See a Chapter Bright Spot? Propagate It!

The perennial favorite event of chapters, golf tournaments, needed a make-over in 2020. Interestingly in many states, including Mariner’s home state Maryland, golf courses were able to re-open in the first phase with some restrictions, albeit critical ones for golf tournaments. With some ingenuity, a few chapters here and there held their tournaments. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) Minnesota chapter is one such group and the result was high fives from sponsors (they retained nearly all!) and attendees while meeting participation goals.

CAI-MN credited its many volunteers, the flexibility of their sponsors, and the help of the hosting country club for the success. Their make-over included using tee times instead of a shotgun start, having golfers walk rather than ride in carts as part of the social distancing strategy, a special “mask” sponsor, a lot of hand sanitizer, and a virtual banquet and award ceremony via Zoom. The highlight of the ceremony might have been the drone footage of the event!

Credit also goes to the chapter executive director who followed a methodical approach for transitioning from a traditional in-person event to a Covid-friendly event. He broke down every aspect of the event to identify which elements needed adjusting due to public health restrictions and guidelines. The executive director’s approach is the bright spot to propagate and that’s exactly what CAI did. CAI staff translated that methodical approach to templates that provide all chapters a step-by-step process for:

  • Communicating with members
  • Working with sponsors
  • Managing event logistics, e.g., registration, tournament format, and golf carts
  • Providing food and drinks
  • Hosting an awards ceremony


We wrote about the power of tapping bright spots to boost chapter success. The CAI story was shared in our CEX session on how to replicate success in chapters. Charlotte Muylaert from Billhighway shared the process in her post. Bright spots are a sign of something going right. Sometimes a chapter experiences unusual success because they’re doing something in a different way than other chapters. If you can identify those chapter bright spots and figure out what they’re doing differently, then you can reproduce those practices in other chapters.

While we often encourage chapters share success, we need to take away barriers that chapters may encounter when trying to emulate bright spot behavior. Help chapters save time and energy by developing playbooks, templates, checklists, and timelines that will help them implement new practices. If your chapter bright spot requires a drastic change in behavior or departure from tradition, ask a few chapters to do a pilot project for you. Work closely with them to implement the changes. Their success will show other chapters that the bright spot changes are doable and desirable.

There’s a darn good chance, you have a bright spot in your chapter network that is waiting to be propagated. Let’s act. Read more on identifying and replicating bright spots. Check out this post on what are bright spots and check out Switch: Don’t Solve Problems, Copy Success.