September 10, 2014

Promoting and Holding Your First Chapter Meeting


It’s that time of the year again! A new school year, and a new year of DECA! It’s time to recruit new members and to pump up the new DECA year with excited returnees. If you’re a new chapter, a new advisor, or simply want some advice on how to host a successful and effective chapter meeting, follow these basic principles for your first DECA chapter meeting.
What should you cover at your meeting? It’s extremely important for your chapter officers to first sit down and come up with a list of vital information to address. The nature of the first meeting is generally to inform and persuade, so the content should be focused around that purpose.

  1. Make the members feel welcome and introduce the chapter officer team.
  2. Explain what DECA is. This year, it is particularly easy to be convincing by adding a second dimension to the definition: have the officer team or president(s) share their I AM DECA story. Personal anecdotes are very useful in persuading skeptical prospective members.
  3. Use California DECA’s promotional video ( or DECA’s I AM DECA promotional video ( to illustrate the experience to the audience and to supplement your I AM DECA stories.
  4. Explain what conferences are and the opportunities they provide (i.e. competitions, workshops, networking, etc.), and highlight the exciting aspects of where we go, including the amusement opportunities at state conferences (for example, at Great America this year) and at the international level.
  5. Make sure to tell the members the social aspects of DECA and the character growth and development that one experiences as a DECA member. What has DECA helped you achieve?
  6. Invite attendees to any upcoming events, such as guest speakers, training sessions, or your next chapter meeting.

Now that you have your meeting all planned out, you should also consider how to promote it. How should you tell the school about DECA? After all, the meeting would not be effective if few people show up.

  1. Make events on social media. Social media is fundamental for promotions. Be creative, and have your officers promote DECA on their own social media as well.
  2. Put up posters around the school (if your school’s administration allows clubs to do so) announcing the meeting.
  3. Offer incentives, such as raffle prizes or perhaps food, to draw people to the meeting.
  4. Pass out DECA membership pins to returning members during an appropriate class period, to raise awareness for new students. While you are there, ask the teacher if you can take a couple minutes to announce what DECA is and invite everyone to the meeting.

Be innovative and constructive in what you plan and execute for the first meeting. Be unique among the clubs on your campus. After all, we are emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, and we possess that ability to stand out from the rest.
Your DECA experience can only be defined by yourself, so take advantage of it and also share this experience with others. Follow these principles above for holding and promoting your first chapter meeting, and you will be on track for a successful year. Good luck!

About California DECA
California DECA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Career and Technical Student Organization, endorsed by the California Department of Education. With over 4,500 members in 59 schools throughout California, California DECA works to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. For more information about California DECA, visit


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California DECA