A valuable association chapter member experience is the lifeblood of an association chapter. Yet, like their business counterparts, state chapters of national associations can struggle to retain an actively engaged and growing membership.
How can chapters continuously attract the right pro-bono leadership committed to developing a relevant mix of programming and benefits to keep members excited about and committed to attending monthly chapter meetings? Yes, excited instead of treating monthly attendance as obligatory!
Understand the chapter persona to understand how to grow chapter member experience.
Today’s association membership rosters reflect today’s workplaces. Consider that up to four to five generations may be represented. Yet, chapter meeting attendance is voluntary; there is no paycheck involved. As a result, scheduling and filling chapter meetings competes with member priorities, including commute times. Food (freely offered or otherwise) and CEU’s (continuing education units) may not be attractive enough to keep members showing up at chapter meetings.
First, observe whether skewing occurs in monthly attendance: generational and/or the same-old members time after time? Then, do some members always dominate post-meeting discussions? As a result, are these individuals preventing more introverted members from participating?
Overall, do meetings have a positive, inviting member-focused vibe? Is chapter leadership actively engaged in making each member welcome throughout each meeting? Or, are leaders merely greeters, and more engaged conversing with other leadership than with general membership?
Consider whether members are given opportunities to engage in pre-meeting conversations with each other. Alternatively, do chapter meetings resemble a funeral wake? With members nodding their heads in salutation, taking their food and their seats, minding their own business and then quickly departing, post meeting?
Providing valuable association chapter membership experience is a strategic leadership continuity initiative. Instead of a tactical program-by-program undertaking.
Association membership experience is a reflection of chapter leadership’s engagement in providing vibrant programs and projects showcasing the ongoing, strategic mission of the chapter. Consider the importance of chapter leadership as a function of how well the past-, current- and future- chapter presidents and their boards continue to collaborate on behalf of serving chapter membership.
Just as organizations focus on employee, as well as customer, experience to drive growth, expansion and sustainability, so must association chapters. And not just by administering a passive 5-point post-presentation survey. My advice?
Revive the value of association membership experience by remaining actively engaged in the time between monthly meetings. Take the next steps, here.
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