Guest Author: Christina M. Darnowski, ASAE
While organizations and local chapters help support and extend each other’s missions, that relationship can turn sour if it’s not clearly defined. Drawing up an affiliation agreement ensures both parties know and meet their obligations.
Chapters provide a variety of benefits to their parent organizations. Even with the growing number of virtual communities providing networking, knowledge sharing, and distance learning, regional chapters still facilitate many face-to-face interactions that members value. They also help grow membership and develop organizational leadership.
But the chapter model also presents risks. Poorly organized chapters can drain resources from the parent organization, put its tax status in jeopardy, and create legal or reputational problems.
Regardless of the organizational structure—whether chapters are fully integrated or loosely affiliated, individually incorporated or registered as legal entities with local governments—it is critical that an affiliation agreement exists between parent organizations and regional chapters to mitigate these risks.