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Acts as liaison between the local chapters and the ABA governing body to provide information, assist with programs, and encourage interest and growth. Writes a column for each Bell Tower issue incorporating chapter meeting minutes, photos, and announcements.


  1. Have time and interest in assisting chapters with program and meeting ideas.
  2. Have time to send Regional Coordinator letters periodically. The coordinator should communicate with the chapters every two months prior to the BT submission due dates reminding them to send minutes and announcements.
  3. Have special interest in encouraging and enthusing chapters to expand membership and become involved in ABA.


  1. Act as liaison between national ABA and chapters, passing along problems, questions, solutions, and answers.
  2. Ask Chapter Chairs to send the ABA Membership Chair the names of deceased ABA members, including the name and address of next of kin.
  3. Review minutes of chapter and regional meetings.
  4. Prepare and submit Bell Tower Regional Coordinator's reports to the Editor by the 1st of February, April, June, August, October, and December. Update list of chapter leaders in Bell Tower using information from meeting minutes.  Send copies of this list to the President, The Bell Tower Editor, Membership Chair and Website Coordinator.
  5. Inform President of anything learned from correspondence with chapters of which President should be aware.
  6. Contact chapter reporting individuals (those who send minutes) with report form if they wish to use it.
  7. Encourage formation of chapters and send out membership cards or pamphlets when appropriate.
  8. Conduct meeting of chapter representatives at the convention. Include exchange of ideas for meetings, clearing the air on any problems, and addressing any other concerns of the representatives from the chapters, study clubs, and regional groups.
  9. Assist members interested in organizing a group, chapter, or study club with instructions and suggestions.


Attachments to be possibly used:
Bell Tower Meeting Report Sheet
Guidelines and Procedures for Organizing Chapters, Regional Groups and Study Clubs

All ABA Position Instructions (officers, appointments, coordinators and committee chairs):
Review your Job Description and send any updates or note of ‘no changes’ to the Job Description Coordinator towards the end of your annual term.
Remit to Treasurer all expenses, with receipts by the end of fiscal year, March 31st.  Committees, whose budgets are large, remit expenses with receipts for payment periodically.
Prepare an annual report for your position and email/mail the report to the Secretary no later than one month before convention.
If a Discussion Form is sent to you by the Secretary, complete and return by email no later than one month before convention.

Important information for name and logo copyrights:
In any print communications there must be the use of the trademarks for the name and logo for ABA.
The first time the organization’s name appears it must be capitalized with the registered trademark following.  THE AMERICAN BELL ASSOCIATION®. 
For the registered trademark: ctrl+alt+r will work on most keyboards.  ®
The name of The Bell Towersm must have a superscript sm after it. 
The sm superscript can be made by clicking the superscript icon in your word processing program sm.
The logo must be the official logo of ABA with the registered trademark.





Name of Group___________________________________________________

Date and Location of Meeting _______________________________________

Number Attending: Members____________ Guests______

Names of people who hosted: ________________________________________
Served a meal or dessert: ______________________________________
Presented a program: _________________________________________
Program description (please include topics covered, use of slides etc.)





Noteworthy attendees (May be national ABA officers, or a member who is back after a long illness etc.)



Description of bells shared:




Announcement of next meeting (include date, time, and place)


Anything else that should be covered in The Bell Tower from your meeting (use back if necessary) _____________________

For information only


The OBJECTIVE of these Guidelines is to provide encouragement and assistance to those persons interested in forming a new group of bell collectors.

The topics and suggestions discussed are intended primarily for the "beginning group", but such topics and suggestions can also serve as a "refresher course" to those bell groups already organized and well established.


LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING . . . Have you ever had these thoughts?
   "I am interested in bells."
      "I would like to meet other people interested in bells."
         "I do belong to ABA and enjoy receiving The Bell Tower."
            "There is no ABA Chapter near my town - - how can I start a bell group?
             Are there a lot of regulations?"

