1.1 Overview

Goals – Stage 1

Initial Phase of Establishing an ACAP ChapterStage #1

The primary goals of this phase are to confirm the intent to establish a chapter and begin putting in place details to do so. Key activities include:

  1. Identify the Leadership Team
  2. Secure the $5,000 Chapter Establishment Fee
  3. Begin creating awareness of the chapter
  4. Begin collecting names and email addresses for three audiences’ emails

The Chapter Coordinator is the key person in this phase. 

ACAP Overview

ACAP Mission: To provide information, resources, support and community for adult-children as they care for their aging parents and for themselves

What is ACAPcommunity?

  • ACAPcommunity, Adult Children of Aging Parents, is a nationally unique 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. 
  • At its core, ACAP is an educational program that affirms the joys of caring for aging parents while recognizing and providing strategies to address the unique challenges and impact of doing so. In addition, ACAP helps participants prepare for their own years as an older adult.

What are ACAP Chapters?

  • ACAP chapters are the “vehicles” through which the cost-free, in-person and virtual, monthly programs and annual conferences are offered. 
  • Chapters are community-based and led by a Leadership Team of local professionals representing a wide range of businesses and organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers. 
  • Through the educational programs, caregivers acquire meaningful tools and support so they may become effective caregivers and advocates for their aging parents while also learning strategies for taking care of themselves and preparing for their own aging.
  • In addition, program sponsorships offer opportunities for attendees to learn about area resources and for the businesses, agencies, and organizations to connect with those they serve. 

Currently, there are nine local ACAP chapters: 

  1. ACAP Hickory/Foothills (formerly, ACAP Hickory, NC) began as a community-based program in 2012
  2. ACAP Centre County (PA) started in 2015
  3. ACAP Winston-Salem (NC) launched in 2018
  4. ACAP Guilford County (NC) began in 2020
  5. ACAP Cape Fear (Wilmington, NC) began in September 2022
  6. ACAP Atlanta (GA) launched in February 2023
  7. ACAP Hall County (GA) started in September 2023
  8. ACAP Bergen County (NJ) began in September 2023
  9. ACAP Cobb & Cherokee (GA) began in February 2024

Chapters have the option of offering their programs exclusively in person, exclusively virtual, or hybrid (in-person and virtual, simultaneously). 

ACAP Educational Programs and Curriculum©

  • At its core, ACAP is an educational program. ACAP’s curriculum, the framework for all ACAP programs, presents programs that address the range of core issues typically experienced in caring for aging loved ones.
  • The curriculum is based on a review of current literature and research, and terminal-degree gerontology academicians and practitioners assist in the curriculum development.  In addition, family caregivers provide input, ensuring ACAP programs are meaningful and provide evidence-informed presentations. 
  • Rather than being disease- or condition-specific, the ACAP curriculum addresses the wide range of issues caregivers report as most needed relative to education and training.   
  • Program presenters and sponsors represent local businesses, agencies, and organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers, and local businesses, agencies, and organizations ensure attendees may become familiar with area resources. 
  • Created after an extensive search of published literature and online resources, the curriculum was nationally validated by adult-child caregivers and professionals and confirmed by a national Advisory Council of content experts in 2013, copyrighted in 2018, and updated in 2023.
  • ACAP’s educational offerings include:
    1. Monthly educational programs
      Chapters provide one program per month
    2. Online videos
      Monthly programs are recorded and uploaded to ACAPcommunity’s YouTube channel and website
    3. Audio podcasts
      Podcasts are recorded each month by ACAPcommunity and expert interviewees, then distributed through ACAP website, iTunes, and The Mesh
    4. Annual conferences
      Chapters are encouraged to offer a one-day conference, beginning with the chapter’s 3rd-5th year anniversary
    5. Annual virtual symposium
      ACAPcommunity and chapters collaborate to offer an annual national/international, virtual symposium

Who Leads ACAP Chapters?

