What Can Birds Tell Us About Saving Chapters?

The conversation on the ASAE & The Center’s component relations listserv has turned to the issue of leadership again. It started with a conversation point about why all chapters within an organization should or shouldn’t charge the same chapter dues amount. We eventually talked about weak vs. strong chapters noting it is tied to weak vs. strong leaders.

Cynthia D’Amour summed it up nicely with “It’s sort like asking people to pay the same for fresh fruit and spoiled fruit.”

Meanwhile over at FastCompany blog, Cliff Kuang reported on a study of birds’ social patterns that teaches a valuable lesson about how a small number of revolutionaries can challenge an established order.

So what do these two conversations have in common? Chapters can too frequently become small fiefdoms that suffer from poor but unrelenting volunteer leaders. We struggle with how to overcome the situation. Meanwhile scientists offer us a model for how a small band of “revolutionaries” can overthrow the establishment. Sounds like a road map for rebuilding chapters. Could we build revolutionaries within failing chapters?

If so, we don’t have to worry about differences in dues.