18. #8 Set A Cadence
Communication is a Two-Way Street
Set a baseline
Create a regular check-in meeting
(weekly, monthly, yearly)
Put it on their calendar
Consistency > Quality
Traction Level 10 Meetings (example)
22. #10 Be Aware of Pitfalls
Fear of failure
23. New Year’s Resolutions
I promise to…
Know What Matters
Tell A Story
Learn From Other CRPs
Ask For Feedback
Set A Cadence
Be Aware Of Pitfalls
Rowing the Same
Direction: How ACG Has
Aligned Global & Chapters
Ways to strengthen the relationship
between Global (or national) & chapters
Tactics and strategies to set up chapters
Guest Speaker: Gary LaBranche, CEO, Association
for Corporate Growth
25. Fact Finders
You bring the challenge, we find
Do you have a chapter
project on your plate?
Trying to make a business
case but need some
Are you looking for
resources or research to
guide your project?
We’re excited that you’re here to count down what we learned in 2016
Bigger & better things to come in 2017!
What does BH do?
Work with chapter-based associations to simplify the operations and financial complexities of having chapters.
We’re just going to jump right into the takeaways
Your first step should be to identify your current situation and state. Awareness is a good start.
Where are you at? Do a self assessment – answer these questions.
Are you looking to make a change?
Are you in the process of making a change?
Are you simply trying to optimize the change?
List out the who, what, where, when, why and how that are involved.
Red FlagsLook for & identify red flags, some examples include:
Frequent chapter leader/volunteer turnover
Consistently asking questions or complete silence
Conflicting strategic objectives
Sharp decreases in membership or metrics
Stagnate membership model
Poor chapter experience
Create a plan - Creating a plan lets you get everyone on the same page
Develop a clear change vision
Consider the impact for ALL levels of the org
Commit to managing the process through a thoughtful strategy
Support the people affected by the change
Not all organizations are the same. Define what truly matters to your organization. Something that works for one association might not work for another.
Once you know your challenges and obstacles, you need to figure out what your goals are.
What are the strategic objectives at HQ?
What are your chapter’s strategic objectives? (if different)
What does leadership value?
What are they measuring?
What are they investing in?
What support do they want from HQ?
Know what information matters in your association. You may need to rope in some additional parties internally to get everyone on the same page as to what you should be measuring and where the biggest data gaps are.
SuccessSet a number that if you reach it, your initiative will be considered successful.
How can you know you’re reaching/not reaching your goals if you don’t track them? Create a weekly scorecard. Check in with your team/the appropriate parities on a regular basis. If you’re not hitting your goals, don’t wait until the end of the initiative to bring it up. Have real dialogue and come up with 3 solutions.
Make sure you have the right people involved.
Know that this process is going to evolve. Be able to adapt.
Next—and harder—is getting the status quo to change, so you have to start small!
Keep It Simple
Professionals often try to multitask to get more work done more quickly. But in reality, multitasking reduces productivity.
Don’t know where to start? Ideas:
Define 2-3 KPIs to begin with
Start with a few data points or one revenue stream. Taking on too much at once will be a huge burden and could be distracting towards your ultimate goal.
Pilot & Test
Not sure how to gain adoption? Find your early adopters and use them as a small test pilot. Use them to get all the kinks out before launching a new initiative. You would rather have it fail on a small scale than with your whole membership, etc.
FailureIt’s okay to fail. Failure often holds us back.
Low hanging fruit – start with info you have access to…if not what you want, find out how you can leverage for social proof to go do what you want to do
Another good rule of thumb: Once you have metrics in hand, focus on the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent of chapters to identify both what the high performers are doing differently and what the underperformers may need help with.
Example: At BH we have an idea to build a community for CRPs
We surveyed CRPs
Instead of making a big bet, we’re going to make a series of small ones
Going with LinkedIn Group instead of buying community software
When we learn from small bets, we will make decision on big bet
If we find the community is solving problems for CRPs then we will invest into software, better tools, etc. (based on feedback)
Use data to tell a story – there’s nothing more powerful than being able to prove something through numbers
Collecting dataFiguring out how to collect the data can be the biggest challenge, especially how to collect it in the most painless way for chapter administrators/volunteers and staff.
