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Chapter Advising

Advising is an important element of success for Chapters. Each Chapter has its own structure, and particularly, advising may look different for student and professional Chapters, but it’s important for Chapters to be provided advice and guidance to ensure resources are being utilized and the Chapter’s previous challenges are being considered as the Chapter moves forward.

Students and Professional Chapters can benefit from different types of advising structures. Check out the different suggestions we have for student & professional chapters below.


Advising for Student Chapters

For student Chapters, Chapter Leaders and Advisors can create heightened awareness of social and environmental responsibility on campus leading to increased impact!

Net Impact Chapter Leaders benefit tremendously from the guidance and continuity of a Chapter Advisor, usually from school faculty or staff, which is why Net Impact Central requires a Chapter Advisor for all Student Chapters. Chapter Advisors can be university administrators or faculty members who are interested in supporting the work of the Chapter to advance social and environmental change. Chapter Leaders looking to recruit a Chapter Advisor should reference the Leadership Transition page, which contains ideas and resources for recruiting Chapter Leaders and Chapter Advisors.

The following list of best practices is intended both to help Chapter Advisors understand the different ways they can support the Chapter, and to help Chapter Leaders understand the value Chapter Advisor(s) can offer in building a strong Chapter positioned for long-term success.

1. Plan for the year and check in on progress

Incoming Chapter Leaders should develop an annual plan for the year and schedule a meeting with their Chapter Advisor to review together. Advisors can provide helpful context from their experience and be a sounding board for realistic, measurable goals.

Net Impact Central offers unique and exclusive programs to Net Impact Chapters. Net Impact Central Programs are carefully planned each year and designed to help Chapter Leaders and Members learn and lead, and can run parallel to chapters' local activities.

Chapter Advisors should stay in touch with the Chapter Leaders and budget approximately 3 hours a month to do so. Advisor support can be through attending or speaking at a Chapter event, advocating for the Chapter on campus, or by checking in with Chapter Leaders on goals.

Some Chapters choose to share Chapter Advisors on meeting minutes or notes to keep efficient use of time.

2. Support opportunities to connect with the Net Impact Community

Through Net Impact Central, there are several ways for Chapters to get involved, including dedicated summits for Chapter Leaders to learn and connect with other leaders from across the country and around the world, virtual events to learn and network from the community, virtual programs, and sometimes even in-person engagements. Many schools reimburse students for attendance to in-person engagements, and Chapter Advisors are the most powerful advocates in helping secure funds for students to attend these unique opportunities. Note: currently, our national conference is a free, digital event series - find out more here! Keeping your Advisor in the loop on Net Impact events and programs is an important way to keep the Chapter aligned with the most effective activities for the Chapter. 

3. Connect and learn

Net Impact Central provides opportunities throughout the year for Chapter Leaders to learn and connect. Advisors can connect with one another by attending Net Impact Virtual Events or local in-person conferences (when available), where Chapter Advisors network with other school officials, student leaders, and global industry experts to discuss the world’s toughest challenges and solutions.

4. Ensure thoughtful succession planning

As students are only in their programs for a limited time, thoughtful succession planning is critical. Chapter Advisors play a powerful role in leadership continuity by helping students elect their new leadership team with succession planning in mind and by encouraging a leadership knowledge transition plan.

5. Check that Chapters complete their annual requirements

Each year, Net Impact Central asks Chapters to complete certain requirements. Requirements include paying annual Chapter dues, often funded by the school or through a fall event, and completing the annual reporting process in the spring.


Advising for Professional Chapters

Professional Chapters can also set up a structure to ensure strong advising for the Chapter. Most Professional Chapters choose to identify an advisory board or council, often composed of Chapter alumni or partners/individuals in the community with a close connection to the Chapter. 

Having an advisory council can give the Chapter a sounding board for large decision making and challenges. An advisory council can also ensure previous experiences of the Chapter are captured in future decisions.

Here are a few suggestions related to starting and running an advisory council:

  1. Mix expertise among council members. Having a mix of Chapter alumni, individuals involved in Chapter partnerships, and mixes of fields of expertise can ensure diverse decision making and support.

  2. Keep it small - having a large advisory council can lead to too much input in decision making, and keeping it small ensures each individual’s expertise is heard and reflected.

  3. Stay organized - meet regularly (we suggest once a month), and share notes so that each person on the advisory council has input. Ensure that clear discussion items are outlined for each meeting, and clear action items are identified to implement the council’s suggestions.