BMW CCA Operations Manual Section II – Chapter Level
BMW CCA Chapters are the backbone of BMW CCA. With nearly all of the BMW CCA membership assigned to one of the many chapters, they are a nearby and very valuable proof to the members that the Club is truly national in scope and is available to serve the members.
The following is designed to help those desiring to form Chapters and to help new Chapter officers understand clearly what is required and expected of them, and to acquaint them with the operations of the Club and its Chapters, so that there won’t be a break in continuity each year as elections are held.
In order to better respond to the needs of Chapters, and individual members, the Club, in 1977, instituted the offices of Regional Vice President. Currently there are five and their regions are defined as follows:
North Atlantic: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.
South Atlantic: District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mississippi (3 southern counties only).
North Central: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
South Central: Mississippi (all of state but three southern counties), Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
Pacific: Arizona, California, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii.
Chapters are requested to forward normal procedural questions, suggestions and complaints regarding Club operation to their Regional Vice-President. Any correspondence regarding individual member application, renewal, change of address, as well as chapter reimbursement by the National Office should be directed to the National Office.
2.1 The Pipeline – National
The Pipeline is a means of communication from the National Office to the National Board, Chapter Presidents and Newsletter Editors. It is intended as a normal update on what is happening and to advise all regarding specific news. It is signed by either the President or the Executive Director.
2.2 The Pipeline – Regional
Regional Vice-Presidents communicate regularly with the Chapter Presidents in their respective regions by the means of a Regional Pipeline. The Regional Pipeline is not intended to be a replacement for the National Pipeline, but complementary to it. It is sent to all chapters in that region, all National Officers, the Executive Director and Roundel Editor.
There are occasions when a Pipeline requests or requires an answer. Please insure that it is forthcoming as soon as possible either by letter or phone.
If BMW CCA holds Regional Chapter Congresses, Chapter delegates may attend a different Chapter Congress if it is closer or more convenient than their own.
Chapters may use the BMW CCA logo in their newsletters, but advertisers may not.
It is not in the best interests of the BMW CCA in its relations with the International Council of BMW Clubs to allow a chapter in another Council member’s territory. However passive annexation of an ACA Region can occur with the approval of the respective ACA Region and the board of directors.
The success or failure of a Chapter is dependent upon the desire and willingness of the Officers to work.
Suggested Duties of Chapter Officers:
Presides over all meetings, prepares the agenda, and directs the discussion thereof; acts as an ex-officio member of all standing committees and temporary committees except the nominating committee; executes all documents and correspondence in the name of the Chapter as authorized by the membership or the Board of Directors. The President may also act as signer or cosigner of checks. The President, or other Officer as designated by the President, is responsible for sending in the annual Chapter report to the Regional Vice-President when requested by BMW CCA. The President is responsible for the Chapter’s copy of the BMW CCA Operations Manual.
Acts in the place of the President during his or her absence or when so ordered by the President; assists the President and/or the Board of Directors in any manner that they may direct; may be in charge of the Chapter newsletter and may send articles or notices to the Roundel.
Records and preserves the minutes of the Chapter and Board of Directors meetings; presents and reads such minutes at the request of the President; prepares necessary correspondence of the Chapter when so directed; coordinates with the Treasurer in maintaining membership and renewal files.
Keeps and preserves the records and books of accounts reflecting the financial condition and operation of the Chapter and any corporate documents which obligate the Chapter financially. Upon the request of the President, Board of Directors, or Chapter membership, the Treasurer furnishes a report of financial transactions; the Treasurer receives all monies paid to the Chapter and promptly deposits same to its credit with the bank designed as Chapter depository. Prepares the annual Chapter financial report when requested by BMW CCA.
Shall be a member of the Board of Directors, attend the meetings of the Board, aid in forming policy and making decisions and undertake any duties the President or Board of Directors may designate.
4.6 Activities Director
Primarily responsible for planning, organizing, and staging the events and activities of the Chapter. Appoints members or recruits volunteers to take care of portions of each event. Keeps records of these events and how well they succeed. The Activities Director is responsible for financially structuring the entry fees for events in such a way that the Chapter costs (including insurance and any plaques or trophies) are covered with a small profit. If this profit is spread over the entire membership of the event, the cost per person is small but the profits to the Chapter are most important for its growth. All costs for an activity must be included in computing the final entry fees. These include insurance, postage, telephone calls, publicity, supplies, and any rental of equipment. If the Activities Director can arrange to receive merchandise, trophies or awards as donations from the local merchants or car shops, the cost of the event should still be structured as though they were paid for. This will provide continuity from one event to another as well as reward the Chapter financially for the efforts. Advertising can also be sold during the event in the form of sponsorships or the placing of manufacturer’s decals or posters.
