Empowering Chapters Through Self-Assessments

by

Low-performing chapters are a drag on the system and can fuel member dissatisfaction. Associations often respond with checklists and annual chapter reports, but the results rarely generate improved performance.

In the 2019 Chapter Benchmarking Report, only 29% of associations said they have a formal assessment tool to track chapter performance. Those that did reported using Dashboards, Chapter health assessment tools, or self-assessment tools, like these two associations.

The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and Association for Talent Development (ATD) turned to self-assessment designed to have chapters rate their performance on a list of items. The power of the self-assessment comes in two parts. First, it helps chapters understand what’s important for success. Second, it encourages chapter leaders to benchmark activity with other chapters and in doing so create peer-to-peer learning and sharing opportunities.

AGC found its self-assessment program actually changed chapter behavior: Chapter leaders want to bring home an award so they reach out to ACG staff to find out where they can improve. Now isn’t that a switch! Instead of having to tell chapters what they need to do to comply, the chapters are taking the initiative to change.

Originally, this initiative started as a way to bring more objectivity to the chapter awards process. However, ACG has found that it also led to an increased two-way dialogue with chapters. The self-assessment has four categories: Leadership and Governance, Programs and Marketing, Membership and Financial Operations.

ATD created the Chapter Affiliation Requirements (CARE) a set of performance guidelines designed to help chapters deliver consistent benefits to members. CARE consists of elements in six key areas that are necessary for running a chapter like a business: Board of Directors, Communication, Finance, Governance, Membership, and Programming. View the program details and samples.

Follow these resource links for more ideas:

  • Listen to the Tracking Chapter Effectiveness: Tips for Creating Powerful Dashboards Webinar
  • Read the original study on Chapter Dashboards
  • Download Creating Powerful Dashboards

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.