An easy answer is available by looking in The Bell Tower and locating the name of the Regional Coordinator, or by writing for the name of the Regional Coordinator through The Bell Tower or any already organized bell group of ABA. The formation and organization of a Regional Group, Chapter, or Study Club of our association can be exciting and beneficial to all those concerned. The procedure of formation is not difficult, but certain organizational steps are required. These steps are listed and discussed in this Guideline. New groups cannot just "spring forth".
Our organization is noted for its fellowship and helpfulness to one another. Being apart of a newly formed bell group stimulates these qualities. As we grow, we want to maintain the friendly spirit for which ABA has been justly proud.

A. Regional Groups, Chapters, and Study Clubs are self-governing (such as to establish their own meeting time and place, name of chapter, dues amount, or no dues at all, program format, number of chapter members, and how often to meet), but chapters must abide by the Bylaws and Standing Rules of ABA to be a part of ABA.
B. Chapters should at all times be sure that their Chapter Rules do not conflict with the national Bylaws and Standing Rules. If the national Bylaws and Standing Rules change, then the Chapter Rules should change accordingly, if they are in conflict.
C. At least one officer of a chapter should be a member of ABA.
D. The official ABA logo cannot be used without the written permission of the ABA Executive Board.
E. Note:  No member or group of the ABA can commit the Corporation to any policy, project, or purpose, without the written approval of the Executive Board.
F. A minimum of 10 people is desired for official recognition as an ABA bell group. A mini-group of less than 10 may be organized under this same procedure listed in the Guidelines.
G. Strive to encourage younger generation of bell collectors to become active in ABA and chapter activities.
H. Chapters should be alert, and should discourage any professional sellers or dealers who might seek chapter membership in order to secure the chapter mailing list of ABA Directory names. It should be noted that our ABA Directory is for private use only and not for any commercial purposes.


Survey the possibilities for membership in your geographic area. Get the names of other ABA members living nearby from the ABA Directory, and who are not listed as members of another chapter, (there is no restriction though for people already in one chapter to express interest in helping to form a new ABA chapter) There well could be bell collectors who are not yet ABA members, but who would be interested in helping to organize a bell group. Put out publicity sheets in church bulletin areas, hobby groups, antique shops, and by word-of-mouth among friends and business associates.

When a list of names has been made, send out invitations to attend an organizational meeting. (Those people living in your same town could be contacted by phone - - - the personal touch is always appreciated.) These letters should be sent out at least six weeks before the actual meeting date. (Eight weeks is not too far ahead to let people know.) If possible, send out a reminder note one week before the actual meeting.
Points to Cover in the Invitational Letter
A. Introductory greeting and purpose of letter.
B. State day/date of meeting (should not conflict or be near a holiday).
C. Clearly list the address where the meeting is to be held. If it is a public place, list the name of the establishment.
D. A map of the meeting location is always a welcomed aid - - also list in writing the directions to the meeting place.
E. List your full name, address, town, and telephone number.                       —
F. Include in your invitational letter envelope, a self-addressed response card, or put a tear-off sheet at the bottom of your letter for the person to send back to you.

Example of bottom tear-off sheet

I am interested in organizing a bell collectors group.        Yes __ No __

I can attend the meeting on (give complete information here) Yes _ No _

I have other interested friends. Please advise them of the meeting.
Name__________________________   Name _____________________________
Address ________________________   Address___________________________
City ___________________________   City ______________________________
State and Zip ___________________     State and Zip ______________________
Phone number___________________    Phone number_____________________

(In the actual letter, you would leave more space between the lines for easy writing. Single space was used here for illustration.)
I cannot attend this coming meeting, but would like to be kept informed as to future meetings and plans.    Yes ____   No ____

Signed _____________________________________________
Address ____________________________________________
City, State, Zip _______________________________________
Telephone Number _____________________

Sample of information sheet to include with the invitational letter
Would you please complete this information sheet and include it with your tear-off sheet, sending it to me:

(List here your name, address, city, state, zip)

