Investigating Models of Engagement Outside Traditional Chapters

We investigate models of chapter engagement and share industry articles and case studies for how your organization can implement them.
The Art of Finding & Keeping Chapter Advisers

Overall Trends & Highlights

  1. Historically, national does their own thing, and chapters do their own thing when it comes to engagement – it’s been a divide and conquer.
  2. The future is trending towards viewing chapters as collaborative partners by providing a foundation for success.
  3. Virtual chapters or online communities are changing the way chapters, members and associations communicate. This is becoming more critical as demographics change.
  4. Chapter task forces or advisory groups are a must before undertaking new chapter engagement models.

Engagement: Local vs. National by Association Success

Discusses the culture and mindset of getting away from the local vs. national mentality. Identifies reasons why finding a chapter and engagement model that allows for national & local collaboration is key to member experience.

“Maybe the very separate cultures we have nurtured over the years at the national and local levels are now creating a negative experience for our stakeholders.”


If perceived value exists in the eye of the member, they don’t care whether national or the local is providing it.

Example provided in article: The member wants to go online to find out about volunteer opportunities through the association’s new “volunteer bank” and they don’t particularly care if national created it or if the chapter did, but they’re expecting to see volunteer opportunities that are both local and national.

Ask Yourself

  • Are we as an organization creating two very different, siloed experiences at the national and local level?
  • Think about the products and services you provide to members…have you looked at them and used them from a member perspective?
  • Is the perceived value the same through both your lens and a member lens?
Not Your Father’s Union: The Playing Field is Changing Fast

Members Win When Chapters & Associations Get Along

The first step to a productive chapter-national relationship that focuses on member value is identifying the appropriate roles that components and the central association play in the membership experience.


  1. Think of components as a communication channel for member value and not just another function of the organization.
  2. Identify what value components bring to the organizations – two of the largest value props that components bring are member retention and growth.
  3. Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) International led a two-year effort aligning chapter and national roles by focusing on educating chapters where they were contributing value and how national helped add to/complement that value because the chapters needed support.

Ask Yourself

  • What are the two largest value propositions that your chapters bring to members and your association?
  • How are you helping support those?
  • Do your chapters currently understand how they are contributing to the association’s overall goals?
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Engagement Trends: Education & Mentoring

Two different types of mentoring have bubbled up as ideas in a few different associations.


Chapter Mentoring

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is kicking off an initiative that their Chapter President’s created. They established KPIs to self-measure and shared the results with the entire group. The intent is to match under-performing chapters with high-performing chapters.

Recruit Younger Members Through Mentoring

Patrick Algyer, Manager, Chapter & Committee Success, was kind enough to share his metrics documents online in ASAE’s Collaborate. (See dropbox links at bottom of page)
Providing a unique, valuable experience to attract new, younger members continues to be a challenge for associations. Experience and mentorship can be hard to gain access to daily routines of a young professional.

  1. Provide new, younger members the opportunity to be mentored by older, more experience members.
  2. Often older members want to share their knowledge, and younger, inexperienced professional members are hungry for the mentorship.
  3. This is an idea that we’ve seen a few professional societies playing with.
Curveballs Keep Tripping You Up? Pick a Partner That’s Tried and True.

Engagement Trends: Structured Volunteers

CFA Institute wanted to ensure that there was a direct connection between its societies (chapters) and the CFA Institute. It laid out specific requirements of this volunteer group and set very definitive expectations.


  1. Creating a structured group helps keep national and chapters aligned and engaged.
  2. This volunteer group structure also gives chapters a voice in decisions and creates a move collaborative environment.

Ask Yourself

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your chapter volunteer/leader structure?
  • How do those strengths or weaknesses impact the effectiveness of your chapter system?
  • How could you leverage your chapter volunteers or leader to create a collaborative environment?

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