Notes on Chapter Structure & Engagement

This past week, our fearless leader Peggy Hoffman joined the ASAE CRPVM (aka Component Relations and Volunteer Management Council) Monthly Crunch & Munch on rethinking components where the conversation revolved around strategies for leadership development and chapter sustainability in non-profit organizations. A quick shout-out to top-notch facilitators Elizabeth George, CMM and Kevin Whorton for leading the conversation. Here are Peggy’s top line notes:

Two points of advice I heard repeatedly are (1) the importance of understanding local chapter needs and tailoring strategies to meet those needs, and (2) engaging the board in these conversations is critical. P.S. we couldn’t agree more!

So how can we make that happen? Here are a couple of action items to consider:

  • Pilot alternative chapter models like networks or communities of interest to test new structures.* Create alternative networks alongside sustaining chapterssmall chapter webinars for members to provide feedback on streamlining operations.
  • Consider minimum activity or participation standards for chapters to ensure consistent member experience.*
  • Survey members in targeted areas to understand preferences for future programming and events. [Note: two organizations I’ve talked with have found that “focus group” approach is more successful at the chapter level; I know that worked for the Maryland group I managed.]
  • Discuss updating bylaws to accommodate alternative leadership structures, such as networks and communities, without a formal succession planning.
  • Consider other alternatives such as mergers and off-ramps.*
  • Consider starting the conversation by asking 1) what is the purpose of chapter (function), and 2) does our current form enable or put stumbling blocks in the way. *

Looking forward to more conversations on this and all topics components!

*These items are on the agenda for Component Exchange Event on May 7 in Chicago and May 10 in DC. Join us if you are interested in continuing to explore these topics. Or email us a question you’d like us to talk about on the 7th or 10th and we’ll post our thoughts post-event.

Featured Image: Photo by Brands&People on Unsplash