Your suggestions will be helpful as our new group makes plans for future meetings and activities relating to our common interest in bells.
Your name ________________________________________________
Address ___________________________________________________
City, State, Zip _____________________________________________
Telephone number __________________________________________

How long have you been an ABA member?
(If you are not now a member of ABA, hopefully you will be joining this very worthwhile organization soon.)
What are your favorite types of bells?
What are your special bell interests? Please check.
     Collecting _____________          Playing bells ___________
     Restoring _____________             Researching__________
     Giving bell talks __________       Selling _______________
     Making bells ____________         Other ______________
     Bell rubbing ____________

Do you have special ideas for programs?

Do you have a preference as to meeting time, place, and day?
Any personal comments here would be noted and appreciated.

Since you sent out the invitational letter and information sheet, it is you who should act as the meeting host. Make a special effort to introduce yourself to people as soon as they arrive. Be sure that all guests are welcomed.

Name tags are a great help. These need not be elaborate or decorative. Encourage all in attendance to mingle and become acquainted. After an appropriate social time, you should lead the business portion of the gathering - - this can be informal and yet         should cover the points discussed in topical detail here in these Guidelines.

Be sure to plan a second follow-up meeting of the bell collectors. Minutes of the organizational meeting and information relating to the scheduled second meeting should be mailed to all attending the first meeting, plus those who could not come, but who asked to be kept informed as to future meetings.


A. Information regarding procedures in starting a new Regional Group, Chapter, or Study Club is in these Guidelines.
B.  The Coordinator is willing to help. Keep the Coordinator informed. Do not hesitate to ask questions.
C. A copy of these Guidelines will be sent to interested persons considering starting a new bell group.
D. The Regional Groups and Chapters Coordinator shall assist and encourage any members in the formation of a Regional Group, Chapter, or Study Club and encourage their representation at the annual convention. He/she shall help to establish some basic rules, instruct officers, suggest a format for meetings, programs, dues, etc.

A. The specific word title of any established organized group is to be agreed upon by that membership, with such title containing the geographic location of that group as part of the title, (This is to avoid possible duplication of chapter titles, and to allow for easy location reference by other bell groups, national ABA officers, and ABA members.
B. Possible variation of word choices in the title structure:
               Chapter                  Study Club                       Group
               Club                    Study Group
C. It should be kept in mind that our organization is primarily composed of bell collectors rather than being directly associated with hand bell ringers or carillonneurs (although those are also welcome).
 (For all meetings, not just the organizational meeting)
A. Choices to consider:
              private homes        church                city recreation center
              restaurant            local library            mobile park recreation room
              hotel facilities        college campus        retirement home auditorium
B. Private homes afford an opportunity to see members bell collections and to enjoy undisturbed socialization and intimacy, but this is possible only if the group is reasonably small. Most homes will not comfortably accommodate more than 30 people, if the meeting is to be inside the home proper. A larger number is possible if the group is to be outside, such as a picnic in a member's backyard.
C. Other possible meeting formats: gather at private home for a social period and then travel to nearby public meeting place for business meeting, meal, and program, or, have the entire gathering at a public place.
D. Some public places charge for the use of their facilities. This cost should be agreeable to the membership and the manner of payment decided on ahead of time - - -whether it be covered by the chapter treasury, a volunteer contributor, or an added-on cost to each person's meal.
E. Wherever the group meets, it is most important that carefully thought-out and well organized plans be made well prior to the actual meeting. An individual or a committee should have this responsibility, and then all plans should be re-checked on just before the actual meeting date to make certain that all details are still in a "go" situation. Nothing can spoil a gathering faster than the mechanics of a meeting schedule breaking down.
VI. MEETING SCHEDULE (Day and Time of Year)
A. Most chapters choose to meet either on a Saturday or a Sunday. This seems to be the most convenient time for traveling to chapter meetings and most convenient for weekday working members.
B. Some chapters find meeting on both Saturdays and Sundays work well, such as having four meetings a year - two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. Other groups find this to be confusing, and elect to hold all meetings on either a Saturday or a Sunday. Chapter members should choose a pattern that is most convenient for their own needs.
C. Several chapters are currently meeting during the week, and they find this to be successful.
D. The most common arrival time is mid-morning to accommodate any members or visitors who may have to come from some distance away. Chapter gatherings are usually over by 3 - 5 P.M.
E. Some gatherings are usually for just the one day, but some groups enjoy and plan a two day program.  Such two day or weekend gatherings are not to be called mini-conventions, but rather weekend conference, weekend gathering, or regional meeting. Some activities to consider including:
bell related talks          
visitations to bell related areas         
business meeting         
bell sales       
display of bells
F. There is nothing to say that a chapter cannot meet in the evening, if this best suits the wishes of the group.
G. The number of meetings per year varies, with an average of three times yearly.Some meet only in the spring and fall. Some meet four times a year in a pattern such as February, May, August, and November. One chapter currently meets monthly, summer picnic type gatherings have become very popular and can include whole family units of actual chapter members, plus parents, grandparents, children, and other relatives.
H. Try to set your meetings one year in advance and keep to the same schedule each year.
 I.  Within a week following your meeting, send typewritten copies of the minutes to:
                                 Regional Coordinator
                                 Editor of The Bell Tower

