Fostering Engagement Within Your Chapter

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Being able to create and cultivate a network of like-minded individuals is one of the biggest benefits of APMP membership and, oftentimes, this starts at the local level. Getting members involved with their chapter is important in ensuring that bid and proposal professionals will continue to have access to the knowledge and best practices that allow this industry to progress. For those who are leading the chapters, it takes creativity and dedication to keep that engagement going. Here, three APMP chapter leaders share how they do this as well as how they work to empower their members.

What do you think are crucial factors in creating a strong APMP chapter?

Karina Ames, CF APMP, APMP ANZ chair: Providing value, thought leadership and advocacy for members. For ANZ, this includes regular networking opportunities, a robust certification program, award-winning conferences and informative webinars. With our last conference postponed, we introduced new programs including online coffee groups and a popular mentorship program. We will soon release an updated salary survey and are exploring new ways to connect members with job opportunities and training providers. These services and initiatives are delivered by an engaged and dedicated committee.

Cezar Badalau, CF APMP, APMP Romania chair: Being a young chapter, we believe a strong APMP chapter is connected to achieving a critical size that enables it to effectively support its members through educational programs, career advancement and recognition. In addition, beyond just being part of the chapter, we encourage our members to be engaged with and responsive to our initiatives. The key factors for achieving this are:

  • Having a motivated team of board members, committee members and volunteers
  • Defining a clear plan for the chapter’s growth, aligned to the specifics of the market you are addressing for both corporate and individual memberships
  • Rolling out initiatives and engaging members in a way that will contribute to their professional goals

Lisa Rehurek, Valley of the Sun Chapter chair: [It’s about] meeting our members where they are. Our members have diverse interests, industries and focus (commercial or government), which means our chapter programs must have wide appeal. We must create a variety of programs and events that our members are interested in and excited about. That will then set us up to be able to recruit and attract new members to grow the chapter.

How does your chapter leadership work together to empower its members?

Ames: The committee is passionate about improving proposal industry standards in ANZ and beyond through APMP. We are starting to see the results of this, for example, through employers requiring candidates to have APMP certification. We empower members by focusing on the member journey, with a new committee member dedicated to this role in 2021. We encourage two-way communication through networking events and surveys, including post-conference surveys to guide ongoing improvement. We also keep in touch through our website, social media and regular newsletters.

Badalau: The board members are constantly working to create initiatives that engage members of APMP Romania. One of the key areas where we are supporting our members is with onboarding and [when they are working toward] APMP certification. We have ad-hoc calls to address any questions in those areas. Our short-term plans include having monthly “open doors” calls to speak with members who have questions about any aspect related to our chapter or the overall APMP organization.

Rehurek: The leadership team meets regularly to discuss program needs, review the status of the chapter and brainstorm about future programs. We are here to add value for our members, so creating a chapter that is attractive and exciting to them is our goal. We reach out to our membership through our chapter APMP site, emails, virtual meetings and our chapter LinkedIn group.

Our goal is always to create a solid platform of programs and events that build camaraderie. We want to continue to get to know our members, grow our membership and add value. In addition to the programs that we are developing as a chapter, we are also starting to co-chair virtual events with other chapters, and partner with other chapters to leverage amazing programs and events that our members can get involved with.

How has your chapter pushed through the pandemic?

Ames: In place of our postponed conference, we held a short online BidX event with some fantastic speakers from across the APMP global community. We have seen high participation in online coffee groups and networking events, which have been held in addition to our regular webinar programming. As our chapter already services a large geographical area in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia, we will likely continue some form of online engagement post-pandemic.

Badalau: The board members had to refocus the plans for 2020, given the changing conditions imposed by the pandemic. The first APMP Romania conference had to be postponed, as did all other plans for meeting the chapter members face-to-face. Moreover, our campaign for increasing the awareness of APMP Romania’s establishment and evangelizing our chapter’s services and membership opportunities was more difficult. Our efforts focused on increasing online reach and engagement. We are optimistic that soon the pandemic will be contained, and it will be easier to reach out to potential members.

Rehurek: It’s been an interesting year for sure. We have always done a lot of virtual events because our membership is geographically diverse, but we’ve still had to make small shifts. Our holiday party this year was virtual, so we sent attendees a small gift to their home and that was a nice surprise for everyone. We have tried to keep members abreast of new opportunities, as we know some have lost their jobs, especially early on when the pandemic initially hit. Continuing to provide support, training and connection has been of utmost importance.

Frances Moffett is the managing editor at APMP.

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