Social Entrepreneurship as the New Advocacy and What that Means for Your Chapter

Participation in strategies of social entrepreneurship ensures a growth in multi-generational membership.

Social Evolution

Society evolves. That evolution has a clear impact on the functionality of a chapter and the inclusion of the next generation of members. No longer can membership development and chapter activity managed using familiar tactics. Sarah Sladek tells us that action on the part of millennials today involves more of a social entrepreneurship approach, rather than advocacy.

Old school advocacy involves being focused on information and a drive for profits, among other aspects. For chapters specifically, this might mean a focus on revenue building or increasing membership. Essentially, advocacy is a product of a silo mentality with a highly-focused methodology that relies heavily on traditional means of communication, including e-mail, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. While traditional communication is still important, and will always remain a component of success, the evolved society of today places greater importance on utilizing methods that seek to better the world rather than provide individual success. Ultimately, group goals outweigh the individual goals.

Social Entrepreneurship as a Chapter Management Style

Social entrepreneurship is all about inclusion of strategies based in actions which immediately reveal solutions. Interestingly, a more solution-based approach is becoming increasingly more essential for the success of any chapter. And, more importantly, this growing collection of strategies that strive to ensure a fulfillment of purpose can be woven directly into a chapter’s mission. Since the value of a chapter rests in how they can help members better succeed within the industry, establishing a community focus in the value connects your members to a greater purpose that betters society. The relationships that members create as they strive for the chapter’s success will ultimately bring about their own career success.

Social Entrepreneurship and Chapter Activity

Interestingly, this adds to the lists of reasons to have an increased presence in the digital world.  The use of social media is of utmost importance to the success of any community building tactics, especially when employing a grassroots approach. No longer is it necessary for the community to remain local. In fact, a local chapter can have great global impact simply by interconnecting with other community members in the online world. Obviously, sharing and liking content posted to the Internet via social media connects people. But, what may be surprising to some is that it can lead to real relationships, even if they never meet each other. Hashtags, specifically, are essential elements to the process.  They establish a connection across platforms.  We have found that #assnchat, #membershiphack, and #volunteerlove are great starting points to make a connection within the association space.

This social evolution does not negate the value of a particular local chapter. Instead, it can only serve to strengthen it. By recognizing the shifting of society toward social entrepreneurship, your chapter can engage with multiple generations, finding the balance between chapter management strategies that strive to bind your industry community, achieve your chapter’s mission, and provide success for chapter and member alike.


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