Chapters are led by a volunteer Leadership Team comprised of area aging-services professionals who serve in the roles of:

  1. Chapter Coordinators
  2. Chapter Finance Team
  3. Marketing Liaison Team
  4. Programming Team
  5. Sponsorship Team
  6. Technology Team
  7. Venue/Hospitality Team

In order to minimize time demands, chapters are recommended to engage two (2) persons per role on the Leadership Team.

Expectations of ACAP chapters

  • Exhibit high integrity regarding all chapter-related activities, ensure scrupulous stewardship of financial resources and other entrustments, and demonstrate welcoming, inclusivity, and respect for all participants and stakeholders
  • Offer one evidence-informed educational program per month at no cost for participants
  • Use the ACAP Curriculum as the framework for programs
  • Engage a volunteer Leadership Team of at least 7 professionals (14 are recommended), all representing a wide range of local businesses, agencies, and organizations to make all decisions about the chapter and its programs (within ACAPcommunity guidelines)
  • Engage local content experts who are willing to donate their time as speakers, ensuring representatives from 12 different organizations each year
  • Utilize a multi-tiered system of sponsorships to provide needed funding for the chapter
  • Engage 1-3 local senior-services businesses, agencies, and organizations as sponsors for each program, inviting them to provide a staffed display table at the program
  • Offer refreshments at each program
  • Offer the programs in a venue that is central and convenient in the chapter footprint; regarded in the community as safe, neutral and welcoming of all (no country club, senior residential setting, etc.); accessible for those with physical limitations; and with adequate adjacent parking and good exterior lighting
  • Keep ACAP intellectual property confidential
  • Use names and contact information of attendees only within the bounds of official ACAP activities and confidential among the current Leadership Team
  • Leadership Team members wear their ACAP name badge at each program and participants are encouraged to wear a chapter-offered name tag to further support and community
  • Share equally in the cost of digital marketing
  • Engage in fundraising activities only within the chapter’s geographic footprint
  • Provide a schedule of upcoming programs, preferably set for an entire calendar year
  • Provide all needed information about programs via digital marketing designated methods
  • During Years #3-5 as an ACAP chapter, consider offering a one-day conference to engage additional, local caregivers
  • Participate in monthly Leadership Team and Chapter Coordinator meetings, contribute efforts to strengthen the entire organization and, as requested, assist with other ACAP programs (ex: Board meetings, podcasts, symposia, etc.)
  • Ensure a Leadership Team succession plan that confirms continuation of and training for Leadership Team members, and thereby, future for the chapter

Chapter Fees

See “Expenses, Sponsorships, and Fundraising” for financial information.

ACAPcommunity’s Guiding Principles

See “ACAPcommunity’s Guiding Principles.”


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Method(s) Behind the Madness!

Do chapters need to incorporate or become a nonprofit?

No.  You don’t need to incorporate or become a 501(c)3. ACAP chapters operate under the ACAPcommunity 501(c)3 “umbrella.” Simply for banking purposes, we now secure an individual EIN and W9 for each chapter, but there is no need for you to do anything official beyond become an ACAP chapter.

What is the role of the Leadership Team?  

Chapter Leadership Teams make all decisions related to their chapter, within the guidelines of the ACAP model. 

Why do chapter Leadership Teams need so many people?

To be sure all tasks are accomplished related to beginning and maintaining your chapter as well as scheduling and offering programs, there are 7 roles within the Leadership Team.  In order that the time commitment is do-able for everyone, chapters are encouraged to engage at least 2 persons per role. To maximize ROI (time, expertise, financial support, etc.) for all involved, chapters are encouraged to identify representatives from 14 different local organizations and, as much as possible, from 14 different types of organizations. 

Why is the Leadership Team called a Leadership Team, not a Board?

With ACAP’s 501(c)3 status, we must make a very clear distinction between chapter Leadership Teams and a Board of Directors. Chapters are led by a Leadership Team and must be referred to as such. The only Board of Directors for ACAP is at the ACAPcommunity corporate level. While Leadership Team meetings may be run, using standard meeting systems and protocols, chapter Leadership Teams are distinctly different from the ACAP Board of Directors.

