In EO’s 30-year history, members have led the formation of 196 chapters. With 14,000-plus members, only a few hundred have taken on the significant challenge of forming a new chapter. We asked EO Richmond President Michael Mahoney what it takes to launch a new chapter. And while every chapter and every launch is unique, entrepreneurs around the world will certainly relate to his journey of building something from nothing.
Launching an EO chapter is exactly like launching a start-up company. You have to go into it with the mindset that you are launching a start-up nonprofit as a volunteer. That means you are doing everything from the very beginning, using templates and guides from EO.
As an enthusiastic EO DC member since 2003, I missed the camaraderie, connections and learning events with my EO family after moving to Virginia. So, I decided to start a new EO chapter—starting from scratch, with no established connections in my new city.
It was an intense journey filled with cold-calling potential new members, leveraging resources, producing events that appeal to both strategic alliance partners (SAPs) and potential members, and implementing the strategies and structure for a successful organization.
Every EO chapter launch is unique, but there are underlying struggles we all have in common. Here are nine strategies I learned that may prove helpful if you’re considering starting an EO chapter.