New research has shown a wealth of untapped potential that just might be at your fingertips. It’s all a matter of making the most of your chapters. As part of an extensive study into the current state of chapters, this research has brought to light an important message: many organizations are overlooking their chapters, sections, states and affiliates, and it’s costing them. Big time.
So, if you’re looking into ways to update your organization, you might want to think about putting chapters at the top of the agenda. Whether you’re planning the strategic vision for the next three years, or you’re thinking it’s time to restructure and embrace change, now is the perfect time to turn things around.
Chapters can be a fantastic way to maximize the potential of your organization, but it’s no secret that they often also add an element of complexity that most associations could do without. In recent independent research, the current status of chapters has been examined in order to best understand the underlying problems and needs of chapter-based associations.
A Whole New World For Chapters
Some of the CEOs who were interviewed as part of this research were recently at the helm as their associations underwent considerable change, transitioning from one structure to another entirely different one. As you might expect, they came across some bumps in the road. Let’s take a look at two case studies to see how associations have been changing in recent years.
Case Study #1
Interviewee A began with complex structures, which needed to be consolidated.
Case Study #2
Interviewee B reported resistance to change, which was reflected in the simple fact that a new affiliation agreement can be complex and filled with legalese.
Obstacles to Avoid
In these two case studies, we can see how a restructure might be hugely beneficial for chapter organization. Nevertheless, it’s not always smooth sailing, as you might expect. Here are the obstacles you’ll want to look out for if you’re thinking about a big change within your own association:
#1 ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS
The administrative costs of restructuring organizations can be prohibitive.
#2 BUSINESS RULES
Many chapters do not have a clearly defined set of business rules, so chapters will want to do things differently.
Restructuring projects can stall due to unclear and varied expectations.
#4 VOLUNTEER CULTURE
It can be difficult to encourage people to align in volunteer-run cultures.
#5 CHANGE RESISTANT
People are largely resistant to change. Many CEOs report chapter leaders and volunteers becoming “balking and fearful” as organizational changes begin to be implemented.
Change is no simple task, and it often takes several years to complete. Patience is key in these projects, and it’s crucial that those leading the change have a clear vision of the end result, which can be effectively communicated to their teams.
#7 CHAPTER STAFF SIZE
Many chapters fear for their prestige and might see changes to their number or positioning as a ‘demotion’.
#8 THINK BIGGER PICTURE
Chapters are known to see their budgets as “their money” rather than thinking of the bigger picture — they should be running as a business rather than a club.
Download This Whitepaper
In this Billhighway whitepaper, we share what executives are thinking in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of their components and how the national-chapter relationship can be enhanced.