Chapter Diagnosis: Tips to Start the Chapter Restructuring Process

Mariner Management and Marketing's Peggy Hoffman offers suggestions on how to handle chapter restructuring efforts.

How do you know when your association’s chapter network is in need of repair? Peggy Hoffman, president of Mariner Management and Marketing LLC, advises associations to look at a combination of key metrics and recurring themes in chapter feedback. “The first theme that will show up is a difficulty in getting local volunteer leaders,” she says. “If you don’t have the leader, you don’t have the chapter.”

Any one of the symptoms below may be cause for concern, but a combination could signal an absence of chapters in the association’s value proposition:

vacant chapter volunteer positions or positions filled by the same people multiple times

aging chapter memberships or difficulty in attracting younger members

no correlation between retention and chapter participation

declining chapter membership levels and event registrations

low satisfaction ratings among chapter members or for chapter events

inability of chapters to complete annual reports or to fill programming slates

higher growth among at-large national memberships than among members in chapters

These can be pernicious challenges to tackle, but Hoffman says there is always hope to fix any broken system. “There are structures where chapters are part of the problem,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean the people are part of the problem.”

(Dave G Kelly/Getty Images)

Joe Rominiecki

By Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki, manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America, is a former senior editor at Associations Now. MORE

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