A. At the chapter's organizational meeting, it is advisable to select a Chair, pro-tem. Thereafter, just as soon as possible, officers should be selected and voted upon:
         Chair or President (must be preceded by Chapter name)
         Vice Chair or President (must be preceded by Chapter name)
         Secretary (Some chapters elect both a Recording and Corresponding Secretary)
B. An important point to remember: At least one officer of any Regional Group, Chapter, or Study Club shall be a member of ABA, if that group, chapter, or club is to be a part of the ABA and be listed in The Bell Tower. The presiding officer of a chapter may use either the title Chair or President, as long as it is preceded by the Chapter name.
C. It is highly recommended and hoped that chapter officers be elected in the spring of the year to coincide with the election of the national officers of ABA at its annual convention. The Bell Tower Editor, President, and Regional Coordinator have appreciated those chapters who have adjusted their own bylaws to meet this spring-time election of officers.                                      
D. Most chapters find that a two year term of office for the elected officers makes for an easier operational pattern. Whatever decision the group makes, this decision should be clearly specified in the Chapter Rules.
E The Chapter Chairman selects committee personnel from the general membership. Possible appointees:
             Historian               Nominating      Photographer
             Program               Auditor          Scrapbook
These appointees may be for either a one or two year period. As the chapter grows it may seem beneficial to add committee persons to the original list, but when a chapter is young and small, it is best not to become "top heavy" with committee appointees. Your set-up of officers can be simple and yet be effective. Work and plan together as a team
F. if desirous or necessary, a chapter member can serve on more than one committee at the same time. The ideal set-up though, is to distribute chapter responsibilities to as many different members as possible.

A. The business portion of all meetings should be carefully planned ahead of time kept to a minimum of time, and yet cover all topics listed on the meeting agenda and not over-shadow the major objectives of group fellowship with one another and of increasing our knowledge and appreciation of bells.
B. Our groups should remember that the object of the ABA is to encourage its members in the collection, preservation, restoration, study, and research of bells.
C. Start business Meeting on time, and unless a necessary, unplanned-on discussion arises during the meeting, end the meeting on time
IX. PROGRAM (An important part of chapter meeting)
A. Encourage chapter members to research bells, prepare a program, and share their knowledge with other chapter members. There is a great wealth and variety of topics to pursue. Every member can contribute something positive to a bell program.  As bell collectors, we should be interested in all phases of bells and be willing to exchange bell knowledge. Strive for bell programs with "substance and meat".
B. Outside professional speakers can be an asset, but no commercialism/advertising should be presented by such speakers.
C. The Regional Coordinator can give new chapters program topic ideas. Another source for program ideas can be obtained in The Bell Tower's reports on regional meetings.
D. Show and Tell programs involve all members. (Designate type of bell to "Show and


