It’s one of the quintessential love-hate relationships. HQ and its Chapters. You may refer to HQ as “national” or “parent organization” or use a multitude of different terms to refer to your geographic partners. Regardless, the relationship is often one fraught with varying degrees of mistrust, ineffective communication and mixed signals.
Can this relationship be saved? Very likely. Here are 5 self-help actions:
- Be open to real communication. Talk things through. Share data. Ask and answer the hard questions. What do members say is important? How do members rate local, national activities? What do our sponsors say is working?
- Reconnect. Yes, national staff and leaders – go visit your chapters/affiliates. And you on the local, visit national.
- Don’t play the blame game. Share blame.
- Consider getting an unbiased person involved to conduct a fair and equitable assessment of what’s working, what’s not, and pinpoint the opportunities.
- Determine to work on things – pick the one or two areas where both sides are willing to work together.
The Digital Analytics Association (DAA), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and American Society of Landscape Architects offer examples of the value of working on something that resonates and builds trust.
DDA and GBTA adopted joint membership. In a post on the topic on Association’s Now, Marilee Yorchak, CAE, DAA executive director, calls joint membership the “extra-special sauce” that makes component relations successful. Two years ago, GBTA launched All-Access Membership and today refers to it as a critical advantage by making it possible to communicate directly and efficiently with their 9,000 members, based in 39 chapters spread across the world.
The American Society of Landscape Architects gave over the running of its Instagram page for a day to individual chapters as part of World Landscape Architecture Month. May seem small but for 49 days in all, ASLA is yielding access to more than 29,000 followers on Instagram. That’s building trust one step at a time. Read more on Associations Now.
Saving the relationship is possible when the commitment is there.