Recognize Your Chapter as a Part of a Community

Updated: Aug. 31, 2017  |  Categories: Member Communications, Membership  

Every human has a need to belong – to connect to other humans in some meaningful way. For your chapter, understanding this truth can be the determining factor in boosting or losing your membership count. Members want to feel engaged and rewarded with others in your chapter and feel connected with the purpose of the chapter. And in turn they will invite those in their network to chapter events they see value in. But how do you spark that feeling of belonging that inspires member referral?

Step One: Recognize Your Chapter as Part of a Community.

This community consists of your chapter and the national association, as well as other chapters bound together through the national. There is a common identity that should not be ignored. It is, in part, why your chapter is there in the first place.

Step Two: Show the Interconnectedness between Membership and Industry.

As a chapter operating within a particular industry, there is a connection between that industry and the chapter. A key purpose of your chapter is to enhance member presence within the industry. Thus, the industry as a whole is part of the community. Exemplify this link. A great way to do this is through members’ own stories.

Step Three: Offer Valuable Resources and Activities to Your Members.

These resources should enhance a member’s role both within the chapter and the industry as a whole. Provide education, certifications, and networking opportunities. Invite all members and encourage them to invite anyone they think might benefit from the activity. You want them there – otherwise what is the point of planning the event in the first place.

Step Four: Provide Guidance and Encouragement to Members.

This is an important step. This is directly connected to feelings of belonging. You want members to know they are wanted – that they are part of the community. Offer solutions that will help them share information with their network. Implement special programs to promote engagement. Talk to your members by sharing your own story and asking for theirs. Foster communication between members at meetings through social time.

Step Five: Offer Acknowledgement to Members for Involvement.

While participation should be a sufficient reward on its own, understand that people want acknowledgement for their actions. They want to know that someone is watching – whether the board or other members.

Step Six: Reiterate the Value of Belonging to the Chapter.

That is, consistently show the benefits of being a member – of being part of the community. But don’t just tell members about the benefits, show it through activities and the connection to industry. Plan events that get members involved and allow for application in their career.


Providing members with a feeling like they are part of the community – that they belong – will motivate their need to grow the community. They will refer those in their network that they think might also find advantage in being a member of the chapter.


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