Guest Post: Tim Ebner, Associations Now
Help chapters reach their full potential.
When it comes to volunteering, Michael Rosenberg, senior manager for member engagement at the Special Libraries Association, has seen it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The latter two were the focus of a recent conversation among leaders of SLA and its 81 geographic- and discipline-based chapters.
“We talked about all aspects of volunteering, in a very open and real way,” Rosenberg says. “We focused on questions like: What do I do if I need to remove a chapter leader? Or what do I do if my chapter is struggling to grow?”
Talking candidly about such challenges is an important element of an ongoing dialogue, facilitated by monthly webinars, that SLA maintains with its network of more than 500 volunteers. The conversations, led by SLA board members who serve as chapter liaisons, give SLA a better understanding of which chapters are struggling and which ones are performing well.
“Some chapters are naturally larger or stronger than others, which is why we rely on chapter liaisons to report back to us with data that speaks to growth potential,” Rosenberg says. “We keep that data in a dashboard view that allows us to monitor progress in real time.”
The goal is to get every chapter to a point of sustainable growth, Rosenberg says, attained when the chapter’s volunteering rate, number of events and programs, and financials are trending up year over year.