How to Assess the Health of Local Chapters
A summary of the best practices when doing a national survey and the importance of doing it
The ability of local chapters to meet the needs of their members and grow their industry depends on many factors. Before National can provide the kind of support needed for most individual chapters, it must first completely understand the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses.
Assessing the health of local chapters can be accomplished with a conversation and some simple survey questions that will help reveal places where National can be of service.
Some common challenges faced by local chapters may include:
- Consistent website and social media updating
- Lack of knowledge about technology and how best to use online tools
- Motivating volunteers
- Leadership turnover
Assessing the health of local chapters can be accomplished by asking carefully crafted open-ended questions that are thought provoking.
The cornerstone of any organization is the value it brings to its members. What are some of the main reasons members join this chapter?
The answer to this question will help national leadership understand how an individual chapter's self-image aligns with national goals. It identifies areas where national can support the chapter as it strives to deliver its message to local members and prospective members.
What is the one area where your chapter has the greatest need for improvement? Does the chapter struggle with membership and retention, board and volunteer participation, revenue, or meeting attendance?
This question identifies areas where local chapters require support. For example, a chapter that has low meeting attendance may find some creative ideas from national helpful to increase participation by making sure their meetings are relevant and engaging for members.
Not only is it important for national to conduct the survey and collect the results, it's also crucial to share the results with each chapter. Identify common areas of struggle and make a plan to assist local chapters in overcoming those challenges.
Be sure to highlight successes as individual chapters work toward their growth goals, and encourage them to share their successful strategies for reaching their goals with other chapters.
In a multi-chapter organization, communication is key.
Answers to survey questions will shine a light on any areas where individual chapters require support from national. Meeting the needs of local chapters is a sure way to strengthen the organization from the inside out.