Are Chapters Worth The Effort: 2016 Chapter Benchmarking Report

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.

According the 2016 Chapter Benchmarking report, association do lean on chapters for member engagement, leadership development, membership recruitment, marketing/communications and local resources – rating these elements as ‘absolutely essential’ to ‘essential’ roles. While the answers mostly offer why they think chapters are worth the effort, they fall short of metrics that prove or disprove this thinking. What’s keeping associations in the game is likely that the absence of knowing the return on investment (ROI) for a chapter program (only 5% calculate an ROI), they carry on.

Mariner Management launched the project February 2016 with Whorton Marketing & Research. We invited several hundred associations through direct invitation and other channels, including ASAE’s Collaborate, to participate. A total of 211 associations responded and 162 completed the full survey. Mariner is continuing to conduct a series of in-depth interviews with responding associations to delve beyond the numbers to stories that we can all use to make effective decisions about chapter programs.