Building Your Chapter's March Madness

March brings with it a madness. For most it is with basketball, but one can find valuable lessons in the behavior models that come out of basketball’s most watched annual tournament. In fact, any association, no matter the industry, can harness these lessons for themselves to achieve their own success.

Chapters should cultivate momentum toward becoming a true team that serves both the membership and the community they reside. As a first step, utilizing association management software, such as StarChapter, is a great foundation to achieve lasting board productivity. The following are other solid practice models that arise from the observation of basketball’s March Madness:


  1.       It is okay to be busy. There are a lot of moving parts to your chapter. Recognize that and organize for the best efficiency possible. Using charts and assignments is key. Assign clear roles to each member, no matter the undertaking.
  2.       Build your team as a team. Each person is a part of something bigger. They should rely on one another, ask for help. One person should not be out on the sidelines waiting for someone else to pass the metaphorical ball of activity. Everyone should be willing to offer an assist to their teammates, even without being asked.
  3.       Engage the members. While you have a leadership team, the members are essential. At one moment, they are both your fans and your partners in the successes you are trying to achieve. Remember that. Invite them in. Work directly with them. Don’t work in a vacuum just to get credit for a job well done, for it isn’t a job well done if your members choose not to participate or have a less than stellar time. Your audience is everything, and in a chapter that audience is your membership.
  4.       Gain valuable leadership skills, no matter your role. As a team member, or an audience member, you should be ready and willing to learn. And learning doesn’t just come from doing the activity, it can come from watching others do the activity. Also, different lessons will reach people in a vast array of ways – so it is best not to assume one way will work over another. Ever part of your team is simply different and they will “play the game” as such. 
  5.       Remember to play it cool even in the face of a loss. Being a good sport isn’t just about being on a basketball court. No matter the work you do as a chapter, you will have some amazing success and some colossal failures. While the former is most hoped for, when those inevitable losses come (few as they hopefully are), a smile and positive attitude must accompany the loss. True too, even as a winner, good sportsmanship must prevail. Congratulate and shake hands and remember the underlying goals of your chapter and the activity in question. 
  6.       Competition is an excellent way to engage members AND achieve goals. Well-developed competition among your membership or between chapters is good for building moral and teaching the lessons above. Whether you start with a membership drive with a competition to see what member can bring the most colleagues into your chapter or you have a logo recreation contest, you can get your members involved with the practice of your chapter. And they will have fun along the way, so long as you also encourage good sportsmanship.

Basketball, and sports in general, offer valuable insight into successful practices for running your chapter. Indeed, they are comparable in many ways. Whatever your mission or goal, coming together as a team will bring about the win.

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