What commitments do Leadership Team members make?

  • Leadership Team members offer time and expertise to help lead their chapter and its programming. Typically, Leadership Team members spend 5-7 hours per month, including attending monthly programs and Leadership Team meetings.
  • Leadership Team members commit to keep confidential ACAP’s proprietary information/intellectual property and participant names/contact information, using the information only within the bounds of official ACAP activities and discussing it only within the current Leadership Team.

Why are Leadership Team members not allowed to share ACAP’s intellectual property with others outside the Leadership Team?

ACAP has spent 10+ years developing and honing the ACAP model and intellectual property. The affirmation from people across the US – including your own involvement – and the number of inquiries we receive from people who want to begin a chapter tells us that the ACAP program and materials are meaningful and valuable. 

We want to ensure that ACAP’s name, reputation, and program quality continue to be strong. The only way to ensure the continuation of high quality is to maintain confidentiality within the current “ACAP family” – your current Leadership Team and ACAP staff.

Why are chapters not allowed to share attendees’ names and contact information or use the information outside official ACAP activities?

Most of us have received unsolicited notifications. Most of us don’t like them! We want to make sure that ACAP is not the culprit through which our program attendees, speakers, sponsors, LT members, or anyone else involved with ACAP receives unsolicited materials, requests, etc. For that reason, we do not allow anyone (speakers, sponsors, participants, LT members, etc.) to capture, share, or use names and/or contact information outside official ACAP activities, and any sharing of photos must be accompanied by a photo release form. 

Is there a Chapter Agreement?

Yes, there is a Memorandum of Agreement for chapters. It is signed by the entire Leadership Team and returned to ACAPcommunity with the $5,000 Chapter Establishment Fee. Receiving the MOA and fee solidifies the community’s intent to establish a chapter and provides the “green light” for moving forward with the chapter.

What are the “bottom line” expectations for ACAP chapters?

While there is a great deal of opportunity for flexibility and individuality for each chapter, ACAP chapters are expected to:

  • Offer one educational program per month
  • Be led by a Leadership Team of local professionals and community leaders who have relevant expertise and affinity for providing support for informal (unpaid) caregivers of older adults
  • Use the ACAP curriculum as the framework for monthly programs, engaging local content experts as speakers and appropriate businesses, agencies, and organizations as sponsors
  • Share equally with other chapters and ACAPcommunity the cost for digital marketing
  • Demonstrate welcoming, inclusivity, and respect for all attendees/potential attendees and adhere to ACAPcommunity’s policy on DEI
  • Hold programs in venues that are recognized in the community as welcoming, inclusive, and respectful of all
  • Exhibit high integrity regarding all chapter-related activities and ensure scrupulous stewardship of financial resources and other entrustments
  • Hold monthly Leadership Team meetings
  • Adhere to the ACAP model
  • Participate in meetings and efforts to strengthen the entire organization

Does a chapter have exclusivity in its geographical area? 

Leadership Teams decide the footprint of their chapter. While yours may be the only chapter in a particular location, depending on the size of the community, there may be room (and need) for other chapters. In smaller communities, the adjacent chapter probably would be at least 30 minutes away. In larger areas there may be overlap of footprint, but chapters would be encouraged to offer programs on different days. 

Under what circumstances would a chapter be revoked? 

We want chapters to succeed, so ACAPcommunity provides tools and ongoing guidance to ensure success. However, if a chapter fails to adhere to the ACAP model, and guidance is ineffective, or if a chapter demonstrates actions that irreparably harm ACAP’s integrity or reputation, a chapter may be terminated without refund of paid funds.

What costs should our LT be prepared to pay each year?

