Welcome to SPJ Leading Edge, a blog built just for chapter leaders. Youll find tools and information to help build, grow and sustain active and successful chapters, the very backbone of SPJ. Well highlight programs, provide best practices for things like finance and governance and answer some of the most popular leadership questions. Contact Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator, for anything and everything chapter related.
Archive for the ‘SPJ Leadership’ Category
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | May 23rd, 2013
From SPJ Director at Large, Carl Corry:
In an effort to help SPJ chapters improve their all-important web presences, or to start one, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey if you’re a chapter leader. We’ll share the results.
The goal: to help bring attention to the great work you do and improve your ability to attract and retain members.
Additionally, SPJ Director at Large Carl Corry is offering to help you get started by providing one-on-one advice to any chapter. We will also host a Google+ Hangout on the subject.
Please reply by June 14.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | April 5th, 2013
Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports…
Campus – May 1
Professional – May 6
I’m pretty sure you’re picking it up. As always, if you have questions – contact Tara Puckey, Chapter Coordinator, via email or phone (317.927.8000, ext. 215).
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | April 1st, 2013
Yes, you do. Scrippsters are among the best and brightest of SPJ. Fearless leaders who spent an entire weekend learning about their leadership styles, how to better their beloved chapter and had some amazing fun, of course.
They’re participants in the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, developed to create better leaders by offering a mix of sessions focused on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. And in 2013, the Institute is hitting the road.
In fact, it has already made a stop in Indianapolis, taking place on a chilly March weekend. A group of devoted leaders from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Nebraska gathered together to create memories and lessons that are sure to last a lifetime.
Check out their experiences!
Or, if you’re interested in more, you can always read through the Storify of the event, which captures spectacular memories, important lessons and insight into the program through the words of the Scrippsters themselves.
Then, because you’ll definitely want to be one – apply to participate in a region near you! We’ll be in Denver in June and Memphis in July. Applications are due soon, so don’t delay. Questions? Contact Chapter Coordinator, Tara Puckey, via email or phone (317) 927-8000, ext. 215.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | January 25th, 2013
Hey chapters, here’s a heads up:
Over the last six months, two of our local chapters have discovered mishandling of their funds. In an effort to help chapters practice fiscal responsibility, the exec committee recently approved a motion to require pro chapters to submit 12 months of bank statements with their annual reports for the time period covered by the report.
Pro chapters will submit 12 months of chapter bank statements, for all chapter accounts, with their annual reports.
Good news: You have time. Start getting your books in order. Conduct monthly audits to make sure you’re ready. And when I say audit, I don’t mean glance over the Word doc your treasurer handed to you – take a look at those statements, reconcile the checkbook, view cashed checks, ask questions. Trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.
The statements are considered part of the annual report and if they’re not included, it’s not considered a complete report.
Questions? Email me, call me (317-927-8000, ext. 215). I’m happy to help walk you through our financial best practices, answer tax questions or just listen to your chapter concerns.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | January 9th, 2013
Attention chapter leaders: We’re giving you yet another opportunity to grow your ranks and fill up with folks straight out of the newsroom. That’s because we’re proud to announce SPJ’s Newsroom Memberships.
Here’s the nuts and bolts of the program:
Newsrooms join one of three membership tiers, Bronze ($250), Silver ($750) or Gold ($1,250). When they do, their employees receive pro memberships for $60 instead of $75, they’ll receive access to SPJ.org and all our training resources there, free job postings/classifieds, free award entries, conference reimbursements and more. Really, the possibilities are endless.
A Newsroom Membership is the best way to show a commitment to producing high-quality, ethical journalism. It shows you support the missions of SPJ and gives your staff the opportunity to become part of the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism association.
A few things to know about our Newsroom Memberships:
They apply to a physical location. So, for example, Joe Johnson who owns 263 community newspapers from coast to coast couldn’t pay $250 and allow all his 6,000 employees join at the discounted rate. Makes sense, right?
There are a limited amount of Gold memberships available this year. We won’t say how many right off the bat – that takes away some of that “VIP” shine, but just know you’re offering newsrooms a few-of-a-kind deal.
We did the hard stuff for you. Here’s an Newsroom Memberships for you to take to your local newsrooms, as well as a nifty application. Consider hosting a brown bag lunch for each local newsroom where your chapter hosts a mini program, maybe a 30 minute rapid fire FOI session, then talks for another few minutes about the benefits of a Newsroom Membership. Don’t forget to mention individual memberships as well.
