On a flight a while back, CRP Tanya Coogan was sharing the usual pleasantries with a fellow passenger when the conversation turned to their respective occupations. Tanya was surprised when the gentleman, who turned out to be a high-level executive, introduced himself as a board member on a national non-profit organization. As a CRP, Tanya was thrilled to see someone so inspired by his volunteer role that he led with that part of his life instead of his high-level executive position. Their conversation turned to board development and leadership, things near and dear to Tanya’s heart.
Of course, not everyone you met on a plane, or train, or even within your own circle of family and friends, can quite understand what the association world is about much less what role the CRP plays in that space. So how do some CRPs explain their jobs? At the 2019 Association Component Exchange (CEX) Conference, KiKi L’Italien sat down with several CRPs to chat about what they say to people who asked them “what exactly does a CRP do?”
Scott Wilson likes to joke that his job is much like herding cats. But seriously, he explains, “I help people understand their jobs better, and provide learning and support locally so that they don’t have to travel to learn how to do their jobs better. “
Emily Jennings says that components are the “boots on the ground” so CRP’s job is to be “encouragers of people to be able to carry out a mission. We talk about our chapters being the lifeblood of our organization because they’re the ones out there doing the work of our mission. Carrying it forward.”
Amanda Scharff tells her in-laws (and others) “I support an industry. I help them connect the dots, whether it is issues with their websites, issues with membership, issues within a board, I am just there to support, I’m here to listen.”
David Bond says there are so many facets to the role of the CRP but certainly the crux of the job is to “create relationships with our members and cultivate those [relationships].”
And Peggy Hoffman says “what a CRP is and does that makes them completely unique and incredibly special is this complete understanding of what it means to engage people in scenarios that are unique to them and meet their needs. It’s that finding the pockets of members, finding the pockets that people can collect in larger associations. It’s taking a large association, and it’s making it small and personal.”
Finally, as we circle back to Tanya who told Kiki that she used to joke that her job is to go to where the dragons live. She explained, “When mapmakers used to make maps and they didn’t know what was beyond this island, they would say dragons lived here because they really were clueless and didn’t know. And I feel like affiliates, chapters/components in a lot of national organizations are dragons. Nobody really knows what to do with them. They’re pesky, they’re hard to communicate with, it’s hard to collect dues. There are all these misconceptions about chapters. And so, I love being where dragons live because I love being that conduit between the national office and folks in the field. And really making sure that the national office is getting the message of what is happening in the field, that we’re leveraging them in the correct way.”
Join us online for CEX 2020 on October 26 & 27, 2020, 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM EDT (virtual happy hour included!) and tell us where your dragons live.