Guest Author: Peter Houstle, Mariner Management & Marketing LLC
Within the association community, we have many terms for our member communities that are somewhat vague and too often used interchangeably.
This info sheet is intended to provide a guide for understanding the terms commonly used to refer to member communities and their relationship with a lead organization. Sources include Component Relationship Handbook (ASAE), IRS and Association Law Handbook (ASAE).
Affiliated Organization: Autonomous organization which has some level of formal relationship with a central association. Generally, they are local components operating in a specific geographic area, although they can include sub-specialty organizations. (See Allied Society) Other names: Sections, Councils, Affiliates, Allied Society.
Affiliation Agreement: A binding legal document that defines the relationship between the central organizations and its component.
- Single Organization – chapters are sub entities within the central organization which no legal or operational independence
- Parent/Subsidiary – central organization and chapters are separate, legal organizations with a parent authority through governance and polices; generally, operate under charter or affiliation agreement
- Contractual Affiliation – central organization and chapters are separate organizations, which may or may not be legally independent, operating under an agreement
Allied Society: Autonomous organization which has a relationship with a lead organization. (See Affiliated Organization)
Chapter: A branch of a central organization operating in a specific geographic area. While the organization may be separately incorporated, it generally operates under the authority and permission of the lead organization.