A healthy chapter program requires your association’s headquarters and chapter offices to work closely together.
Here are five great ways to improve how you work with your chapters.
Your chapter program can deliver valuable benefits for your association. It can drive member engagement, member satisfaction, and overall membership growth.
But a healthy chapter program requires strong, ongoing collaboration between your association’s headquarters and chapters. Here are five effective ways to start improving the way you work with your chapters:
1. Develop relationships.
The foundation of successful collaboration is a strong relationship. Spend time with your chapter leaders. Talk about their concerns and challenges. Work together to identify goals and discuss how you can team up to reach them.
2. Share useful information.
Connecting national and chapter data can help your staff and chapters save time, stay connected, and deliver a better member experience. It can help your entire organization know your members better, uncover member trends, identify opportunities for improvement, and personalize the member experience. It can also give chapters access to data that they can use to improve their local member engagement.
3. Lean on each other.
There are multiple ways your national and chapter offices can support each other. For example:
- Your national organization can test new programs and strategies with chapters (or get feedback from chapters in other ways) before rolling out programs at the national level.
- If local chapters are running successful programs, your national office and other chapters can follow their lead. After all, if an idea works at the local level, it will likely work for other chapters and at the national level.
- Your national office might have a program that’s best carried out at the local level. Or a local component might drive the national program’s success. In these cases, your national office might provide an incentive, such as dollars or other added value, for chapters to participate.
4. Communicate regularly.
Strong collaboration requires more than just ad hoc communications. Make a point of communicating regularly with your chapter leaders to keep your teamwork going strong.
And keep in mind that one of the greatest resources for chapter leaders is other chapter leaders, so help them connect, too. For example, host an online discussion group exclusively for chapter leaders where they can ask questions and discuss topics with each other.
5. Implement a chapter technology solution.
Put a chapter technology solution in place that helps you stay connected with your chapters while supporting data-driven decisions that drive chapter and membership growth. Here are a few things to look for:
- Real-time access to chapter rosters and membership statistics, which reduces the need for paper forms, spreadsheets, and manual data processes
- Online community functionality that empowers members to network, connect, and collaborate year-round
- Roll-up reports that offer insights into the health of chapters to facilitate more data-driven strategic decisions
- Configurable dashboards that give quick access to insights on the health of chapters
- Data segmentation for better understanding chapter members and targeting them with specific messages and volunteer opportunities
- Member engagement tracking that offers greater ability to analyze programs and identify new opportunities