Guest Author: Dresden Farrand, ASAE
Does your association have a strategic partnership with chapters, or is the relationship more a marriage of convenience? To build trust and better align on strategic planning, one association created a chapter advisory board.
Too many associations and components go about their business without much thought about their relationship, unless they’re complaining about the other’s shortcomings. Some even fall into the “us vs. them” mindset—a deadly trap of dysfunction and distrust. In the process, national and chapter leaders lose opportunities to work together to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
A few years ago, national educational technology association with a 48 percent retention rate and a strained relationship with chapter leaders. Our staff knew that we had to repair the relationship by rebuilding trust and two-way communication, so that chapters would buy in to strategic goals.
To do that, we had to understand what was really going on with components. I learned about chapter concerns and ideas in focus groups with board directors and members, as well as through polls and monthly conversations with chapter leaders.