Community meetings can be more fun and engaging than online ones!

People volunteer because they are seeking to connect with individuals who have the same passion for contributing to something bigger than themselves.

By holding in-person meetings we give volunteers the connectedness they are seeking to stay engaged. We should always remember that AFS is in the business of building relationships. This is true not only for students and host families but for all AFS Volunteers.

Why run in-person meetings?

Different Formats

Lectures, panel presentations, hands-on workshops, inspirational keynotes.. You can pick a session in whatever style suits your learning needs! The in-between moments of an in-person event are also great moments for informal learning.

Less Distractions

Even though almost everything is on demand these days, carving out time at your office to watch an hour presentation is difficult.  You are more likely to stay focused on what you want to learn when you participate in an in-person meeting.

Energy and Excitement

It’s comforting to know that you aren’t the only one facing a particular challenge! The energy created when everyone is together, sharing successes, goals, obstacles, increases the engagement we seek in our volunteers.

Strengthen Relationships

When you spend time connecting with others, you have the opportunity to gain from their knowledge and share your own. Working as a team often leads to discoveries that a single person alone might not ever find.

Some things to keep in mind while organizing chapter meetings:

It can be a simple google doc, shared with all members of the team. As a google doc, it is searchable and available to all team members in real time.  It should be sent together with the invitation to the meeting, with proper time to ensure better and informed participation to all members, inviting them to add additional topics if needed.

Topics that should be addressed in every meeting:

Make sure you assign a facilitator and time keeper to keep things on track

Welcome of new members

Whenever is possible assign a mentor to guide the new volunteer and help them integrate with the group.

Personal highlights and challenges

Everyone shares their accomplishments and challenges or any obstacle they’ve experience.

Chapter working plan

Review sending numbers, hosting campaigns, number of active volunteers, schools, monthly contacts, finances and plan accordingly.

National updates

Share training calendars and updates from the Board/National Office.


Space to recognize the team’s accomplishments and its volunteers.

Next steps

Analyze the next steps and overall timeline of projects, and finish by evaluating the meeting.


Do you have a Chapter meeting template? If not, check this one we have prepared for you!

You can use this template to create your own agenda. It has all the topics we have mentioned before in a structured way with some examples of activities that can be done.

Discover more resources:

  1. Volunteer Recruitment

  2. Opening New Units

  3. The Volunteer Journey