Need more help? Let us know. We’d love to help you track down some interested local newsrooms or answer any questions you might have.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | October 22nd, 2012
Where has October gone? Before you know it, we’ll be packing up the pumpkins and bringing out the shovels. Well, at least we will at SPJ HQ in Indianapolis. Just a few quick updates before we roll into a new month:
Some of you may have already attended the Scripps Leadership Institute in Indianapolis. If not, you should know it’s an amazing resource, not only for you as a leader of SPJ, but for your own professional development. The program focuses on your leadership style, working with others, effectively leading a chapter and provides tons of ideas for you to take home and share with your fellow SPJers.
While Indianapolis is an incredibly amazing city, we’ve decided to take the show on the road and bring this great program to your backyard by visiting four regions per year. We’d like to train two or three members of your chapter board, creating a mini retreat for you to process ideas, make plans and learn about working together to build a better chapter.
The website has been updated to reflect changes about the traveling gig, and applications will be accepted soon for our first location, a farewell stop in Indianapolis. Check out when the program will stop at a city near you and start thinking about what current and future leaders you’ll send off for a blissful weekend of everything SPJ.
Your drink of choice?
Instagram contests are one of our favorites. We love to see and share moments from our members. Last week we launched another contest: #JournoJuice. Upload a picture of whatever gets you through the day to Instagram with the hashtag #journojuice before Oct. 24 and win a prize. What is it? You’ll have to follow us on Instagram (spj_pics) to find out as we’ll be posing sneaky pictures of it this week.
You can check out our Pinterest board dedicated to the contest for all the glorious drinks (and mugs, cups and flowers). In the meantime, here are some of our favorites.
A fair use program
The next episode of Studio SPJ will feature Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, two American University professors who are the authors of “Reclaiming Fair Use – How to Put Balance Back in Copyright.” The program will air at 3:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 10.
Improve your understanding of fair use and how it applies to your work by listening to this 30-minute program live or later as a podcast.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | September 22nd, 2012
Maybe you’re checking out this list as you amble out of one of the Chapter Leaders Sessions at Excellence in Journalism 2012. Or, maybe you’re a chapter leader who couldn’t quite make it to the conference, but are diligently checking up on everything SPJ while lounging at home in your pajamas on a Saturday.
Either way, here’s the list of helpful web tools that were shared during the session at EIJ12. Did we miss something? Was one of these tools helpful in a way we didn’t mention? Share by commenting below or sending an email – we’d love to hear it!
- Ticketbud - Ticket sales. Organizers pay a flat fee, regardless of the amount of tickets they sell (free events are FREE). Event pages can be customized and can be formatted to include an easy option for sponsorship. Random goodwill fact: any events benefiting cancer are FREE.
- MailChimp – Easy to use, sharp looking, custom way to send emails to chapter members and other journalists in the community. Great Forever Free plan, which should suit most chapter needs. Plays nice with social media and has an incredibly cute monkey as a mascot.
- A blog – We’ve forever heard from chapters that it’s hard to get a website or blog going, but the reality is that the web is where current and future members are going to find you. So try any number of these free (with paid options, of course) tools: WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Posterous, Snackwebsites… the list goes on and on. Something, if regularly updated, is better than nothing.
- Finances are complicated for us as individuals, let alone managing those of a non-profit organization of journalists (who aren’t inquisitive and curious at all…). As a leader, you obviously have to find what will work for your individual chapter, but checking into something like FreshBooks, a cloud accounting service, might be helpful. With this tool, more than one person can “see” the finance situation, creating better checks and balances.
- Meetup.com – Consider listing your chapter and events on Meet Up, a site for people to find connections by interest and location. Also consider using the tool to find similar journalism organizations in your area and suggest a partnership for an event or two.
These are just a few tools that might help keep your chapter connected and cut down volunteer hours. Do you have a great suggestion? Share it with other leaders by posting a comment or email it!
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | September 6th, 2012
Mark your calendar now, or better yet, favorite the session in your handy EIJ12 app!
Professional chapter leaders, I’ll see you on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. to talk programming, membership, communication and more. And campus leaders, show up on Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. Interested in advising a campus chapter but you’re a pro? Head to both! Post-grad member trying to figure out how to connect with young professionals in a pro chapter? Head to both! No matter what, I’d like to see you there!
But don’t come empty handed. Bring some of your favorite chapter ideas and materials to share with others. Have a board member handbook? Bring it along! Have a great flyer you just created for an amazing program? Bring that, too!
You shouldn’t wait for the session to participate! I want to hear your burning questions about SPJ leadership and chapter growth and development. Fuel the discussion before we even get there! Comment on this post, share your question on Facebook or post to Twitter using the hashtags #EIJ12 and #SPJleaders.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | September 6th, 2012
A few weeks ago, we posted some best practices for chapter finance to the Leading Edge, where you commented with ideas and corrections. Don’t forget – these are just suggestions. As chapter leaders, you’ve got to do what works best for your chapter.
