AKA International Region Cluster Handbook

Page 1


Version 01. Rev. 2023
03 Regional Director Greetings 04 Cluster Coordinators Greetings 05 Cluster Coordinator Responsibilities 07 Hostess Chapter Responsibilities 08 Cluster Program 09 Hospitality and Gratuities 10 Cluster Rotational Schedule 11 Financial Procedures 12 Cancellations and Refunds 13 Additional Financial Information for Graduate Chapters 14 Key Contacts 16 Sample Chapter Report 17 Sample Cluster Program Agenda 18 Vendor Invitation Letter 20 Vendor Profile Form 21 Sample Cluster Budget 21 Sample Expense Worksheet 23 International Region Expense Voucher 24 International Region Funds Transmittal Form 25 W-9 Form 26 Cluster Organizational Structure Table of Contents Addendum

Greetings from our Cluster Coordinators

Greetings Sorors,

First, we thank your chapter for volunteering to host a Cluster Conference for our Ingenious International Region. Hosting a Cluster, we are aware, it is a great responsibility that you have signed up for. Please know that we are here to support your chapter during the planning process.

This handbook was developed to provide you with pertinent information as a hostess chapter. We share the duties of the Cluster Coordinators and Hostess Chapters, a sample Cluster program agenda, vendor and financial procedural guidelines and images of required forms. Please note that the editable versions of the forms found in the addendum of this handbook are available from your Chapter Basileus in the online Basileus Toolkit.

We trust you will find this handbook a useful tool in your planning process. We are committed to receiving feedback as you use it so we can update with best practices and frequently asked questions.

Again, we are looking forward to working with your chapter under the leadership and guidance of Madam Regional Director, Soror Carrie J. Clark to host a well planned, seamlessly executed and successful Cluster Conference!

Yours in Sisterhood and Service,


The Cluster Concept

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Constitution and Bylaws – 2022 Edition, Article II, Section 8

As an option of the Regional Director, a region may be arranged, preferably geographically, into clusters or similar sub-units. The purposes of these groups shall be (1) to plan and provide for workshops, one-day or other short-term events for the members within the respective units, and/or (2) the assumption of responsibility for hosting Regional Conferences or other specified events according to an approved rotation schedule Each of these units may have a coordinator who is appointed by the Regional Director whom she will assist Because of the Internal Revenue classification and Sorority policies, these units within a region must not assess sorors or chapters or collect funds In consultation with the Regional Director, a registration fee to cover the costs of the meeting or event may be set The ultimate responsibility for the supervision and coordination of activities within the region remains with the Regional Director

The regional director has the authority to deviate from the cluster handbook if event planning requires flexibility to address budget restrictions, logistical constraints, supreme basileus requirements, and other pertinent changes.

Graduate Cluster Coordinators Responsibilities

by the Regional Director and the Graduate Cluster Coordinators. 06 Collaborate with the Regional Director, select and implement the Cluster Service Project Facilitate and communicate service project details and plans for all chapters in the Cluster Coordinate with the hostess chapter(s) to identify community service partner(s), and complete all logistical details for the chapters in the Cluster to successfully complete the service project Consult with the Regional Representative to the International Program Committee, as needed

01 Serve as a liaison between chapters in the cluster area and the Regional Director 02 Consult the Regional Director and assist in Conference program planning 03. Compile and submit reports of all Cluster Conferences to the Regional Director and to the region, as deemed appropriate. 04. Meet with the Regional Director at the Cluster, Regional, Boule, and Leadership Conferences. Assist with budget development, program planning, and logistics
events and activities occurring during these conferences. 05. Work with hostess chapter(s) to
fee will be
develop a
for the Cluster conference. The Cluster registration
Undergraduate Cluster Coordinators to be considered beginning program year 2024 1

Cluster Coordinators Responsibilities (cont'd)

07. Responsible for ensuring Cluster attendees receive a certificate within 10 days following the Cluster conference Work with the Regional Technology Team to design and distribute certificates to attendees

08. Work with the Regional Director and hostess chapter(s) as needed to develop a Conference theme that will be used throughout the conference.

09. Assist in determining the date and format (virtual, hybrid, or in-person) of the Cluster conferences. In collaboration with the Regional Director, select the site and dates for Cluster Conference. The final date will be determined by the availability of the Regional Director.

