Updating or reinventing your chapter program for 2010?

It’s 2010, what are your plans for your chapters and other components? What – just updating last year’s? Well, in the words of Oliver Blanchard “Soft goals create soft strategies. Soft strategies turn into weak tactics. Weak tactics turn into bogus metrics.”

That tells you why your chapter program is getting your association nowhere. So do you still want to just update last year’s goals?

So many goals for chapters program are driven by a combination of organizational checklists (turn in budget, turn in officer listing, file tax returns) and soft goals like increasing engagement and offering educational opportunities. Associations tend to simply say that the chapters and components create value that is well you know a little intangible. That thinking leads to nonspecific strategies and a mishmash of tactics. Which of course leads us with a decision by the board to reduce component staff, cut budgets, pare back volunteer leadership development, etc. And who can blame them. Absent of a clearly articulated vision for your components program with meaningful, measurable, specific goals, you’ll have metrics that mean nothing and no leg to stand on at the budget table.

Want the new decade to have different results? Start with setting meaningful, measurable goals. Attach those to metrics that count. So what goals could you set? Here are few areas that components could have an impact on that in turn could drive revenue or cut costs …

  • Member retention
  • Member acquisition
  • Member attendance at education and professional events
  • Certification applicants and successful candidates
  • Publication sales
  • Volunteer participation

I know this isn’t easy and the debate over how to set goals and measure component ROI started long before the decade we’re leaving. Check out a couple of resources on determining ROI including this session notes from ASAE’s learning lab for some ideas. Still most associations haven’t changed their planning or their checklists and reward programs. It’s not the chapter with the most members or the most activities or who have turned in all their paperwork who are necessarily the most successful or valuable to you!


PS – Take the time to read the inspiration behind this post, SmartBlog on Social Media’s interview with Blanchard on social media metrics because like social media, components are here to stay, but that doesn’t mean the same old approach to success needs to remain.