Daily Buzz: Struggling Chapter Leadership? Help Them Out

What to do when you encounter a chapter in turmoil. Also: Print should still have a place in your communications plan.

Chapter leaders are vital to an association’s success. They take on important responsibilities and set the tone for a chapter’s culture, programs, and member experience. So when chapter leaders are having trouble handling the job, association leadership must step in and find a solution.

“When the wrong leader is in office or when a leader is struggling in office, the impact can be devastating,” writes Sarah Garrity on the BillHighway blog.

How can associations handle a struggling chapter leader? For one, don’t be so quick to get rid of them, Garrity says. Instead, turn the situation into a teachable moment. If you can, set up a leader-to-leader conversation where a former chapter leader offers advice to the current leader. After this discussion, check in with your chapter leader to ask questions and make a plan to get them back on track.

“You may have to arrange help from other leaders and/or members and recommend ways for them to share responsibilities,” Garrity says. “If the situation doesn’t improve, you may have to consider more extreme measures.”

Associations should also be proactive in preparing chapter leaders for success. Garrity suggests providing existing and emerging chapter leaders with training resources such as online courses, in-person leadership training sessions, and weekly or biweekly leadership newsletters.

Make Use of Digital and Print

Print publications have taken a hit in the digital age, with organizations opting for the ease and cost-effectiveness of online communication. But that doesn’t mean print communication has lost its value, argues Naylor Association Solution’s Molly Schnepel.

“Digital and print are going full circle and beginning to swap places,” Schnepel says. “Whereas a member might have dumped a publication in the recycling bin without even glancing through it years ago, that same member now clicks the dreaded ‘Delete All’ box.”

Recently, print items have shown to be important to associations. In the 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Report, 78 percent of organizations said they consider printed member magazines a very valuable part of their communications.

“Hard copy newsletters, magazines and invites are few and far between, so when one arrives in the mail, it sparks a sense of surprise and intrigue,” Schnepel says.

Other Links of Note

Still feeling the January blues? Terri Klass offers leadership tips to overcome them.

Reach your environmental goals. MeetingsNet presents a sustainability checklist for event planners, created by talent buyer and booking agent Stefan Lohmann.

We all need reminders from time to time, and that includes your members, writes Michelle Schweitz on the YourMembership blog. She identifies five email reminders your association should be sending.

(guvendemir/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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