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Forming an NFSA Chapter
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The process of forming a new Chapter requires organization and teamwork. Below are the steps to follow once you have decided to start a new Chapter.

Initial Decisions

Once you have decided to start a new Chapter, there are some recommended decisions that your group should make in order to proceed with Chapter formation. If there are many individuals interested in starting a new Chapter, you may want to form an informal "organizing committee" that will be in charge of making these decisions and taking care of the initial Chapter arrangements. This committee should dissolve once the Chapter is approved by the NFSA Board of Directors, in lieu of a Chapter board of directors.

Goals and Objectives
Make a list of items you would like to accomplish as an NFSA Chapter. These items may include such ideas as supporting local fire sprinkler legislation, providing local training events, etc. Please refer to the Chapter 8 for guidance on the actions that may be undertaken as a Chapter.

Potential Membership List ‐ Think about who you would like to be involved in your Chapter. Chapters have the same categories of and criteria for membership as the NFSA. Chapter members should also be members of NFSA, except that, as discussed below under "Start Up Period," in the first two years after a Chapter charter is granted, an NFSA Chapter may include both NFSA and non‐NFSA members.

Legal Structure
Chapter leaders have a lot of flexibility to determine the structure of their Chapters. Chapter leaders can decide whether or not to separately incorporate, whether to obtain a tax exempt status through a group exemption or on their own, and whether they would like to purchase their own insurance policies or be covered by some NFSA insurance policies. Please refer to Chapter 8 for more information about these options. The NFSA staff attorneys are happy to help Chapters should they have legal questions relating to the formation of their Chapters.

Funding Sources‐ Think about how you will fund Chapter activities. As detailed in Chapter 9, most Chapters raise money through Chapter dues, training events, or other fundraising campaigns. Please refer to the section in Chapter 8 titled "Working within the 501(c)(6) Exemption," for guidelines on funding sources.

Petition the NFSA Board of Directors

Once you and your group have thought about some of the logistics of starting a new Chapter, you may petition the NFSA Board of Directors for recognition as a Chapter. A petition to the Board of Directors shall include the following:

  • Proposed Chapter name.
  • Proposed Chapter territory.
  • Agreement to adopt the applicable version of the standardized Chapter bylaws and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), provided by NFSA, which best conform to the Chapter’s proposed structure.
  • Affirmation that any Chapter policies or governing documents shall be in compliance with all NFSA policies, bylaws, and code of ethics.

In addition, Chapters should attach to their petition form a copy of the MOU and bylaws that they have adopted or intend to adopt.

A copy of the petition form is available in Appendix XI. Model MOUs and model Chapter bylaws are located in Appendices I and III. Chapter bylaws and MOUs should be consistent with these models.

Once the NFSA Board of Directors grants a charter to the Chapter, Chapter operations can begin. The first order of business should be to elect directors and officers, as per the Chapter bylaws. See below for guidance on chapter governance during the chapter "start‐up period."

Up Period"

The Chapter "start‐up period" is two years from the date that the chapter’s charter is granted. During this time, per approval of the Board of Directors, the NFSA "start up" Chapter may be organized with both NFSA and non‐NFSA members. The Chapters may be supported by the NFSA Regional Manager and staff and can be supported by Chapter dues from both NFSA and non‐NFSA members. Planning and conducting the Chapter will be in accordance with the NFSA Chapter Handbook.

During the two year period, the "startup" Chapter members and their companies in good standing are eligible to receive partial benefits. Chapter members who are already members in good standing of NFSA will continue to have access to all the membership benefits of NFSA. Chapter members who are not current members of NFSA may request access to approved "start up" benefits from their local Regional Manager. Such benefits may include:

Limited access to Expert of the Day (EOD) service
- NFSA newsletters and publications
Discounts on training

Please contact your Regional Manager with any questions about the "startup period."


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