X. CHAPTER YEARBOOK (An asset after the chapter gets organized)
A. A prepared yearbook is most helpful. Possible listings:
      Name of group and year organized
      Chapter goals
      Officers and committees
      Past Chairmen with dates serving chapter
      Memorial page
      Membership list: address and phone number; some chapters also include birthday, anniversary, and date Joined chapter
      Charter member list
      Meeting schedule: place, time, program
      Future ABA convention information (three years hence)
B. Variety of printing means: professional printing company, standard copying machine by chapter committee, school or church office, chapter member with private printing machine                                                             
C. Variety of payment means: budgeted in chapter treasury, "pass the hat" at chapter meeting, member contributors), company donation to chapter.


A. Dues are payable annually in advance and are collected by the chapter Treasurer. The amount due and date payable is determined each year by the membership or by the as set forth in the Chapter Rules.
B. Every effort should be made to keep the dues amount low. Some chapters have yearly dues of $1.00. Some between $1.00 and $S.OO. Some have two different amounts: one for a single membership and one for additional members living at the same address (such as husband/wife, mother/daughter, and brother/sister combination).
C. The Treasurer should be responsible for keeping the payment of dues current and notify members who are in arrears. Receipts should be given upon payment of dues. Some chapters use a printed dues card.
D. Dues are not compulsory if a chapter decides on another means of collecting funds to cover chapter expenses.
E. Common chapter expenses are: printing, postage, paper, cards, business telephone calls, and any chapter voted-on donation/memorials, chapter hostess expenses such as coffee, tea, condiments, supplies, and public meeting location expenses.

A. As soon as possible after the group has formed, a committee should be appointed to write Rules. Keep them simple, and yet take particular care to include all points the membership wants to include and follow.
B. Have the rules read at a chapter meeting. Allow the members time to evaluate and discuss the points. Give each member a copy of the Rules or include in a yearbook.
C. Remember: Chapters should at all times be sure that their Chapter Rules do not conflict with the national Bylaws and Standing Rules. If the national Bylaws and Standing Rules change, then the Chapter Rules should change accordingly, if they are in conflict.
D. Keep extra copies on hand. Update the writing whenever necessary, following the correct time and procedural requirements.
E. The chapter Rules should be clear-cut, up-to-date working tools, and not just sheets of paper containing words of little value.
A. Candidly, some chapters are "big eaters" and some are "dainty consumers". If a chapter gathers in the morning, most serve variations of:
            coffee             juice             cookies           tea          rolls
            breakfast type breads
This is prepared by the hostess, and served by the hostess and possibly a helping committee as chapter members arrive.
B. Noon time meal choices:
-Sack lunch brought by each member (drink is usually furnished by the hostess)
-Luncheon prepared and served by hostess
-Catered meal brought into the home by professional company
-Pot-luck dishes brought by members (some groups enjoy this, and others say it's too much work. One big consideration here is if the host home has adequate refrigerator, heating, and serving facilities. A reliable clean-up committee is also necessary.)
-A pre-paid, pre-ordered meal served in a private room at a hotel, church or restaurant. This set-up is usually more costly per member but some chapters say it can be the most practical and easy way for all concerned.
C. Some groups serve a "departure snack" such as juice, tea, coffee, cookies, candy, and nuts.
D. If the membership of the group all live in a relatively close geographical location and weather-wise it is a good time of the year, some groups top off an all-day gathering by eating dinner together, "Dutch treat", at a local restaurant.

It is hoped that the information given here in these Guidelines will enable new American Bell Association Chapters to be formulated with enjoyment and ease. The Regional Coordinator is ready to help in all ways. Keep the Coordinator informed of your chapter progress and activities. Above all, remember that our organizational gatherings are meant to encourage friendship, sharing, and growth in bell knowledge.