10. Work with the next Cluster hostess chapter to ensure they are prepared to present the Welcome/Invitation. As needed, serve as the liaison between chapters to make certain all questions are being addressed regarding technology, music, layout, rehearsal, storage, logistics, etc.

11 Attend other special events, activities and/or ceremonies, when possible The Regional Director will notify the Graduate Cluster Coordinators of dates and locations

12. Coordinate the Region’s Boule and Leadership Conference activities (i.e. luncheon, hospitalities, and Regional Gatherings) at the direction of the Regional Director

13. Preside over the General Session at her respective Cluster Conference.

14 Work with the Regional Director to identify the Cluster Conference Chairman

15. Review Regional Finance Policies with hostess chapter(s), including Basileus and Conference Chairman.

16 Coordinate, compile and prepare for publication the Regional Accomplishment Booklet which includes the consolidated and comprehensive annual report of activities from all chapters within the Cluster Area Using the provided format, draft communication for soliciting annual updates and photos from Cluster Chapters The timeframe will begin from the end of the previous Cluster Conference to the present.

17 Review previous Cluster Conference evaluations with the host chapter(s) and identify opportunities to improve upon future conferences

18 Meet with the next Conference Planning Committee within three (3) months immediately following the Cluster to initiate planning activities, level set expectations, define roles and responsibilities and conduct proper introductions

19. Compile and submit detailed reports of the Cluster meeting to the Regional Director within one month (30 days) after the Cluster. This report should include (a) summary of proceedings, (b) copies of all programs, (c) summary of evaluation findings, and (d) actual budget for the Cluster Conferences

20. Facilitate the official recognition at the conclusion of the Regional Director’s tenure which will be held during the last Regional Conference where she presides. This responsibility for planning this recognition is designated to the Graduate Coordinators and other resources assigned by the Regional Director.

Hostess Chapter Responsibilities

Planning Committee for the Cluster Conference Program

A The Planning Committee will consist of the Regional Director, Graduate Cluster Coordinator, Chapter Basileus, the area Cluster Conference Chairman, and other sorors as determined by the Regional Director

B Remind chapters that all sorors, including hostess chapter sorors, must register for the Cluster Conference and any soror participating in the Cluster Conference must be an active member of the Sorority

The theme, date, agenda, and structure of the Cluster Conference will be determined by the Regional Director in collaboration with the Cluster Coordinator and hostess chapter. Support from the hostess chapter will be requested, as needed.


C. Cluster Conferences will be hosted by graduate chapters and/or undergraduate chapters. Each chapter will host a Cluster meeting on a rotational schedule established by the Regional Director. The speakers and workshop facilitators will be identified by the Supreme Basileus, the Regional Director and Graduate Cluster Coordinator. The Graduate Cluster Coordinator and the hostess chapter(s) have the responsibility to contact the speakers and ascertain their needs and facilitate their logistics. The budget will be established by the Planning Committee, based on the registration fees. Preliminary budgets will be submitted to the Regional Tamiouchos for review and for final approval by the Regional Director

D Registration for the Cluster Conference will be completed online

E All approved expenditures along with signed vouchers must be submitted by the end of the Cluster Conference or no later than 30 days following

F. All hostess chapters are required to adhere to the Regional Finance Policies for submitting expenses and vouchers.

G. The host chapter of the next Cluster will meet with the Graduate Cluster Coordinator based upon her availability at least 3 months immediately following the previous Cluster Conference to begin planning activities.

H. Identify annual date of the Cluster Conferences, subject to the Regional Director’s schedule and approval:

1 Atlantic 4th Saturday, October 2 Pacific 2nd Saturday, November

1. 2.

The Cluster Program

Friday Night Program

NOTE: Any recommended events/activities on Friday Night must be approved by the Regional Director.

01. No business will be conducted on Friday evening. If a Friday event/activity is held, a sisterhood to fellowship event is recommended.

02. All expenses incurred to host the event on Friday will be absorbed by the hostess chapter or sorors who wish to attend and not from the conference budget.


Saturday Program Requirements (see Sample Cluster Program Agenda)

Continental Breakfast [pending budget approval]



Regional Director’s Greetings

Cluster Coordinator Annual Report

Agenda Topics

Lunch and Luncheon Program Menu should fit the budget for the meeting. The program agenda is determined at the discretion of the Regional Director.

Service Project

Work with the local chapter(s) to identify, select, promote and complete the Cluster Service Project.