In addition to the above-named Officers, we strongly suggest that you recruit as many enthusiastic volunteers as possible and establish committees such as autocross, rally, racing, technical, membership and newsletter committees. The more people you involve in your Chapter organization, the more active your Chapter will be; the more efficient your operation, and the better your chances of grooming future Officers and Chapter leaders.
The managing of a Chapter is quite similar to running a small business. There are duties to be performed, people to oversee, money coming in and going out, plans to be made and accomplishments to be measured. Chapter Officers are urged to give strong consideration to the following suggestions that are designed to assure continued existence of your chapter:
Each year, the incoming Board should quickly determine which of its members would be responsible for each and every job. Act early to additionally appoint non-Board members to help in certain areas which have heavy workloads such as newsletter mailing and event organization. All new Board members should be given the opportunity to study the Chapter’s copy of the BMW CCA Operations Manual.
Running a successful Chapter requires devoted work by several members working together toward a goal that is only rewarded by the inner satisfaction of having helped the members have fun. The people who usually have the most fun are those who become most involved and work hardest.
There is no guaranteed success formula for running a Chapter – what will work in one place will be absolute disaster in another. Running a successful Chapter requires work – many man-hours per week. It is ridiculous to think that this can be accomplished by one or two people sharing the load. The only way to do it is to off-load specific aspects of the work to several people. The following are examples of these:
5.1 Picking Up The Mail
Shall be done at least once a week (more if possible) and the mail must be quickly distributed to ALL those concerned. Pipelines should be distributed to all board members and checks should be forwarded to the treasurer.
5.2 Prospective Member Inquiries
Must be answered at once. Shall be answered with a letter, copy of latest chapter newsletter and a membership application.
5.3 Processing New Member Applications
Must be sent to the National Office at once to help ensure that a membership card and the next issue of Roundel will be forthcoming in a reasonable time. When chapters are informed of a new member assigned to the chapter the current newsletter should be sent at once.
5.4 Arranging Meeting Agenda
Speaker, movie, drawing etc.
5.5 Arranging Events
Rallies, driving schools, tours, picnics, parties, tech sessions.
5.6 Managing Parts Store
Fills order, keeps inventory, places orders, brings stock to all meetings and events for sale.
5.7 Financial Control
Keeps complete control of all income and expenses.
5.8 Newsletter Control
Edits, types, arranges production, mailing and advertising.
5.9 Maintaining Accurate Membership List
Furnished by National to each chapter monthly. National will provide labels for chapter members, other chapter and National Service officers upon request. The list is also available on disk upon request.
5.10 Telephone Chairperson (And Committee)
Needed to quickly spread the word to members when something arises which cannot be communicated due to time and/or mailing costs. Also nice to remind members about events which occur in the last half of the month after the newsletter is mailed.
5.11 Membership Chairperson
One of the most important jobs in a Chapter and one of the most difficult to fill. Requires absolute dedication to the point that they will proposition drivers at traffic lights, gas stations, and dealerships and who will spend hours each week traveling around town placing flyers on every BMW in sight.
6.1 Permanent Address
Every Chapter needs a mailing address to handle its correspondence. Every chapter is required to have a Post Office box. The PO Box should be located in an area close to the largest number of working Club Officers. The reasons for a Chapter post office box are many:
A permanent address enables the Chapter to print sufficient stationery and related items without fear of obsolescence, as well as allowing the Chapter to reduce unit prices due to larger volume when ordering. Mail forwarding and loss of time are avoided when chapters have a permanent address.
Allows for long-range planning on the National level about printed matter, membership drives, pre-printed applications, address labels and Officer correspondence.
Provides for stability and permanence in Chapter publications and in dealings with other organizations.
A post office box will guarantee accuracy in regards to National advertising and promotional campaigns.
6.2 Post Office Box Management
One of the most important aspects of Chapter Management is proper attention to the post office box. To this address is directed mail from the National Office, other Chapters, and most importantly – the members of your Chapter.
Proper geographical location of the Chapter box is a crucial item. Too often is it convenient only to the person who first has the responsibility for mail retrieval and then that job changes at election time.
The post office box should be checked at least weekly and more if possible. It should always be checked just prior to newsletter deadline, as there might be something requiring dissemination to the members.
