4 Lessons for Building a New Chapter Model from AADE

The countdown has begun to the #ASAE11, ASAE’s annual conference in St. Louis, MO.  There are many reasons I am excited including the session I will be involved in on Monday, August 8 at 8:45a. This session, “Design for the Future: Creating a Sustainable Local-State-National Member Community”, shares the journey the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) took to retool their local chapters for the future. With Nadine Merker, AADE director of volunteer services, and Scott Balthazor svp, customer operations, Socious, we will share AADE’s new chapter model and its new online member community.

The three of us probably had more fun compiling the “lessons learned” handout than any other part of the presentation. That’s probably natural since its fun to look back. There’s nothing like being a Monday morning quarterback. Four of the most telling lessons we’ll be sharing – by story – are:

  1. Selling has to be part of your training and coaching. Yes, we shifted emphasis albeit not too late but it could have been earlier.
  2. Allow for compromise. We’ll share the many places we compromised – and didn’t – and why. But bottom line, we learned the importance of building into the process the expectation of compromise.
  3. Start your member communication early in the process – you do not need to wait until the ink is dry and all the T’s are crossed before you let your members know that you are in the process of changing the current model. Because even if you don’t, someone will. The wrong messenger takes back a few steps.
  4. Select an external project manager rather than having a staff member manage the association wide initiative. This will avoid having other staff view the internal staff leader as the owner of the project and delay department integration of the new initiative. Yes, there’s a story here.

You’ll find more tidbits from the session over at the Socious On-line Community Blog including one on 5 characteristics for choosing the right chapter model. Join us for more details and a lively discussion. Or check out our Hub Tag: #ASAE11 LH3.