Guest Author: Peggy Hoffman, Mariner Management & Marketing and NetFORUM by Community Brands
You can often justify an expense for technology if it benefits the association or its members. But mention it’s for the association’s chapters and eyes start to roll. And rightfully so. According to the 2018 Chapter Benchmarking Report, 29 percent of associations track measurable data in a formal way that answers the question “Are chapters contributing to the association’s strategic plan and the bottom line?”.
That statistic points to the expectations associations have for their chapter network. While all of the associations responding to the survey in the report say chapters are a key channel for member engagement, retention, and acquisition, they also report that chapters are underperforming in those areas.
Something we know from working with more than 50 associations with chapters is that these local and state groups often struggle with low volunteerism, inefficient technology and processes, and a mismatch in skills and knowledge. In fact, chapter leaders typically have a strong understanding about their trade or profession but often lack the know-how to run a successful nonprofit membership organization. They need support.
“Show me the money!” This is often the response in one way or the other to any budget request for an investment in technology. “What’s the return? What additional value will our association get out of the dollars it has to spend?”