Communicate and coordinate the Service Project in alignment with current Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc ® Program Initiatives and the hostess chapter(s) local relationships


Coffee, soft drinks, and other refreshments are at the discretion of the hostess chapter [pending budget approval]

Invitation to the next Cluster Conference

Closing Remarks/Acknowledgments

a b. c. d. e. f. g. i. ii. h. i. ii. i i j k

The Cluster Program - cont'd

04 Registration

At the time of opening registration, conference details will be sent with registration information The registration fee will include all registration materials

Registration and room reservation materials (upon approval by the Regional Director) will be prepared by the Cluster Coordinator and hostess chapter(s) and made available online to the sorors in the Region before their September chapter meeting. Information updates will be e-blasted to all sorors.

Registration should include the price breakdown for graduate and undergraduate sorors and a pre-registration date. Only financial sorors are able to attend the Cluster Conference(s).

A late registration fee, determined by the Regional Director, will be charged. Room rates will be negotiated with hotels. No onsite registrations will be accepted

01. Complimentary registration will be granted to the Regional Director, the Graduate Cluster Coordinator, former Regional Directors, and other VSGs as directed by the Regional Director

02 Registrations must be completed by the published deadline(s)

03 Other forms of gratuities and complimentary packages will be considered at the discretion of the hostess chapter(s) and approved by the Regional Director


In keeping with the customary practice of Alpha Kappa Alpha - showing appreciation and gratitude to the Regional Director's officers at the conclusion of their tenure, it will be the loving duty of the chapter(s) hosting the last Cluster Conference of the outgoing Cluster Coordinator to plan for and deliver an appropriate recognition in collaboration with the cluster area chapters

a. b. c. d.

Cluster Rotation Schedule


2023 Pi Upsilon Omega Freeport, Grand Bahamas

2024 Sigma Xi Omega Bermuda

2025 Mu Gamma Omega/Rho Xi St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands


Eta Psi Omega Nassau, Bahamas

Mu Gamma Omega St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Pi Upsilon Omega Freeport, Grand Bahama

Sigma Theta Omega St Thomas / St John U S Virgin Islands

Sigma Xi Omega Bermuda

Psi Delta Omega Windsor-Ontario, Canada

Alpha Alpha Delta Omega Toronto, Canad


2023 Alpha Alpha Omega Omega Lagos, Nigeria

2024 Omega Theta Omega Dubai/Abu Dhabi, UAE

2025 Rho Nu Omega Seoul, Korea


Eta Beta Omega Monrovia, Liberia

Mu Psi Omega Germany

Rho Nu Omega Seoul, Korea

Phi Omicron Omega Okinawa, Japan

Psi Beta Omega Tokyo,Japan

Psi Tau Omega Johannesburg, South Africa

Omega Theta Omega Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Alpha Alpha Omega Omega Lagos, Nigeria


Financial Procedures

Funds Received:

All roundup/cluster/regional conference registration payments will be completed online. The Regional Pecunious Grammateus will prepare a receipt of funds and forward the payment(s) to the Regional Tamiouchos for deposit.

Check Request Vouchers: Direct Billing:

The International Region Voucher is the only authorized voucher used to pay regional expenses

Cluster Coordinators/Committee Chairmen should monitor their expenditures to ensure they remain within the approved budget

Cluster Coordinators/Committee Chairmen will submit all vouchers to the International Regional Tamiouchos for review and payment. Please allow up to 2 weeks for processing - so plan accordingly.

Only expenses that were reviewed and included in the approved budget will be paid. There are two methods of payment:

Direct Billing Reimbursement

When feasible, it is recommended that vendors are paid directly. This will minimize the need for sorors to incur out-of-pocket expenses for reimbursement.

Sorors will secure an invoice from the vendor to be paid directly (Note: Payment terms are customarily 15 to 30 business days )

The invoice must be reviewed by the Cluster Coordinator and attached to a completed voucher and submitted electronically to the International Regional Tamiouchos for review and payment

Vendors who are Independent Contractors (individuals) and paid $600 or more, will also need to complete an IRS Form W-9. Please solicit and secure Form W-9 at the time the invoice is requested and submit it to the Regional Tamiouchos.

The Regional Tamiouchos will ensure that the region is able to provide the necessary IRS Form W-9 information to Corporate Office for end-of-year tax reporting.