If it is decided that box location is to change, allow at least three months overlap. Remember to notify the National Office.
Certain steps must be taken to ensure that the Chapter grows and flourishes. It is absolutely necessary that the five or six basic Club officers be as capable and as dedicated as can be found. In our experience, this has been the single most important factor in Chapter success. We cannot stress this too highly. So, do not feel that positions of this magnitude should be awarded to persons as an honor or in gratitude for some service to the group. The criteria must be capability and willingness. It is also essential that the Chapter endeavor to schedule those types of events and social activities that ensure the continued attendance and support of all the members of the Chapter – the race freaks, the picnic buffs, the shade tree mechanics, the concours devotees, and the serious or amateur rallyists. Only by ensuring the continued interest of all of these various types of members can you be guaranteed a solid base of membership from which to draw ideas, valid criticism, officer material and continued life for your Chapter. The energies of these two elements – capable and willing officers and an involved and enthusiastic membership – are then directed toward those three areas which constitute the Chapter’s reason to live (raison d’être): services to members, an informative publication, and Club meetings/events.
7.1 Service To Members
Enhance the enjoyment and minimize the hardships of BMW ownership. Services which could be offered include parts and accessories discounts, Club Parts Store, establishment of personal contacts between nearby members for purposes of technical assistance and camaraderie.
The Chapter newsletter serves as a forum for all Chapter members. Technical articles, activities and event reports, buy and sell sections, reader questions and contributions, social notes, racing news, administrative commentary, parts and accessory evaluations, discount lists – the entire range of the Chapter’s activities is reported. The Chapter newsletter is the prime communicating element among members and makes them aware of the various services offered by the Chapter. A simple newsletter will get Chapter news to the members on time and regularly, and will ensure keeping communication lines open. Regularity and content is much more important than fancy printing and advertising.
Have a well-balanced and regularly scheduled series of meetings and/or events designed to present to the membership every facet of BMW ownership. We strongly recommend that you plan events for an entire year. The event can take the form of watching movies at dinner meetings with refreshments, while talking up the superior qualities of the Marque, preparing your car for a concours d’Elegance, tiptoeing down a backwoods road on a gas economy run, or hard charging through some pylons during an autocross. You should try to present all sides, letting the Chapter members pick those meetings and events they like best. It will soon be evident if your Chapter is primarily interested in social events, technical events, competitive events, or rallying/touring events. In fairness to this preference, you will have to schedule the more popular events more frequently.
Meetings are most important in allowing members to get to know one another, to exchange ideas, and to gain the feeling of belonging to BMW CCA and to the Chapter. For those reasons, it is best to keep all business at these meetings at a minimum and let the Board of Directors do the work of administering the Chapter. Board meetings should be open to any member wishing to attend.
7.4 Chapter Loans
Chapter loans (seed money) for events can be obtained through the Regional Vice President. These loans must be repaid within 60 days after the event unless extenuating circumstances exist which have been approved by the Regional Vice President.
For a Chapter to grow and prosper, you must always “think ahead” to what you want the Chapter to accomplish. The success of tomorrow is planned today. A Chapter that does not plan for tomorrow will become stale and fail. The one area in which the Chapter must be proficient for future growth is:
Recruiting new members – to ensure that once the Chapter is going it will live long and prosper, you must have sufficient numbers of BMW owners in your area to support and perpetuate your Chapter. There are several approaches open to you:
A. Check with local dealers regarding a possible mailing to his service customers. Also, ask them if you can place posters and flyers in their showrooms, near the manager’s desk, and in the parts department.
B. Contact the area sports car clubs for names of members owning BMWs. Investigate the possibility of putting your first meeting announcement in their newsletters.
C. If there is a sports car column in your local newspaper, make an announcement. Also, check out college publications.
Every Chapter must publish a newsletter on a regular basis. Experience has shown that in most cases of successful, enduring Chapters with a high degree of member involvement and growth, the common thread has been an interesting, informative and regularly distributed newsletter.
Size, style, content, quality and frequency vary widely. There are newsletters that arrive every now and then and those that seem to be timed by a quartz clock. Some chocked full of content and some that contain an over abundance of advertising. See Minimum Standards of Chapter Performance for Newsletter Standards, Section III, 1.1.
Publication should be on a regular and frequent basis, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Minimum standards are at least one every 90 days. Ideally, mailing should be within a defined five day period. Members will learn to depend upon receipt.
