Guest Author: Christina M. Darnowski, ASAE
Association chapters and their parent organizations share a common mission, but they may at times clash over competing programs or chapter compliance issues. Component relations professionals who have tackled those challenges share their advice.
One issue that keeps component relations professionals awake at night is the problem of rogue chapters: those that ignore brand standards, do not follow charter requirements, or operate as if they are not connected to the parent association.
Two common challenges in the relationship between chapters and their national or international organizations are the competition that occasionally arises between them and the failure of some chapters to comply with legal and financial filing requirements. In a recent roundtable discussion held by the ASAE Component Relations Section Council, component relations professionals shared solutions to those challenges.
Chapters and their parent associations can be both comrades and rivals. Although they share a common mission and purpose, they frequently compete for members’ time and professional development and conference dollars. In one scenario shared by association consultant Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, an international membership association organized a conference in a chapter’s region. Although chapters typically see this as an honor, in this case the chapter felt threatened and staged competing events.