All sorors are required to seek approval for expenses prior to spending and to validate that funds are still available within the cluster/committee’s approved budget.

Sorors will be reimbursed for expenses from the approved budget.

Send the receipt(s) electronically to the Cluster Coordinator and the completed voucher for reimbursement to the International Region Tamiouchos. (Do not provide receipts that include personal purchases.)

Photocopied receipts will not be accepted and the original receipt must be mailed to Regional Tamiouchos within 60 days However, photocopies of all receipts must be maintained in the committee records

Refer all questions regarding these procedures to the International Regional Tamiouchos

Soror Terri Barnett Coleman, International Region Tamiouchos at tcoleman@aka1908 com PH: 586-337-0730

International Region PO Box:

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International Region Attention: International Region Tamiouchos P.O. Box 70625 Rochester Hills, MI 48307

Cancellations and Refunds

Cancellation requests must be submitted via Cancellation & Refund Form to Soror Terri Barnett Coleman, International Region Tamiouchos at tcoleman@aka1908 com

All cancellation requests should include your contact information and documentation supporting your request

Receipt of cancellation requests will be established for each conference/meeting and communicated during registration You MAY be eligible for a refund as all requests must be approved by the International Regional Director A cancellation fee will be applied for all requests Refunds will be returned via the payment and delivery method by which they were received. There will be no on-site refunds.

All refunds will be processed at least 90-120 days following the conclusion of the Conference. Cancellation requests made after the close of registration will not be considered.

No refunds will be afforded to those who violate (withdrawal of privilege, suspension)

Alpha Kappa Alpha Policies or Documents in the period between conference registration and the actual conference date.

Each Cluster Conference must have an approved budget with line items detailing projected expenses (see sample budget addendum), and the actual amounts paid reflected in the final budget/financial report to the Regional Director


During the Cluster Conferences, the hostess chapter(s) may wish to invite vendors to participate throughout the day. All vendors selling AKA paraphernalia must be a licensed vendor by Corporate Office. Local vendor recommendations must be approved by the Regional Director. The fee for vendors to participate must include the direct costs associated with their participation (i.e. room rental, table/chair rentals, skirting, racks, electrical runs, internet access or other expenses noted in the venue’s contract). This nominal fee will be agreed upon, in consultation with the Regional Director and the Graduate Cluster Coordinator. The fee will be communicated to the hostess chapter(s) as they recruit potential vendors Refer to vendor documents in the Addendum

All recommended vendors’ information must be provided to the Cluster Coordinators at least six (6) weeks in advance of the Conference A letter of invitation with an enclosed agreement will be sent to the prospective vendors The agreement will include amenities provided by the hostess chapter’s venue for the Conference and a point-of-contact Soror who will work directly with them to ensure logistics and proactive communication/resolution.

I e P h a

Key Contacts



Lambda Pi Omega Chapter ~ Detroit, MI P.O. Box 70625 Rochester Hills, MI 48507 248 214 6833


Silver Star ~ Life Member

AKA Anniversary – December 10, 1987

Birthday – January 25



Mu Gamma Omega Chapter – St. Croix, USVI 407-364-9840

Lisa 51@hotmail.com

AKA Anniversary Date ~ April 22, 2002

Birthday - August 25

Eta Beta Omega – Monrovia, Liberia +231.888.229222


Silver Star ~ Life Member

AKA Anniversary Date ~ April 6, 1988

Birthday - February 17

Soror Lisa Mitchell-Harris Soror Clarine Simpson Vaughn


Sample Chapter Report

Sample Cluster Agenda

This sample agenda is designed for a one-day session on Saturday. If there is an approved Friday night session, no business is to be conducted. (The Hostess chapter is financially responsible for any Friday night event(s). The Regional Director will submit to the Cluster Coordinators a final Agenda of the day events.

Sample Vendor Invitation Letter

Vendor Invitation Disclaimers

Vendor Profile Form

Sample Cluster Budget

This electronic worksheet of the Cluster Conference Budget will be sent to you by the Cluster Coordinator.

Sample Expense Worksheet

This electronic worksheet of will be sent to you by the Cluster Coordinator.

Expense Voucher

A copy will be provided to you by the Cluster Coordinator

Funds Transmittal Form

A copy will be provided to you by the Cluster Coordinator

W-9 Tax Form

A copy will be provided to you by the Cluster Coordinator

Cluster Organizational Structure



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