Top 5 Engagement Trends Chapters Should Implement

Remember, investing in your chapters ultimately invests directly into your members. Read the top 5 engagement trends for your chapters to implement.
Top 5 Engagement Trends Chapters Should Implement

Association chapters and components are fertile ground for member engagement, but they can often prove to be a thorny management challenge. As associations examine the value of their component networks, they’re finding that skillful investment in supporting the success of chapters will drive bigger and better returns.

We’ll take a look at some key strategies and steps to tip the chapter ROI balance with smarter investments at the central-organization level and better returns at the chapter level—and some ideas on how to measure it all, too.

You’ll hear from the following experts:

  • Dresden Farrand, MPA, MPP, CAE, Senior Director of Membership and Chapters at CoSN
  • Charles W.L. Deale, FASAE, CAE, Former Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, at Financial Executives International (FEI)
  • Brent Bassett, Solution Architect, at Billhighway
  • Kyle Bazzy, Former Director of Growth, at Billhighway

The Metrics of Chapter ROI

The question of the overall return on investment of a chapter system is tricky because, as is often the case in associations, the investment is direct but the return is not. An organization’s budget for component relations can be easily identified—compensation for component relations staff, financial support for chapter operations and events, and so on. But chapters’ value goes far beyond direct revenue from local events and education.

Deale, Farrand, Bassett, and Bazzy all agree that components must be measured for their impact on the metrics that correlate closely to association-wide success. Revenue, of course, counts too. CoSN chapters sign revenue-sharing agreements with the central organization, so it can measure chapters’ value through the revenue they generate, as well.

Member Engagement

Member engagement, in all its various forms, may be the clearest signal of chapter effectiveness, says Bazzy. “If they’re not working on member engagement, they shouldn’t exist,” he says. Measuring engagement isn’t always easy, which makes solid technology solutions that enhance data sharing all the more critical. Not only does engagement data drive chapter ROI, but it also helps an association measure it.

“Whatever that engagement is at the local level, if they can measure that—measure maybe how many events they attended, how many times did they log in to a course, how many times did they engage and get value out of the association— and then compare that to retention. If they can do that at a chapter level and report it up to the national level, they will start to recognize what is working and what is not working,” Bazzy says.

Case Studies

At FEI, Deale cites member-satisfaction scores: In a survey, 86 percent of FEI members said peer networking via chapters was their primary reason for joining.

At CoSN, Farrand points to increased membership recruitment and retention as a result of new chapter launches: Membership overall is up 38 percent and retention is up 24 percent since 2013 as CoSN has added more than a dozen new state chapters.

of FEI members said peer networking was their primary reason for joining a chapter.

5 Engagement Trends to Implement

Remember, investing in your chapters ultimately invests directly into your members. Here’s the top five engagement trends for your chapters to implement:

2 CRPs Talk about Chapter Initiatives and Challenges

#1 Professional development program

  • Provide education & training opportunities to improve staff capabilities
  • Get chapter leaders involved by creating a working group and bringing in chapter experts
  • Meet face-to-face and ask for feedback
Love Adore Affection Like Care Romance Passion Concept

#2 Awards & incentives

  • Incentivize chapters & leaders to increase engagement, recruitment and retention
  • Determine how you will measure and achieve goals
  • Pilot award programs with a small test group
Digital device technology equipment gadget

#3 Online community for chapters

  • Create a place for your chapters to interact, share and collaborate with each other without being face-to-face
  • Evaluate your needs first — survey based on interest and listen to feedback from chapters
  • Research your options and talk with others using it
Business People Working on an Office Desk

#4 Best in breed experience

  • Leverage solutions & programs that already exist
  • Download your current challenges & align those with your biggest member engagement issues
Photo of young business woman in a conference room

#5 Peer to peer mentoring

  • Allow your chapter leaders to connect and share what does/doesn’t work to learn from each other
  • Evaluate, rate and rank your chapters
  • Pair under-performing chapters with high performing chapter leaders
  • Create a communication cadence
Driving Chapter Value Whitepaper cover

Download This Whitepaper

In this Billhighway whitepaper, we’ll take a look at some key strategies and steps to tip the chapter ROI balance with smarter investments at the central-organization level and better returns at the chapter level—and some ideas on how to measure it all, too.

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