Membership

Daily Buzz: The Challenges of a Virtual Chapter

By / Apr 23, 2019 (aelitta/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

A virtual chapter might fit in with an increasingly digital-first world, but it can also present organizational obstacles. Also: easy actions for planning sustainable meetings.

With the world going digital, it’s only natural that associations jump in on the trend with virtual chapters. But launching such a program comes with its own set of challenges—namely, who qualifies for virtual chapter membership?

“Some associations are concerned that virtual chapters will end up competing for members with national and other chapters,” writes the BillHighway team on its blog. “If you require dual membership, national shouldn’t have any worries. However, it’s a different story for your chapters. Will they see a virtual chapter as ‘cannibalizing’ their membership?”

Ultimately, your team will have to define its own parameters for membership. For instance, maybe you limit membership to those who live at least 100 miles from a geographic chapter. But let’s say a member who lives within 100 miles of a local chapter doesn’t drive. What then? Of course, you don’t want to exclude anybody, so make sure to set a rule for special cases, too.

Another challenge: leadership. Like any other chapter, a virtual program will need an internal leadership structure, including officers, a board, committees, and so on. But this becomes increasingly harder in the absence of face-to-face interaction.

“Communication takes on more importance in these circumstances, which is why you must choose the right collaboration platform,” the team says. “Make sure everyone stays in the loop and understands the need for transparency.”

Your Guide to Greener Events

Planning greener meetings doesn’t require an overhaul of event best practices. Kellie Hanna writes on Smart Meetings that changing your thinking on key planning decisions, such as choosing a venue and lighting setup, can be the difference between being eco-friendly and not.

“It’s a common myth that it’s impossible to create a brilliant event that is both cost-effective and sustainable,” Hanna says. “But you really can have it all. Just a few simple actions can have a positive, lasting impact—not just on your event, but on the future, as well.”

Other Links of Note

Worried about hiring remote workers? Here’s how to overcome the fear, from Forbes.

Publishing content online comes with risks. The Membership Guys discuss what to do if someone steals your materials in their latest podcast.

Amp up your association’s website with this 10-step checklist from Social Media Today.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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