Do you ever wonder if chapter volunteer leaders really know what they’re getting into? The responsibilities of managing a chapter take many of them far outside their comfort zone. In our previous post, we described the challenges chapter leaders encounter when selecting and maintaining website and event management tools. Most association professionals can’t even figure that stuff out without the help of their IT, event, and marketing colleagues, yet chapter leaders must muddle through.
Most chapter leaders are not technologists, nor are they financial whizzes, compliance professionals, or database administrators, yet they are expected to take on these roles. Instead of asking them to manage website, event, finance, and data management technology on their own, why not provide a chapter performance tool?
When your association provides a chapter management solution, like Billhighway, you can help prevent financial and data management issues, solve perennial chapter problems, and tighten your connection with chapters. Instead of spending time on administrative and technical issues, chapter leaders can focus on improving chapter performance and membership value—the reasons they signed up for the job.
The challenges of chapter data management
Sharing data between HQ and your chapters/affiliates is no fun for anyone. It’s an administrative burden for chapter leaders and often a nightmare for HQ membership and accounting staff. Whether members join at the national or local level, someone is downloading or uploading a roster. Data is, at best, a few days old or, at worst, a few months old, which means new members can’t log in or access benefits right away.
Association management systems (AMS) may have chapter modules, but the functionality is focused on the national association, not chapters, which becomes a problem for data analytics. HQ doesn’t have any visibility into member engagement at the chapter level, only at the national level. Associations with chapters or components need a holistic data solution that shows interactions at both the HQ and chapter level.
A holistic chapter performance solution for HQ/national and chapter data management
“If only!” you say. Well, guess what, the solution already exists. With Billhighway, chapters (or affiliates) and HQ are connected in ways that matter. Billhighway organically collects chapter data without anyone having to do anything. That’s right, data sharing is automated. You don’t have to nag chapters for reports, and chapter leaders are not spending their limited time compiling spreadsheets for you.
Member (and attendee) data is a powerful asset for HQ. When you have access to chapter member engagement data, you can:
- Benchmark chapter performance.
- See upward and downward trends.
- Pinpoint engaged membership segments and at-risk segments.
- Identify bright spot chapters.
- Know which chapters need help.
- Determine where to prioritize resources.
The solution for chapter financial management concerns
Member data issues are frustrating, but financial management issues are deeply troubling. Chapter finance is a laborious task, but a serious responsibility for chapter leaders. It requires attention to details—from the reconciliation of accounts to being on guard against financial fraud. You rely on busy volunteer leaders to handle these responsibilities, which takes their time and attention away from more mission-centric concerns.
Billhighway is a chapter financial management solution that gives HQ visibility into chapter performance while allowing chapters to maintain their autonomy. It alleviates the administrative burden of chapter leaders and minimizes the risk of financial mismanagement or fraud.
Transform the chapter leader experience
HQ staff and chapter volunteers shouldn’t have to spend time figuring out the split in dues payments between HQ and chapters, sending and depositing checks, and exchanging membership reports. Billhighway automatically splits dues between HQ and chapters and deposits funds to the appropriate accounts. Chapters don’t have to wait for disbursements since everything happens in real-time as dues are received.
With their Billhighway dashboard, chapter leaders can manage member transaction data, chapter dues, banking, payments, budget, and financial reporting—and HQ has access to these chapter dashboards too.
Chapter leader transitions are much smoother when Billhighway is involved. Outgoing leaders lose access to accounts, while new leaders receive the permissions and access appropriate to their positions. Old hassles, like changing bank account signors, are no longer a concern. An onboarding email campaign takes new leaders through Billhighway training and a support team of chapter experts stands by to assist.
Improve chapter compliance and financial management practices
You no longer have to worry about chapters running afoul of PCI compliance because of their credit card procedures. The Billhighway mobile solution ensures that all in-person credit card transactions are processed as securely as online transactions.
Most associations have experienced financial mismanagement at one of their chapters. Perhaps a well-intentioned volunteer paid a fraudulent bill or, worse, a chapter leader embezzled money. The cost of embezzlement and subsequent forensic audits is bad enough, but these actions also damage the association’s and chapter’s reputation, and the trust of members and the community. The financial controls built into Billhighway prevent fraud and ensure chapter leaders adhere to sound financial practices.
With all your chapter leaders using a chapter-in-the-box solution like Billhighway, they become a huge user group who share best practices and help lift each other up. They can focus on what they signed up for—not managing a non-profit organization but delivering member value and helping your association fulfill its mission.
If you’re ready to make a business case for more HQ attention and investment in your chapters, our ebook explains how chapter member engagement data can help. If you’ve already made your case, we’d love to show you how our chapter performance solution works and how it can help you increase the chapter ROI for your association.