And now, we’ve wrapped all that up into an interactive tutorial. Enjoy!
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | July 26th, 2012
Earlier this week, you received an email with some financial “best practices,” collected and compiled by chapter leaders from across the country. In case you missed it, here it is again:
SPJ CHAPTER FINANCES:
As a board member it is your legal responsibility to keep tight oversight on chapter funds – even if you aren’t the treasurer.
By understanding and implementing some of the following recommendations, you can greatly decrease your exposure to misappropriation of chapter funds and other problems.
BEST PRACTICES WORK ONLY IF YOU USE THEM! IN OUR EXPERIENCE, PROBLEMS OCCUR WHEN BOARD MEMBERS SIMPLY DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO REVIEW ACCOUNTS!
INCOME & EXPENSES
- Require two signatures on all checks. Designate another officer/board member or two as online banking administrator(s) to routinely review the account(s).
- Circumstances may dictate that only one person, the treasurer, sign the check, but having a separate online banking administrator or two is still highly recommended.
- Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.
- Income and expenditures should remain separate in your records. If you receive $100 for a pizza party and spend $50, you received $100 and spent $50, not received a net of $50.
- Avoid credit/debit cards; they are too easily abused.
- If a card is necessary, check with your bank to see if you can restrict the card’s use for large expenses only. For example, more than $100 but not more than $500 or only for bills above $500.
- Have the treasurer transfer funds from the chapter PayPal account to the chapter’s general checking account after each event for which the PayPal account is used. Have someone else monitor the account.
- If the board votes on a money matter directly affecting a board member, that board member should recuse themselves, even leave the room to allow a full and frank discussion.
- When depositing funds in the chapter bank account, use a “For Deposit Only” rubber stamp on the back of checks. No individual should sign a check made out to the chapter.
- One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.
THE TREASURER’S DUTIES
The treasurer maintains the following financial records:
1.) A paper check stub for each check written, or copy of self-duplicating check.
2.) A computer record (Excel or Quicken) of each check written, with a detailed breakdown of specific amounts for various purposes.
3.) Electronic and printed copy of each monthly bank statement.
4.) A file of receipts, each notated with the check number for payment
5.) Information needed for financial section of the annual chapter report to national.
6.) The chapter’s federal (and state, if required) tax records, including Employer Identification Number and letter verifying tax-exempt status. SPJ chapters typically are subordinate entities of the national organization and are tax-exempt nonprofits, typically under Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS code. Some chapters are 501(c)(3). Know the difference.
The treasurer prepares and/or files these reports:
1.) Monthly report to the chapter board, detailing income and expenses.
2.) Financial section of annual report to national.
3.) Annual Form 990, EZ 990 or E-card 990 with the IRS.
4.) Any state or local forms required of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations.
We recommend keeping critical records in a single three-ring binder as well as on your computer.
- Create a budget, using the last 5 years of expenses as a guide. Plan for the worst year.
- Examine whether you’re on budget each quarter. Spending/fundraising over or under?
- Monthly treasurer’s report should discuss the state of the budget. Do you need an
emergency fundraiser or cut back on spending?
- Scholarships are an ongoing commitment. Do your best to have 10 years of funds on hand.
ABOUT THE ANNUAL REPORT
The annual report to national headquarters of your chapter’s activities requires a brief synopsis of your chapter’s finances.
- Appoint a committee of three to review the financial section of the annual report and have its members sign a statement attesting to its accuracy.
- The three reviewers should include the chapter president (or designee), a member of the board who is not an officer and a third party with some financial experience (e.g., a local financial reporter, a senior accounting major or local accountant willing to provide pro bono service).
- The regional director will review the annual reports and verify with at least one member of the review panel that the chapter’s finances were reviewed.
After she had a chance to look it over, Liz Enochs, the President of the Northern California chapter, had a few important thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:
One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.
That item strikes me as impracticable. It’s challenging enough to get one person to go to the bank and make a deposit — having to coordinate w/yet another person seems like an unnecessary obstacle.
Here’s what our chapter does: We have two signers on our account – the president (me) and the treasurer. Anytime I make a deposit I have our bank email a copy of the deposit slip to myself and the treasurer, and if further explanation is warranted, I email that to the treasurer.
Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.
I understand the sentiment, which is that oversight and constraints are needed, but that has to be balanced against the possibility of nickel-and-dime approval requirements turning things into a bureaucratic nightmare. Rather than following a specific-dollar-amount mandate from national, I would say the important thing here is for the full board to be involved in monitoring finances and setting limits and guidelines on how chapter money is to be spent.
Do you have thoughts you need to share? Post a comment here! We’d love to hear from you.