In 2006, ASAE's Component Section Council reached out to members to ask how they determined the ROI for their chapters. The results were mixed. That is to say, that hard numbers were rarely reported, but chapters were nonetheless credited with moving mission and members.
According to the report, issued by the Component Section Council, associations are almost unanimous in believing components contribute to an association, but less than 50% specifically track these contributions and a only 8.5% calculate an ROI. The contributions are largely associated with member retention and recruitment. Other areas identified as potential contributions include:
Some areas associations reported tracking currently or intention to in the future:
- Publication sales, attendance at national meetings/education programs
- Support of national programs, such as legislative activity
- Membership market share
- Contributions to political or foundation activities
- Number of dual parent/chapter members recruited and retained
- Number of chapter members solicited for parent conferences
- Volunteer base by Chapter/region
- Number of board members each year that started out as component leaders
- Presence in the media; name recognition for the organization
- Filter membership participation/retention rates of those engaged by chapters versus those who are not.
But often as not, the value was assessed through a perception that components aided in
- Developing a local/regional advocacy network to complement the parent organization's limited national network.
- Engaging members who are involved in our component activity that might not otherwise be involved.
This revenue - whether tracked or assumed - compared to median budger of $55,000. The budget was spent on three key areas of support: (1) administrative support (e.g., database management, dues processing); (2) staffing; and (3) leadership training. Nearly 50% have at least one full-time staff person devoted to components activities. It was interesting to note a couple of comments regarding the budget indicating the dollars reported were direct and did not reflect staff and overhead suggesting that in some cases the cost is understated.
The report (link provided above) provides more detail. And it a catalyst for Mariner's 2016 Chapter Benchmarking Survey which will furth explore the ROI of chapters.