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High on the list of things we too often burden our chapter leaders with is adopting complicated rules and procedures. One example? “Chapters should follow Robert’s Rules of Order for all meetings.”
I did something a little different this time at #ASAE16 and it worked! From each session I attended, I sent an email to myself with a couple of key takeaways. I just read those emails and it was like a flashback. This was a perfect complement to my live tweeting which captured cool ideas, pics of slides and curated other learners’ insights. But my strongest aha was how important the session format is to learning and engaging.
According the 2016 Chapter Benchmarking report, associations lean on chapters for member engagement, leadership development, membership recruitment, marketing/communications and local resources – rating these elements as 'absolutely essential' to 'essential' roles. The rub comes in their ratings on effectiveness in those areas - all of which generated a gap between importance and effectiveness.
The first Chapter Benchmarking Study sought to shed light on association chapter programs from structure to support to measurement. In this report you'll find data on a standard practices regarding membership, programming, requirements and metrics for chapters as well as insight on questions such as are chapters still relevant, are associations making changes to chapters and how do we evaluate our chapters.
Why do associations want a mutually-beneficial volunteer relationship? According to ASAE Foundation study, volunteering increases retention and expands organizational capacity. Learn more at the Volunteers: The Air We Breathe session on Sunday, August 14 at 2pm. Peter Houstle, Kevin Whorton, Rick Grimm (NIGP) and Ann Turner (AALAS) join me to share the research and association stories.
It seems that everywhere I look there are subliminal messages supporting major changes to the traditional association chapter model. The latest comes from a blurb I saw in AssociationsNow.com referring to a CMSWire piece that nearly half of all workers tend work in more flexible environments, outside of a traditional office.
I love it when an idea is repeated. For then, we being to analyze (read Joe Rominiecki’s article Chapter Restructuring: A Board’s Most Difficult Job). And then the idea gets intentional thought (read Jamie Notter’s excellent post Engagement: Local vs. National). And finally we get brave enough to act. I’m talking about changing the approach to chapters.
Volunteers for all types of organizations are asking for change - change in how they volunteer, when they can volunteer and where they volunteer. They are asking for flexibility in their volunteering. Organizations that are responding are doing so by re-imaging their volunteer program.
Distributed teams are a common theme for association volunteer leaders as most find they are leading a group of individuals scattered throughout a state, across the US or around the globe. This is counter to what we experience in our regular job. Yes, that is changing, but still few of us have the skill set to match this type of leadership.
One commonality among association volunteer leaders is the nature of the teams they lead: distributed. Leading a distributed team presents challenges that many of us don’t have in our day-to-day jobs (although this is increasingly changing) so it’s a skill we need to help volunteers build. In a training for volunteer leaders on the topic, I offer a key ingredient for success: a commitment to communications.
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