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How to start a GLSEN Chapter

Thank you for your interest in helping create safe and affirming schools for ALL K-12 students by starting a GLSEN chapter. The first step to take is to contact the GLSEN Community Initiatives Department via email and let us know why you are interested in starting a local chapter. You can reach us at

To help us guide you through the process, please include your name, where you are from and why you are passionate about safe schools worl. Once we receive your inquirywe will reply and begin exploring the process of becoming a chapter.

Next steps to take:

Schedule a call with a Community Initiatives staff member to review the process of starting a chapter. If you remain interested in organizing a local chapter you will then need to complete steps 2-6.

  1. Assemble a small group of people (5-8) who can work together as a Steering Committee (interest group). The group should ideally be people from diverse backgrounds and communities. Key groups that you might want to consider doing outreach to are middle and high school students, teachers and parents.
  2. Conduct an informal assessment of the climate in local schools by talking to teachers, administrators and students.
  3. Determine what anti-harassment and bullying policies exist at the district, county or state level.
  4. Organize a meeting for the larger community to spread the word about the Chapter you are trying to build and to attract potential Chapter Board members.
  5. Fill out an official steering committee form. This form asks you to identify the region you want to serve, programming that you are interested in doing, and more.

After you submit the steering committee form your steering committee members will undergo a background check which will enable them to work with students. Once background checks are completed, your steering committee can submit an Accreditation Application (available 3 times a year) to be considered for recognition as an official Chapter.

What then?

If a steering committee is granted accreditation they are assigned a Community Initiatives staff liaison. The new chapter will be provided a website to promote their activities and receive gifts from donors as well as a bank account.

New Chapters are also eligible for a small grant from the national office to help them start off their local organizing. After that, Chapters are expected to raise funds on their own. Chapters submit a 10% program fee to the national office. Those funds are then used to support the Chapter network and other organizing efforts.

Through their Chapter liaison, each individual Chapter has access to all of the organization's staff members, services and resources. Chapter Liaisons hold at least one phone call per month with their individual Chapters and aim to visit them in-person once a year. Opportunities for trainings, grants and other forms of support are made available to Chapters throughout the course of the year.