Allies Not Enemies: National and Local Association Chapters Need to Get Along

 In Association Management

Are your association’s national office and local chapters working in harmony? If those two teams aren’t fully cooperating and communicating closely, you could be failing the most important people in your organization: your members.

A disconnect between your divisions means vital data and valuable resources aren’t getting shared. Without that free exchange of information, growth of your organization at several levels can be brought to a standstill. Encourage cooperation and mutual appreciation between the two sides, and that roadblock to your association’s progress is magically removed.

Let’s take a look at important areas in which your regional chapters and national organization can benefit from unification.

Gaining traction on government affairs

No matter what industry your association covers—whether it’s focused on healthcare, education, construction or another vital field—the government impacts how your members operate. As a whole, your organization provides an invaluable resource by keeping professionals up to date on rules and regulations, impending legislation and other government-related matters that could affect each member’s business.

Just as there are often two components in an association – national and state – there are two levels of government that impact your members. Governments at both the national and state levels pass mountains of important laws and regulations with the potential to impact your members’ business. It’s a lot of complex, confusing information to sort through–and that’s where you come to the rescue. While a national association keeps abreast of what’s going on at the federal level, state and local chapters can share what they’re seeing in their individual states and cities. Coordinating and sharing that information and analysis with your members makes their lives easier.

Making the conference connection

In-person meetings like conferences, seminars, exhibitions and other events serve as powerful energizers for your members. Leveraging the experiences of both national and state component can create even more value.

Your national office likely has an idea of what it would like to accomplish with a conference, seminar, workshop or other event. The state and local folks know the regional members’ needs, and have the local connections to ensure the event’s success. If national wants to bring the show on the road to, say, Chicago, their local chapter in the Windy City can share which convention spots are convenient to the airport, what traffic-tangle spots to avoid and other details that can ensure or impede an event’s success.

Education and communication opportunities

What do your members want to know? Your chapters are on the ground every day, so they know what the current and emerging concerns are for their members. Listening to the members and leaders in your regional and state divisions can help your leadership come up with seminars, workshops and other educational programming that your membership will value.

National, though, may have access to a broader well of educational resources, such as money to craft programming and experts to tap into. The central office of your organization can collect input from the chapters, harness their resources to create valuable programming, and then disseminate to membership. Local chapters can serve as a great communication network to let members know these resources are available.

When different components of an association are spread out across the country, cooperating and communicating can present a range of challenges. However, if all the parties learn to communicate closely, share information and appreciate each other, your association will be better equipped to give your members the resources and services they deserve. Frontline can help you make those important connections–contact us today.

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