Which Membership Benefits Are Local Chapters Best Suited to Deliver and Which Should They Leave to National?
Updated: Oct. 12, 2018 | Categories: National Perspective
Local chapters rely heavily on their national leadership and structure for the resources they need to provide consistent benefits to their members. National also provides local chapters with guidance and a consistent marketing message to help them reach their individual chapter goals.
A national association needs an extensive network of strong and active local chapters to further the mission of the group. Local chapters are tasked with delivering membership benefits and managing volunteers for the good of the overall association.
When local chapters are in a positive and symbiotic relationship with national, members receive the full benefits of their participation in the organization. A local chapter’s organic growth comes from clear communication about the mission and a solid understanding of the membership benefits.
Here are a few guidelines that many associations find helpful when deciding whether national or local chapters should deliver specific benefits to members.
Delivering value to members
The ability of an organization to consistently keep their promises to members with a timely delivery of value determines their success. This is best achieved when national and local chapters have a clear understanding of their roles in the process.
Local chapters offer social interaction within the chapter and team building activities that create strength within the group. One of their priorities is to form an identity specific to their geographical location that supports their individual chapter’s goals and fosters growth within the association.
National can support the growth of local chapters by offering membership benefits like certification and professional education opportunities. They often take responsibility for providing consistent brand representation for all chapters. National also usually handles legislative action on behalf of the industry or association.
Members interested in volunteering and leadership opportunities find them at the local chapter level. Community involvement and the chance to make a positive contribution to their industry are just two of the many reasons new members join chapters.
How National can support local chapters as they grow
When board members leave their leadership position and new ones join, there’s a learning curve associated with the transition. National can support local chapters through these transitional periods by choosing a technology partner that offers ongoing support and training programs to help new board members acclimate. Onboarding new members and transferring responsibilities doesn’t have to slow the trajectory of the group.
Training new board members is important to their overall sense of worth within the group. Harnessing the enthusiasm of new board members is an effective way to further the mission of the chapter.
National can also work closely with local chapters to provide professional development at a local level. They often collaborate with volunteer board members to create content that members find useful and inspiring.
In many cases, members join their local chapter of an organization to advance their careers. This is another area where national can offer resources and support that local chapters may not be able to access.
When national and local chapters work together with the mission of the association as their focus, every member benefits.