After paying the initial $5,000 Chapter Establishment Fee, chapters need to be prepared for the following expenses:

  • Digital marketing fee – All chapters and ACAPcommunity share equally in the costs for emails, social media, and digital marketing specialists.
  • Chapter refreshments – Chapters may decide whether to ask sponsors to provide program refreshments or whether the chapter will arrange and pay for them. Refreshments typically range from $300-$1,200 per year, depending on the number of attendees and/or refreshments’ elaborateness.
  • Chapter supplies – Beyond your chapter start-up kit (included in the $5,000 Chapter Establishment Fee), your chapter may want to provide thank you gifts for speakers ($15 max), produce additional or updated rack cards, print various pieces of material, etc. Those costs can range from $0-$200 or more annually.
  • Chapter Annual Renewal Fee – To continue as an ACAP chapter, new chapters pay ACAPcommunity $3,000 each year during the anniversary month of your launch.

How does a chapter secure the needed funding?

Chapters gain revenue via 4 levels of sponsorship. While chapters may determine their sponsorship amounts, recommendations include:

  1. Core Sponsors – $1,000 per year with a 5-year commitment
  2. Chapter Sponsors – $2,500 one-time sponsorship with no future commitment
  3. Program Sponsors – Typically $100-$150 per sponsor per program, possibly plus refreshments
  4. Symposium Sponsorship – For symposia in 2020-2022, chapters were invited to secure Supporting Sponsorships at $500 each. Although the symposium is on hold for 2023, the program will be reinstituted in the coming years.
  5. One more detail:  Chapters are free to fundraise from local businesses, agencies, and organizations whose “footprint” is exclusively within your community. However, to avoid confusion or duplication, any grant writing for foundations (including community foundations); fundraising with businesses, agencies, or organizations that (also) operate beyond your local community; or solicitation of individuals must be authorized by ACAPcommunity prior to beginning the solicitation process.

Can sponsors receive tax benefit for their sponsorship fee?

If a sponsor receives recognition on publicity for a program or the chapter, the sponsorship is deemed marketing, and they cannot receive tax benefit. However, if an organization or individual makes a gift to the chapter and does not receive recognition on publicity, at the chapter program, etc., the contribution is considered an outright gift, and they may receive acknowledgment and use it for tax benefit.

Why do you say that ACAP is nationally unique?  How is ACAP different from other caregiver support groups in my area? 

  • Research continues to report that ACAP is the only organization in the US whose focus is on adult children of aging parents, even though ACAP programs and resources are open to all.
  • Education is the core of ACAP.
  • ACAP programs wholistically address common caregiver concerns – they are not disease-, condition-, age-, or gender-related.
  • Monthly programs are free.
  • Because so many caregivers don’t consider themselves as a caregiver, the term “caregiver” is not in our name.
  • Chapters are community-based and led by a dedicated group of volunteers.
  • ACAP is collaborative and presents a collective-impact model, engaging a variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations to provide support for families and the community.
  • Our nationally validated and copyrighted curriculum is designed by terminal-degree academicians and practitioners along with family caregivers.
  • Each month, attendees have the opportunity to become aware of helpful local resources via speakers and sponsors.

Who attends ACAP programs and/or accesses ACAP resources?

  • Adult children of aging parents
  • Other family members – spouses, siblings, parents, etc.
  • Friends/neighbors who care for or care about an older adult
  • Younger adults who are caring for a younger infirm parent or providing support for a parent who is caring for their parents (the younger adult’s grandparent)
  • Older adults who are interested in learning about topics and resources they may need
  • Senior services professionals who want to learn more to support their clients
  • Others who are interested in better supporting their employees, constituents, and/or others

As a Leadership Team member, presenter, or sponsor, what may my organization and/or I expect as a return on investment (ROI) of my/our time, expertise and, possibly, financial support?

  • Goodwill for providing meaningful support for caregivers and your community
  • Low-cost visibility and recognition for your organization
  • Opportunities to interact with attendees and others involved with the chapter, gaining:
    • New contacts
    • New referral opportunities
    • Possibility of new business
    • Streamlined staff time

Why do you say that ACAP is not a support group?

While ACAP programs certainly offer support and community for attendees, education is the core of ACAP. Support and community are important outgrowths of the educational program.

Why does it take so long to begin a chapter?

