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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

    The value of attending a conference or any educational program can feel a bit intangible. Sort of like dining in a restaurant. #Ideas16 was different.

  • Peter Houstle

    Nearly half of all associations have components – a catch-all phrase for chapters, special interest groups and the like – according ASAE’s last benchmarking study. Back 2006, two research undertakings by Mariner and Whorton and by the ASAE Component Section Council sought to answer the question “are chapters worth the effort – do they have a defensible ROI?”

  • Peggy Hoffman

    Here’s to a brilliant new year … new years always give us a fresh start, a blank sheet. But sometimes that blank sheet can be intimidating so here’s a little help. We’ve curated 16 bright ideas we’ve spied that just might be the spark for you.



Association Blog

  • The value of attending a conference or any educational program can feel a bit intangible. Sort of like dining in a restaurant. #Ideas16 was different.

  • Just back from the ASAE’s Great Ideas Conference where I attended the pre-event workshop on The Membership Economy led by Robbie Kellman Baxter the author of one of my new favorite books (a must-read!) Guess what? You hear her for free.

  • Looking back through my emails, I found this piece posted in the Baltimore Business Journal - 5 questions to ask before taking on a volunteer commitment. It’s a response to a question posed by a CEO who was trying to encourage his leadership team to volunteer for their professional associations as a way to build the brand. The CEO was getting some push-back from his team who felt volunteering is often a waste of time and of no true value. The response was on target by suggesting that potential volunteers do some homework and interview the association before fully jumping in.