Chapters– A Defensible ROI?

How can we establish a defensible ROI (return on investment) for our chapters?

Most of us know how much our chapters cost (staff support, rebates/grants, training programs, tech platforms, etc.), but few seem to have a good handle on the actual return on that investment (see Chapters: Are They Worth The Cost?). To help us develop a rational model by which associations might assess the financial value generated by chapters, we’ve launched the Chapter ROI Project and we’re inviting association execs to contribute to a Chapter ROI Valuation Matrix.

The valuation matrix is a brain-storming exercise to collect a list of activities that could be monetized (directly, as a service, based on volunteer hours or indirectly). We’ll use a broad sampling from the association community to develop formulas to put $$ to those activities, recognizing that we’re unlikely to achieve mathematical perfection…but 80% accuracy will be a great improvement on the “seat-of-the-pants/because we’ve always done it that way” formula we have today. This project is an extension of our Chapter Benchmarking Study completed in 2016 in which only a handful of respondents indicated an attempt at calculating chapter ROI.

If you’re interested in participating, please take a look at the Chapter ROI Project Plan and the Chapter ROI Valuation Matrix (Phase I) and the ROI Valuation Sample Formulas (Phase II). I can be reached by email ( or phone (301-725-2508) if you have any questions and are interested in participating. This is not a heavy lift for participants, but the ROI should be
well worth the effort.

Our ultimate goal is for the results of this project to be owned entirely by the association community and provide a sound financial basis for the rational allocation of resources to our chapters.