Everything you do during the 4-6 (or more) months you are preparing for your chapter’s launch is to ensure a solid foundation is established and your first program is as strong as possible. Your first program provides the base on which the future of your chapter rests. You want momentum to grow each month after your launch. Experience has shown that short-changing or rushing a chapter’s launch is detrimental to the chapter’s future. During the months you are preparing for your chapter’s launch, you are:

  • Creating community awareness of your chapter and upcoming programs
  • Putting together all the details for your chapter and your first 6 months of programs
  • Ensuring you have the right speakers and sponsors for initial programs
  • Making sure publicity is strong
  • Building cohesion among your Leadership Team

Why does ACAP offer monthly programs for free?

On average, caregivers spend approximately $5,000 out of pocket each year to care for a loved one. In addition, many caregivers’ jobs and careers are significantly affected, compromising income even further. Offering monthly programs at no cost is a way to ensure caregivers may have the support they need, and thanks to sponsors, chapters are able to continue to offer the monthly programs at no cost. 

Why is it important to have a program venue that is “neutral”?

ACAPers represent all demographics. Before participants attend a program, the name and location of your venue will be on all publicity, making a statement about the character of your chapter. Is the chapter sensitive to the diversity of all who care for aging loved ones, or are the programs only for those who may “look” like those in leadership? Is the venue in a location where everyone would feel safe and welcome, or is it seen in the community as being exclusive?

Venues must be open to all races/ethnicities, LGBTQ, faith expressions, educational attainment, economic standing, etc. Libraries, senior centers, and welcoming church/faith community fellowship halls have been used effectively by chapters as program venues. However, because they are seen as exclusive and/or would receive unfair marketing exposure, meeting rooms in country clubs, senior residential communities, and other similar locations are to be avoided for ACAP programs. 

Why are chapters encouraged to offer programs in multiple ways – in person, virtually, and/or videoed? 

When ACAPers attend ACAP programs in person, they are able to look across the room and know they are not alone. Isolation of caregiving lessens, and community builds. In addition, they are able to have direct contact with representatives from local businesses, agencies, and organizations, and those resource organizations have the opportunity to connect with those they serve. There is tremendous advantage for in-person attendance, including the ROI received by speakers, sponsors, and LT members.

However, the date and time of your programs will not be convenient for everyone. Some are in the throes of caregiving or family commitments at that time, some may be hesitant to be in group settings since they may be caring for a loved one who is vulnerable relative to airborne diseases, and some simply prefer the ease of online participation.   

Offering your programs in person and recording them (at least), will maximize the number of people who may receive the support your chapter offers. 

What information may be shared outside ACAP?

  1. ACAP website, mission, and vision statements may be shared with anyone.
  2. Program speakers may receive information (program name and outline) about the program he/she will be offering.
  3. Sponsors may receive information relative to his/her sponsored program.
    Note:  Sponsors may collect names and contact information of those who indicate desire for follow up. Sponsors may bring a method for capturing contact information during discussion at their display table. 

Why are local conferences so strongly recommended for chapters to offer each year?

Experience has shown that some people who don’t attend monthly programs will attend a one-day conference. Therefore, the conference is a great way for chapters to extend their reach, serve additional caregivers and professionals and, possibly, increase monthly program attendance (when the person sees the value of ACAP after attending the conference). 

Chapters are encouraged to offer a one-day conference beginning with the chapter’s 3rd-5th year, partnering with another senior-services organization in the community.

Every industry and organization has its own “language.”  What are uniquely ACAP terms?