Technology is usually the answer and knowing if systems you already use are capable of accomplishing this or if you need to evaluate and select a solution if that is in your associations best interest to do so.
Start with excel…eventually you can move on to something fancier like a data aggregator
Interpret dataYou need to understand what the data is telling you.
Are chapters struggling with member retention?
Is acquisition a challenge?
Are majority of chapters struggling with a particular metric or is there something they’re all doing pretty well at and you had no idea?
Does any of the data confirm patterns you suspected?
Or do some things completely surprise you
Put it to use
Sharing this information throughout your organization can be extremely helpful in helping everyone understand what is happening at a chapter level, where you’re most profitable and can help shape strategic objectives.
Use it! Sounds obviously but too many organizations have data and information at their fingertips and don’t use it to it’s fullest potential.
How can the data shape your strategic objectives to drive more revenue, increase member satisfaction and offer greater value?
If you have specific chapters that are doing something really well, how can you leverage that and educate your other chapters increase performance?
Using your data allows you to set standards – when you know a standard is possible and have the data to back it up, you can take steps to get other chapters to that standard and hopefully prevent push back.
Remember: Data is Your Friend
Associations with a renewal rate of >80% more likely to use a fixed renewal rate (56% vs. 22%)
88% of associations with renewal rate of >80% have some kind of grace period
53% of associations use Instagram (Millennials)
On average, 29% of student memberships convert to full memberships
The bulk of individual/professional associations have dues between $200 & $299; Trade associations of $1000 or more
Have you talked to your fellow Component Relations Professionals? They might have all the answers.
It may sound obvious, but have you reached out to other people who are facing similar problems? Do you know how they solved them?
No, this isn’t a sale pitch. We’re more than happy to consult and connect you with other chapter professionals who have experienced and solved similar challenges. Every organization and challenge is unique, but let’s not reinvent the wheel.
When’s the last time you surveyed your members or your volunteers/chapter leaders?
Don’t wait for them to leave, get their feedback while they’re happy.
Survey your chapters and members
-Where is the member value highest?
-Chapters struggling to provide value?
Dresden example Face-to-face, two-way communication w/ leaders
Chapters are your greatest grassroots asset. Cherish and value their feedback. Be sure that you’re experiencing membership first hand.
Survey your members & chapters
For a survey to be effective, you need to have a direct way to measure the feedback you receive and be able to effectively share takeaways and learnings with the organization internally (and externally to chapters, where it makes sense). We have volunteer survey starter questions that we can provide you with if interested.
WORK BACKWARDS - Know what you want to learn & determine what questions you need to ask from there
TEST - Test your survey with a small pilot group first
Member Value - If you don’t already know this, you should figure it out sooner rather than later. This helps give you a platform to engage in constructive dialogue with your chapters. It also helps you understand where chapters are aligned with the parent organization, and where they don’t align
Chapters Struggling to Provide Value - Finding a disconnect between what value members want from their membership and what chapters are focusing on and offering is a big deal and tees up the national well to ask questions about how they can provide support or resources to the chapters to ensure they’re meeting members’ needs.
Create a working/advisory group
Chapter Advisory or working groups can be a great way to bridge communication between chapters and nationals for a few reasons:
You’re constantly encouraging their input and feedback. You can share this input and opinions with other chapters or open it up to more than just the advisory group
Geographically diverse (and chapter size) allows you to get multiple different perspectives to ensure that the voice of all chapters are represented in some fashion
Opens up communication and increases comfort levels and trust
Also allows for you to pilot initiatives and solutions with these advisory chapters – this helps you build credibility for tactics that you want to roll out to other chapters and gives credibility because their peers are telling the story
The Ask - Have board members or the CEO reach out to chapters leaders/volunteers directly and ask them to be part of the advisory group.
The Vision - Share the intent and what end results the organization is looking to get out of the working group so they know what their role is and what they are contributing to. This gets chapter leaders involved in the strategic plan which then helps further align chapters and national.
