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Solving the chapter technology puzzle

Here’s How to Get the Best tools into the hands of your chapters.

Local chapters have a lot to manage. National can help, but locally there is much to do to keep the chapter running smoothly. From a technology standpoint, the basic needs would include a website, a way to email members and prospective members, and a way to keep those two lists accurate and up to date. We also highly recommend survey capabilities, tie-ins to their social media pages and most of all an online event registration process. 

The puzzle lies in the many combinations of technology that are sourced with various levels of features and functionality, security and reliability, and ease of use.  From a design standpoint, there are many levels of professional or unprofessional results.  With so many pieces it is hard to offer real assistance to the chapters beyond a way to deliver the most current member roster. 

What can National do for their chapters to help or guide them? Offering best practices is a great starting point.

The technology that chapters use should be stable, secure and efficient. Beyond that, it needs to accommodate all the functionality that chapter management requires.   Chapters often develop a solution that they can live with and that works, but not risk free or not as efficient as it could be.  What is recommended is a review of their solution – an honest assessment of what their chapter is doing so they can look at how effective each component is, while opening their eyes to security risks as well as missed opportunities to grow their membership, revenue and attendance.

After looking at their current evaluation, they can then see what can be fixed easily and what needs further discussion.  Typically, issues arise with having multiple vendors handling different aspects of their chapter management.  In our experience these issues stem from having one service for event registration, and others for website, email, surveys and possibly using excel spreadsheets for tracking members and prospective members.  Chapter leaders often discover that their data and systems are not so secure with this type of setup.  It’s also rather common that too much of the knowledge of the technology rests with few or one key person causing a bottleneck of productivity and a potentially a great loss when the board transitions.

An all-in-one solution for local chapters to use creates efficiency.  It provides one application to manage and update their website, membership data, non-member data, order history, registration, email communication, surveys and much more.  It is also secure and stable and doesn’t put the chapter at risk.  A service like this will have support and training available filled with best practices and real chapter management experience. 

You can download a chapter assessment worksheet to distribute to your chapters to get them thinking about their local technology and start their evaluation.   Once chapters are aware and open to alternatives, they can start to look for a better solution.  They will hopefully look to National for advice and we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t mention that we’d like to have StarChapter be the option to discuss. 

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