Guest Author: Leann Cooper, ASAE
Even as technology allows associations to more easily connect with members across distances, chapters can still provide them with a means to engage members locally and in person. For this reason, these two associations are actively growing their chapter networks to better serve their memberships.
Geographically based chapters are traditional components of many associations and can be an effective way for the association to extend its reach beyond the city or region where its headquarters is located. Having a local presence elsewhere makes recruiting members, hosting events, and offering educational programs possible in areas where the national organization is simply too far away to effectively serve.
And yet, there are so many alternative platforms for meeting, networking, and offering education, which begs the question: Are geographic chapters still relevant? And are they still an effective way for an association to grow?
While some associations are tinkering with the traditional structure—consolidating or shrinking their chapter network in order to help keep these entities relevant in an online world—two national associations have decided to grow their chapter networks. Why? They still see the value of geographic chapters for recruiting and retaining members, achieving their missions, and helping their members connect locally.