Share the takeaways and learnings from the survey internally and externally (when appropriate) – if you received particularly good insight from a specific chapter, share that with them and use the feedback as a way to have a face-to-face meeting and better understand their input and feedback.
Professional development & local networking were top of the list for member value @ the chapter level. They then are figuring out how they can potentially assist chapters in supporting administrative work and provide tools so they can focus on professional development & local networking. (Add a shameless plug for the webinar the next week with Chip)
Invest in the right chapter support. Chapter leaders/volunteers = one of an association’s greatest assets. Don’t treat them as free labor. Make their time and experience valuable and useful. Think of it as professional development for your staff.
Chapter leaders/volunteers – In today’s competitive world, many chapter leaders and volunteers are going to take on the role because they are passionate AND because they want to develop and hone their professional skills and experience. If you’re not supporting those needs in addition to the resources and tools they need to effectively run a chapter – you’re going to continue to see turnover and burnout.
If you start to support professional development of leaders as well as the chapter, you’re going to see the relationship strengthen because national will be viewed as a resource rather than a controlling entity, and chapter leaders are viewed as worth investing in, which gives them purpose.
Reduce the burden
Too much responsibility is placed on the chapters and volunteers
Tools & Templates – 77.8% of chapter reporting having no standardized templates to leverage. This in itself is staggering. That means chapters are reinventing materials and information for the same purpose over and over again across multiple different chapters. This is not a good use of anyone’s time. Standardize processes across all chapters. Make them:
Unified System – According to the Wild Apricot Chapter Benchmark Study – 62.7% of chapters are solely responsible for their own websites. We can only derive what that means for member management systems or AMSs. With so much technology scattered around, chapter leaders don’t have the right resources to support them since national doesn’t use the same system and we know the majority of chapters don’t have IT staff. It also makes support much more challenging for national because it’s not that they don’t want to help…but they don’t have the ability to support a system they are unfamiliar with and don’t use.
Training & professional development
Launch online professional development training programs specifically for your chapter leaders or offer a discount (or free) on existing professional development training
Sessions and networking events targeted specifically to chapter leaders at annual meeting – how can you get leaders there? Cover costs? Offer incentives? Etc.
Set them up for success from day one:
Create an actual training video/slides/tutorial guide (have a portal/place to house this info) - If you have standardized tools it’s easier to provide consistent guides and training materials
Budget to visit Chapters leaders face-to-face
Have a chapter & volunteer best practices guide
Create a forum for discussing problems
Mentor Program - partner new volunteers w/experienced ones
New Chapter Leader boot camp training
Provide volunteers with Leadership/professional development & technical assistance = critical
Create a volunteer university with training modules using an LMS
How to/Cheat Sheets
E-Learning training videos
Online Community: Shared learning
Leadership advisory group
Example: The Ontario Real Estate Association addressed this issue with a video training series (see this Associations Now post). Let's take their lead. Video provides an easy and effective way of preparing our volunteers. Marketing teams see video as secret weapon: 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium and 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.
CoSN example of boot camp @ annual meeting, covered and educated on:
Chapter goals & plans
Professional development (speaking, etc.)
Chapter award program
Succession planSometimes all of these tactics don’t work out and the volunteer isn’t the right fit. So in the Where do you start? Make sure you have everything in place before you face the challenge of replacing someone. Don’t miss an opportunity! Start young…
Students as program planners. One chapter, which like most of the FEI chapters, offers a college student scholarship program. Too often these scholarships are handed out and then everyone moves on – a missed opportunity. This chapter reversed this by establishing a “junior board” to which their recent recipients are appointed. This group has responsibility for planning two CFO breakfasts, obtaining the speaker for the scholarship night and being the organization’s rep on campus to promote the scholarship. One breakfast brought CFOs and students/younger pros together so seasoned executives could provide their insight; the other was designed to help seniors executives better understand the Millennial generation. The win-win was getting senior CFOs who aren’t terribly engaged in events to attend because it connected with their passion for developing the next generation while keeping the students engaged.
One thing that can be easily forgotten is setting a regular cadence for everything. Reviewing KPIs, creating strategic action plans, tracking membership recruitment, retention & engagement, checking in with volunteers and chapter leaders, etc. It all needs to be reviewed on regular basis.