Content should be as diversified as possible in each issue. Our members’ reasons for joining BMW CCA are varied – some want only technical
articles, others are interested in rallies or autocrosses. Racing news appeals to some and there are those who are primarily interested in social events. If a member can find something of interest in most issues, there is a stronger possibility of renewing membership.
Contributions from members shall be utilized wherever possible, as they help express the varied interests and desires of the members. A newsletter entirely written by one person will be obviously biased toward that person’s interests. One of the hardest parts of an Editor’s job is to obtain contributions.
Advertising is always welcome, as it helps defray the considerable printing and postage costs. Rates shall be reasonable. A suggestion is that a full-page ad should cost the advertiser between 2¢ and 5¢ per member exposed to the ad.
Copying of technical articles, etc., from the newsletters of other Chapters is encouraged. However, do not plagiarize – you must give credit to the original source. Copied items shall be checked to make sure they are technically sound ideas. In order to copy from publications other than chapter newsletters, written permission must be obtained.
Not everyone can spell or punctuate correctly, but every Chapter has members who can. Enlist their aid to ensure that your newsletter does not reek of amateurism.
Chapter Logo: You may wish to pick a graphic symbol or pictorial representation of some facet or aspect of your Chapter identity to appear on your newsletter and stationery. BMW CCA National reserves the right to make final Chapter acceptance conditional upon an agreeable logo. This is done in the best interest of the Chapter. Chapters must not encroach on the basic copyrighted BMW logo. There is a “For Members Only” format for logo design. Check with the National Office.
All Chapters – small, new ones and large, older ones – have financial problems. Do not fall into the trap of spending a large part of the budget on fancy printing, heavy stock covers and color for your newsletter, we have the Roundel. Remember that in the long run members are more interested in content not professional quality printing.
The BMW CCA National Office provides labels for the newsletter and other chapter mailings upon by request. The labels will be sent to the Chapter Post Office unless a request is made to National by the President to send the labels to a personal address.
9.10 Extra Copies & Reimbursement
Every Chapter shall mail a copy of each issue to the Service Officers, the members of the National Board of Directors, the National Office and to every other Chapter. This can be a burden for a Chapter, but it is a great benefit to each Chapter to receive the newsletters from all Chapters. The National Office will rebate Chapters for postage and printing costs incurred in the mailing of these newsletters. A reimbursement program and form is supplied by the National Office. Check the National Office or your Regional Vice-President for the current program of reimbursement.
Certain basic controls should be exercised by each Chapter, so that the Chapter’s Board of Directors, as elected representatives of the membership, can be assured that everything is in order. It is strongly suggested that there be a report by the Treasurer at each Board and/or general membership meeting and it be included in the newsletter at least quarterly. Although the Treasurer does not have to be a CPA, that person should at least have a working knowledge of basic accounting and this should definitely be considered at nomination time.
We recommend that the records be kept on a cash basis, which should require only a checkbook and a worksheet to summarize monthly receipts and expenditures from the checkbook. See Exhibit 2 at end of the Section II.
This is the relationship for the IRS and BMW CCA
All Chapters are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as being not-for-profit organizations that are exempt from federal income tax.
All Chapters are exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(7).
All Chapters should have their fiscal year ending on December 31st.
All Chapters are covered by an Internal Revenue Service group ruling. The “four-digit group exemption number” is 9226.
A Chapter is required to file IRS Form #990, “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax” only if the chapter’s gross receipts are more than $25,000.
BMW CCA National Federal ID number is 23-7121407.
10.1 Suggested Chapter Chart Of Accounts
Chapter accounts should be arranged as follows:
- Beginning Equity
- Membership Dues
- Newsletter Advertising
- Event Fees
- Drivers Schools
- Tech Sessions
- Rebates from National
- Printing & Postage
- Ads, etc
- Other Merchandise Sales
- Miscellaneous (Explain)
- Newsletter Printing, Typing, Photography
- Even Expense
- Travel & Food Expense
- Miscellaneous (Explain)
- Cash – Checking
- Cash – Savings
- Accounts Receivable
- Miscellaneous (Explain)
- Ending Equity
- Members Equity
11.1 New Members
Membership is handled by BMW CCA National and the new member is assigned a chapter by zip code.
Any membership applications received by the Chapter should be forwarded to BMW CCA immediately along with a check to BMW CCA.
If there is not a chapter in the zip code of the new member, the members is given the opportunity to belong to any chapter.
Renewal of membership is handled by the National Office. Members are notified that their membership is about to lapses. The renewal may be done by phone and credit card or by mail to the National Office. BMW CCA National handles all renewal billing and collection and rebates the Chapter at the rate of 1/12th of the Chapters portion monthly.
