Are Chapter of the Yr Programs Just An Agenda?

Just had a conversation with a chapter member – who has also worn the chapter volunteer hat – who gave a strong piece of advice to his chapter leaders as they approach the annual planning meeting:

“Don’t worry about winning Chapter of the Year. Do worry about helping members be better managers, keep their jobs and succeed this year.”

He proposed that the national’s Chapter of the Year program was “an agenda” not a plan. He cautioned that the chapter isn’t here to win COY but to help the member succeed and that particularly this year these two weren’t the same.

Granted this is one voice but we’ve heard similar lamentations about COY programs that are more focused on the points than the member. This must be the “year of the member” if we’re going to succeed in keeping members and attracting new members. Chapters can be an important strategy and channel – the question is are your COY programs flexible enough to reward innovation for meeting cementing the member value equation over meeting the check-list of to-do’s?