Want to reward chapter volunteers and give them an incentive to stay involved? Take a cue from one association that discounts registration for chapter presidents to attend its annual meeting.
How to hack it? Volunteers dedicate a lot of time to their associations—and that’s especially true of chapter leaders, says Courtney Bulger, vice president of membership and chapter relations at NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association.
One simple way NAIOP thanks them is by offering a discount on conference registration to chapter president and president-elect members. Last year, the discount was about 30 percent, and this year about 50 percent. “Before the discounts, we had just eight chapter presidents show up,” Bulger says. “This year, I got about 35 to sign up.”
Why does it work? NAIOP’s chapter presidents are typically busy for-profit executives with little time to meet or run a nonprofit. The association incentivizes these volunteers with a discount, then makes the conference experience worth their time. “We host a special luncheon and offer a four-hour training session before the conference for presidents to come together and learn,” Bulger says.
What’s the bonus? When volunteers feel appreciated and motivated to meet, Bulger says, they’re often better equipped to collaborate and learn from each other, as well as national leaders. NAIOP is considering a move to extend the discount to other chapter officers next year.