11.3 Associate Membership
Associate Membership is available to a spouse or immediate family member only. The cost is $5.00 per year, which provides a separate National membership card, a separate vote in the National election, and the right to purchase Raffle Tickets. A separate Roundel is not included. An associate membership is renewable on an annual basis, and has no effect whatsoever in regards to Chapter membership.
11.4 Multiple Chapter Memberships
A member can belong to more than one chapter by calling the National Office and asking to affiliate with an additional chapter. The National Office takes care of the additional Chapter memberships added and rebates it back to the Chapter.
11.5 Members Out Of The Country
A member who moves out of the country will remain in their local Chapter unless they request otherwise.
Though not utilized by many Chapters, a Parts Store can be a considerable source of income with which to help defray costs of running a Chapter.
It is of utmost importance that all sales taxes be collected and promptly paid to the respective governmental agencies and that all permits and income taxes be handled on a proper basis. Any questions as to legality and proper operation should be referred to the National Treasurer.
BMW CCA makes available insurance coverage for business meetings and social events as well as driving events for Chapters under its policy.
This coverage is not automatic.
This coverage must be initiated by the Chapter holding the event.
This coverage must be paid for by the Chapter holding the event. The National Office will reimburse insurance at the rate of the rebate program in force at the time. The Board of Directors reviews the insurance rebate program regularly.
The National Office, Regional Vice President and other members are ready and willing to help recruit, form and build a new chapter. Many services are explained in this manual but if you have any other questions call or write National or your Regional Vice President for help.
Other chapters in your geographic area are willing to help with ideas while you are in your formative stage. Joint events could be planned which is good for stimulating growth and interest.
Your Regional Vice President can help you with the geographic area in zip codes for the new chapter. National will supply a list and labels of the members in that area. Send out a letter of the intention to start a chapter. See if you can get enough interest to get a pro tem President, Vice President and Treasurer and hopefully an Officer at Large and Activities Chairperson. This appears to be the minimum of working officers needed to establish a chapter.
14.2 Meetings & Petition
Plan carefully for your first meeting. Allow enough preparation time. Make it a social event to explore the possibilities of forming a chapter. A restaurant in a safe area with parking and a meeting room is a good start. Get a cost for dinner and add a small amount to cover the mailing expenses.
Invitations should be sent out well a head of the meeting. Copy your Regional Vice President and the National Office. Make personal phone calls with follow up calls. On the second call, tell them what is planned for the meeting. BMW CCA can supply a representative to attend and answer questions that might arise. They will also supply membership applications.
After socializing at the first event, hold a brief meeting. The purposes and advantages of the BMW CCA chapter and National membership should be explained and discussed. Is the chapter wanted and needed? Do enough people want and/or need it? Who will work and for what will they volunteer? Is there any previous club experience or specialized talents like lawyer, artist, writer, and technical expertise to offer?
If there is interest and enthusiasm, try to get a commitment. Get a slate of pro tem officers nominated and elected and get the petition for a charter circulated. See Exhibit 1 at the end of this section for the petition and a line by line description of the information needed. Make sure everyone is currently a BMW CCA member or has fill out and paid on a new membership application. Get the new membership application in to the National Office as soon as possible so the membership benefits will get started within delay. Discuss a chapter name, logo, nickname and the geographic boundaries. Have the newly elected Secretary take copious notes for the entire time.
For the second meeting, again allow enough preparation time. This meeting could be a low-key event, picnic etc. If you still need information for the petition for charter now is the time to get this done. Assign to the secretary the responsibility of compiling all the requirements for charter for review by the chapter Board of Directors. Then forward the petition to your Regional Vice President. It also benefits your chapter to forward the notes of both preliminary meetings to your Regional Vice President.
Continuity of meetings will influence people to come back. Do not be discouraged if initial attendance is low. Some members will be skeptical and wait to see if you sink or swim. It takes perseverance. Remember that your Regional Vice President is there to help you.
Your Regional Vice President will take the charter petition to the National Board of Directors. Meetings are held approximately once a quarter, so please understand that acceptance of the petition will not be immediate.
Once a new chapter is granted a charter, a mailing to their members and National Office is required in the first 45 days and two more in the next 90 days.
Some chapter areas are large. If the membership growth has been good, areas within a large chapter might want to form a more local chapter. Hopefully the splitting or dividing of a big chapter can be handled at the chapter level. There is a procedure set up if help is needed. See Section III, 3 Chapter Reallocation Process.