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Mariner Management & Marketing LLC


The volunteer of yesterday is different than the one of today who will be different in the future. To be successful in engaging members as volunteers, we have to match our volunteer programs to our volunteers’ aspirations and interests.

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Leaders are neither born nor made. More precisely the recipe includes a little of the right DNA, a choice made, and effective nurturing. Associations can have an impact on the latter two with great results.

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Chapters appear to have a powerful impact on association membership levels. Developing chapters as partners requires a chapter strategy that focuses on key metrics and provides meaningful support.

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Associations need not cede their place as home for professional community if we place member collaboration and engagement as a priority, seek new models and invest in developing volunteers to lead us.

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We say “manage” but it more closely resembles conducting. We see our role as a conductor to bring the best out of each of the volunteer leaders.


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Engage association volunteers
Build association chapters

Innovative Growth for Associations

  • Main holding globe with inverted imageWhat if we replaced traditional chapters with local networking groups?
  • What if we replaced committees with project teams and morphed full-time volunteer positions into ad-hoc jobs?
  • What if we replaced "volunteering" with "engaging" and "member" with "citizen"?
  • What if we applied just-in-time concepts to volunteer training and support?

These are the types of questions that keep Mariner fired up. We believe that associations have existed since the 1800's because associating is fundamental to humans. We also believe though change is fundamental. Just as society has evolved through the ages - industrial to information to social - associations must too. So, whether it's guiding our management clients or collaborating with our consulting clients, we ask the questions that count and seek unconventional wisdom. And, we follow the compass. This has led us to the Chapter of Future, Chapter Dashboard, Embracing Volunteer Adhocracy and exciting projects like Rebuilding The Volunteer Spirit.

We think of ourselves as association executives, dedicated volunteers and - yes - mariners.


Association Innovation

  • Peggy Hoffman

    It’s a given that today's members have the ability to go "guerrilla" – thanks in part to social technologies – to make significant contributions in unconventional ways. And we in associations can react one of two ways: channel our inner Jane Goodall or act like poachers. Lindy Dreyer and I called on our best Jane “impersonations” to encourage association pros in our #MMCCon session to think of guerrilla volunteers as extensions of our communities.

  • Peter Houstle

    How do we find the “sweet spot” between acceptable risk and certainty? How much failure can we tolerate?

  • Peggy Hoffman

    As management guru and former GE CEO Jack Welch noted, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” We would suggest the corollary is equally true…i.e. “You manage what you measure (and ignore that which you don’t measure).” In other words, the things about which we make decisions and the decisions themselves are often governed by what we can readily observe and count.



Association Blog

  • Question: We are a XXX organization for XXX and have more than 100 components (we call them chapters) in cities across the country.  They are all 501c6 organizations with their own articles, bylaws and D&O insurance.  Question of the day: do they also need liability insurance?  Most of the larger components have had it; however, the rates tripled this year so they are asking if it is a requirement.  Recommendations?

  • I came across Ashima Goyal-Siraj’s piece in Volunteer weekly, The “Oh! by the way” trap. It’s in response to an article by Thomas McKee on the same subject, and one that I—and just about any volunteer—can relate to.

  • Most can agree that we receive way too many emails in the course of a day. What’s more maddening, besides the increasing amount of spam (that’s another post), is the constant barrage of emails from a single source, i.e., the vendor that sends daily updates on products and services, or the e-letter that comes in 2-3 times a day with the “latest news.”