  • ACAPcommunity – Spelled as one word with upper case “ACAP” and lowercase “community”
    • There are several other “ACAPs” that may be found online. To distinguish our ACAP (Adult Children of Aging Parents), we named the corporate “ACAPcommunity.”
  • ACAPer – One who attends ACAP programs or would be a potential attendee
    • Typically, ACAPers are people who are the caregiver, although the term may also apply to professionals who attend ACAP programs.
  • Board/Board of Directors – The group that has strategic planning and fiduciary responsibility for the entire ACAPcommunity organization.
    • Because of ACAP’s 501(c)3 nonprofit status, we must make a distinction between the ACAPcommunity Board of Directors and ACAP chapter Leadership Teams and refer to the different groups by their appropriate name. Doing otherwise may jeopardize ACAPcommunity’s 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
  • Leadership Team – The group that heads each local chapter
    • Please note:  Leadership Teams may not be referred to as Boards
  • Chapter launch – The first program presented by a new chapter
    • After a chapter launches, they will offer programs each month.

What does the Start-Up Kit include?

  • 2,000 chapter rack cards
  • 1 ACAP table covering with ACAP logo (8’ purple tablecloth and white overlay with logo)
  • 1 Banner and stand
  • 5 Outdoor signs on stands (18”x24”)
  • Inaugural Leadership Team permanent name badges
  • 500 printed initial 6-month program schedules
  • 500 participant nametags
  • 500 chapter-personalized pens
  • Leadership Team tumblers with ACAP logo

What are some of ACAP’s best practices, particularly related to chapters?

  1. The Leadership Team, which makes all decisions about the chapter, follows the ACAP model and is comprised of two or more dedicated, committed professionals per role, engaging a cadre of local professionals from a wide variety of businesses, agencies, and organizations, most of which serve older adults and their caregivers.
  2. New chapters spend 4-6 months (from Leadership Team training to chapter launch) to establish an ACAP chapter, building visibility and interest within the community, determining programs, and identifying appropriate speakers and sponsors, establishing chapter infrastructure, and developing cohesion as a Leadership Team.
  3. Leadership Team members commit to serve for 1-2 years minimum.
  4. At least five Core Sponsorships underwrite the chapter.
  5. Program Sponsors (2-3 per program) provide additional funding for the chapter, valuable resources for program attendees via staffed display tables and offer a 2-minute presentation to the group, providing resources for program attendees and opportunity for the organization to connect with those they serve.
  6. A pre-registration list is developed for each in-person program.
  7. Leadership Teams meet monthly to debrief the previous program and prepare for the upcoming ones, anticipate and address any issues or concerns, and strengthen cohesion among the Leadership Team members.
  8. Chapters offer one educational program per month from the ACAP curriculum, engaging speakers who are well-respected content experts and presenters.
  9. The program venue selection follows suggestions outlined in the Chapter Guide.
  10. Program participants learn relevant information via a slide deck, beginning 30-45 minutes before the program begins.
  11. All speakers use a microphone.
  12. All chapters distribute a hard-copy annual schedule of programs to attendees.
  13. Leadership Teams continually update monthly program information to ensure the most current information is included in program publicity.
  14. For initial programs, the chapter Leadership Team serves as Greeters for each program, engaging one Greeter per 7-10 pre-registered attendees. By Program #7 or later, frequent attendees may begin serving as Greeters.
  15. To ensure adequate refreshments and handouts, chapters encourage (although don’t require) pre-registration for in-person ACAP programs.
  16. Chapters use ACAP-branded signage to facilitate program attendance and further name/logo recognition.
  17. Chapters provide an annual program schedule and 2-3 rack cards to program attendees, suggesting the cards be given to friends or professionals, helping publicize ACAP programs.
  18. Speakers and sponsors are provided detailed information about their program, and the Leadership Team follows up prior to the program to answer questions and/or address any issues.
  19. In the event of a need for last-minute contact, cell phone numbers are exchanged with speakers, sponsors, and appropriate Leadership Team members.
  20. As participants gather before the program, Leadership Team members engage attendees in learning more about their caregiving situation, facilitating a sense of welcome, support, and community, and to help guide future programs.
  21. The Leadership Team becomes aware of regular attendees, considering possible opportunities for further involvement.
  22. Chapters offer a one-day conference, beginning year 3-5, to serve and engage additional caregivers and professionals.
  23. The Leadership Team is meticulous in their stewarding of financial entrustments and providing quarterly financial and attendance reports to ACAPcommunity.