards to create a viable and valuable set of Best Practices and Recommendations. Chapters will then be able to use these tools in creating the policies, procedures and processes best suited for their particular needs in recruitment, dues structuring and member benefits, such as learning events.
The Committee has already started addressing a number of the survey's topics and related issues. Steering Committee members intend to present the results of their work and plans for the future at the ACAMS Conference this September. While Committee outreach efforts and interactions with chapters are still in development, chapter leadership will play a significant role in the Committee's efforts to create the most effective and relevant collection of best practices and guidelines possible.
Chaired by Brian Stoeckert of the Northern California Chapter along with members Ed Beemer of U.S. Capital, Vasilios Chrisos of New York, Jack Oskvarek of Greater Chicago and Amy Wotapka of Richmond, the Steering Committee values and looks forward to chapter member suggestions and input. Working together we can all contribute to strengthening the value of local chapters for the entire membership of ACAMS.