10 Ideas Shared by the CRP Community to #LeverageChapters

Here are ten ideas by Component Relations Professionals (CRPs) from the ASAE Annual session: Assign Value to Your Current and Future Association Chapters.
10 Ideas Shared by the CRP Community to #LeverageChapters

10 Ideas Shared by the CRP Community to #LeverageChapters

What success stories are Component Relations Professionals (CRPs) sharing these days? If you’re attending the Association Component Exchange (CEX) on October 13, by the end of the day your head will be full of success stories, great ideas, and practical next steps. But how about a head start?

Here are ten ideas presented by CRPs at the only session at ASAE Annual that focused on chapters: Assign Value to Your Current and Future Association Chapters, moderated by Brian Van Norman, Director of Chapter Relations at the American Public Works Association, and Shana Campbell, Senior Project Manager at the Association for Talent Development.

About 100 people showed up for this session—which says something about the demand for component relations content. One woman at our table remarked that she didn’t even know there were so many people with chapters. Oh, indeed, there are, and you can meet many of them at the Association Component Exchange (CEX) on October 13—more on that later.

Association Component Exchange (CEX)

#1 Virtual student chapter board

The American Traffic Safety Services Association created a virtual chapter board for its student chapters. Like many associations the average member age is 55 years old so…


…they’re experimenting with new ways to attract and keep a younger audience interested in membership.


#2 Regional task force

The Energy Bar Association holds annual meetings for regional chapters where volunteer leaders share best practices. The association also requests input from its regional chapters during strategic planning time.

Regional task force

#3 Virtual chapter leader meetings

An association whose name we didn’t catch moved their chapter leader meetings to web conferencing using Blue Jeans and Google Hangout—and saw participation increase.


#4 Chapter listening tour

American Bar Association staff and board members got in an RV and traveled across the country on a chapter listening tour. We’re reading and hearing more and more about associations doing listening tours.

Cindy at the Association for Vascular Access travels to new chapters to help them get off the ground—another opportunity to talk with members and listen to their needs and expectations.

Chapter listening tour

#5 Chapter advisory board

The Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) established a chapter advisory board. Candidates for the board apply or are nominated and then voted on by CoSN’s board and chapter leaders with the board having final approval. The advisory board’s eight members meet monthly either in person or via web conferencing.

The advisory board oversees and reviews chapter agreements and policies. It reviews each chapter’s annual strategic plan to make sure it’s aligned with CoSN’s. Once a month, the advisory board reviews each chapter’s scorecard—an assessment tool for benchmarking goals and grading the chapter’s health and sustainability—and provides their recommendations for action.

If you want to learn more about CoSN’s chapter advisory board, their former Senior Director of Membership and Chapters, Dresden Farrand, CAE, will be at the Association Component Exchange (CEX) next month.

#6 Component accreditation

One of the audience’s favorites was this idea from The American Institute of Architects. They enacted standards to ensure that all members across the country have a consistent and valuable experience regardless of their chapter’s size or location.

Component accreditation

To obtain accreditation, components must meet specific requirements in seven Core Member Services:

  • Member Communications
  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • Public Awareness
  • Governance
  • Membership
  • General Operations


#7 Rebates tied to chapter assessment report

Twice a year, chapters of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International submit a chapter assessment report. This report has two parts: a chapter requirements section and a chapter scorecard. To receive rebates…


…chapters must complete the requirements and score at least 70% on the scorecard


#8 Chapter rewards program

Another association (not identified) has an annual chapter rewards program that helps the association collect the information it needs and encourages (some said “bribes”) chapters to operate at a higher level. For example, chapters are assessed on tasks like 990 filing, member communications, and communicating their goals to national.


#9 Strategically aligned chapters

At the American Society of Landscape Architects, chapters are considered a “strategic instrument.” They align and share their strategic priorities with national. Chapters are engaged throughout the strategic planning process and have opportunities to offer feedback to national.

Strategically aligned chapters

#10 Virtual chapters

The American Society of Appraisers has members in China, Australia, and Europe thanks to virtual chapters. The association uses webinars and web conferencing to keep chapter members engaged in networking and education. Recently, I learned from an ASAE Collaborate discussion that Sigma Theta Tau International has a virtual chapter too.


Attend Association Component Exchange (CEX) to leverage your chapters >>

One last take-away: we heard countless CRPs talk about the need for more opportunities like this session at Annual where peers can share ideas and success stories. The Association Component Exchange (CEX) on October 13 was designed to meet that demand. As a Billhighway blog reader, please use the special discount code CRPs4Life when you register.

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