Overall Trends & Highlights
- Historically, national does their own thing, and chapters do their own thing when it comes to engagement – it’s been a divide and conquer.
- The future is trending towards viewing chapters as collaborative partners by providing a foundation for success.
- Virtual chapters or online communities are changing the way chapters, members and associations communicate. This is becoming more critical as demographics change.
- Chapter task forces or advisory groups are a must before undertaking new chapter engagement models.
7 Attractive Member Benefits for Virtual Members of Your Association
Offering members what they want, when they want it, isn’t a luxury any more. It’s an expectation. Some associations are opting to offer a virtual membership option. This is flipping the idea of ‘traditional’ models on its head, while still maintaining a premium for those who want to engage in more than just a virtual capacity.
“You need to include things that appeal to a virtual crowd without giving them so much value that this option becomes ideal for 90% of your members, unless you want to fully embrace and convert to a virtual membership association.”
- Virtual memberships allow you to accommodate and appeal to the needs of several groups that you may not be addressing otherwise.
- Virtual members or chapters are a way to garner engagement from your membership, but maintaining a distinction between a virtual membership and a more ‘traditional’ membership may be important.
- If you were to leverage virtual memberships or chapters, what would engagement need to look like for it to be a success?
- What characteristics or defining traits would a virtual membership have that a traditional doesn’t?
- How could you leverage a virtual chapter or membership model to address current members needs/wants?
A Service-Level Model for Virtual Chapters
This article covers the levels of service that should be considered when determining if virtual chapters is a model that works for your association. This will help you understand whether your association is ready to take the plunge or whether you should wait to extend the reach of your services and engagement.
- The availability of resources, staff and volunteers play a large role in determining if virtual chapters are a viable option.
- Just because a chapter is online, doesn’t mean you can set it up and leave it, expecting it to work.
- Virtual chapters can operate at varying levels of member service and offerings and still be successful. It just depends on what your online membership wants and needs.
- The benefits of having chapters to extend the message and work of the association are well-known, and they don’t change when the chapter moves into the virtual realm.
- Is your membership comfortable using technology to communicate?
- Do you have chapter staff or volunteers who can be trained and mentored in a virtual environment?
- Do you know what services your members need and what programs they will participate in?
Where Social & Professional Networking Meet: The Virtual Association Chapter
This whitepaper covers kicking off the virtual chapter process from start to finish. From identifying the vision of a virtual chapter, to the design and how member services are offered through the virtual chapter.
- Identifying how virtual chapters and their purpose fits into the overall mission and vision of the organization can be critical to success.
- Designs and architecture of the virtual chapter should take into consideration…
the type of environment the chapter creates the role of chapter leadership and ultimately what goals should the virtual chapter accomplish.
- Performance standards are just as, if not more important when managing virtual chapters.
“The virtual university chapter focuses the work required to deliver chapter services and aligns that work with members’ educational requirements. This is a key strategy considering the culture of the membership base.”
- Are members asking for services that can provide value in a virtual environment?
- How would a virtual chapter model impact resources at national?
- What would be required of our volunteer community to make a virtual chapter model work, and work well?