By Nikki Jackson, Kelley Norris, and Matt Karst
It’s no secret that chapters are an association’s lifeblood; it’s keys to success. Making sure a chapter is equipped for success is largely the responsibility of the Association Management Company (AMC). In order to do this, an AMC needs to understand the chapters’ needs, be able to supply them with essential tools, and collaborate with them to support their members. The best way to ensure that all of these needs are met is by maintaining an open communication line that your chapter can consistently rely on. There are several proven methods for maintaining an open line of communication with your chapters. Below is a detailed look at many of these channels and how your association can utilize them.
An association newsletter is a common way of relaying news and information to your chapters. One way the typical newsletter can be expanded on is by crafting a newsletter specifically for chapter leaders. The biggest benefit to leader-only newsletters is the opportunity to share innovative techniques implemented by other chapters. Idea sharing in this way is beneficial for two reasons; it shines a positive light on the efforts of the example chapter, and it hopefully generates inspiration within other chapter leaders. An easy and efficient way of spreading high volumes of information, the chapter leader newsletter is a great course of action for establishing communication.
Schedule check-ins (which can occur semi-annually, quarterly, etc.) with chapter leaders. This provides a great opportunity to monitor the health of each chapter and the commitment of the chapter leaders. The purpose of these check-ins is to hear the concerns, needs, and goals of chapter leaders. Be prepared to listen! Ask probing, open-ended questions that get the dialogue rolling. These check-ins establish a connection and open a comfortable line of communication and rapport.
The Online Hub
Have an online space dedicated to providing chapter leaders access to documents, templates, and other needed materials for marketing and communication. An Intranet is a great way to meet these demands and keep all of the resources easily accessible organized. Ensure a high level of user-friendliness by offering useful, bite-sized tools like infographics, social media images, instructional documents, and video tutorials. Update your hub on a monthly basis and see the benefits that this resource brings to your chapters.
The Monthly Leader Connect
Organize a networking opportunity via Zoom for all your chapter leaders. This gives chapter leaders the opportunity to connect with other chapter leaders, build comradery, share best practices, and learn from each other. An option for furthering the usefulness of the leader connect is to invite guests to come to speak to the chapter leaders on current issues that are association related. This will engage chapter leaders and assist them in disseminating valuable information to their board of directors.
These methods of communication are among the most efficient in keeping an open line between you and your chapters. As the lifeblood of your organization, your chapters’ ability to operate successfully is critical to your organization. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a recalibration in nearly every sense of association management, and chapter management is no different. Assure that your chapters are adequately equipped to succeed by utilizing any or all of these communication channels.