Communication is a two-way streetIt seems obvious, but it is too often forgotten that communication between the parent and chapters is a two-way street. And the parent organization is the one that needs to set the tone, but that often doesn’t happen.
Parent organizations have expectations of their chapters, but that isn’t always articulated, so chapters don’t know what is expected of them, it gets frustrating. Chapters sometimes feel that national doesn’t care about what they think or do and it creates tension and a sense of bitterness.
So if you don’t remember the last time you asked your chapters for input on strategic objectives or initiatives, you are distancing yourself from your chapters or components and creating a rift. Chapters want to feel acknowledged and want their input to be valued. Even if you don’t utilize the input, as long as they know that you are digesting and considering that feedback and asking for it, it puts you in a better position to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Set a base lineSurvey new & old volunteers to see where they’re at & set a baseline – be sure to report back the results (set up a regular cadence for this – yearly, twice a year…whatever works for you)
Understand where their biggest pains are and then address them
Invest in volunteers – they are your greatest recruitment asset – have a face to face conversation. Address their concerns. Budget to travel to see them.
We recognize that while the central organization (or head office) and their chapters share a vision and mission as well as a desire to serve their members, often their perspective, priorities, available resources, practices, and procedures may differ.
Support system – create a consistent communication rhythm
According to Peggy, it’s important to understand there is a difference between schedule, routine and rhythm. The key to rhythm is that it centers on the concept of “around.”
When there is frequent communication, a volunteer feels supported and valued.
Utilize the team to agree on a standard practice of how often to check-in
Create cues that alert volunteers to important news/dates (same subject line for important emails that require a response)
Understand that you might have to adjust the timing – set calendar reminders, but be flexible
Buddy system: partner volunteers with another chapter volunteer at close geographic location (set cadence for checking)
Have an online discussion/forum
Maybe provide a monthly best practice webinar
Put it on the calendar
We’re creatures of habit and we all forget things. Putting it on a calendar with a reminder, helps keep everyone honest and in the loop.
How can you hold your chapters and volunteers/leaders accountable, if you don’t have clear expectations? Create ground rules and then hold chapters accountable to the standards
When were they last updated? Do chapter leaders even know what they are?
Is there a discrepancy between perceived and actual expectations? Host a roundtable or launch a survey
This should really be the foundation of the relationship between chapters and national and provide a place to come back to when there are disagreements, misunderstandings or push back from either side.
Bylaws, expectations and rules of affiliation – Have all chapters agree to the rules of affiliation and expectations that are outlined in the bylaws
The lines should be very clear regarding what is expected of them, what information they need to share, what resources and support they can expect from national and what they are responsible for managing on their own.
Chapter Expectations – This can include what specific membership or financial information they need to share with national, what membership level they need to maintain, revenue expectations, event frequency, tax filing requirements, etc.
Rules of Affiliation
‘Principles of Affiliation?’ = collaborative effort and clear definitions of who is responsible for what, and to what extent
Defines relationship between national & chapter
Outline the common goal you’re working to achieve and how the structure works to accomplish them
Outline guiding principles core to your org (give examples like below)
Obligation of delivering membership value
Outline mutual respect, transparency and decision-making expectations
Agreement to ethics & professional practice
Financial management expectations & responsibilities
Proper management of reputation & brand
Outline how the org gets things done – guidance for the affiliates (provide examples below)
Volunteer involvement, expectations and acknowledgement
Affiliate qualifications and standards
Programs and services provided by the affiliate to members
Membership satisfaction expectations and measuring
Management and allocation of incoming revenue
Advocacy expectations and alignment
Committee and task force approval and involvement
Communication objectives and messaging
Resources (fiscal, technical or people) assistance
Training and development opportunities for volunteers and leaders
Volunteer Guiding PrinciplesHandling volunteers can be challenging for an association, they are often the people who keep your organization going. However, if expectations for communication and operations aren’t set, volunteers can be a burden rather than a help.
Setting expectations to prevent deadbeat volunteers
Define the why, how do volunteers impact overall strategy?
Let volunteers know they’re important to the success, longevity and culture of the org
Outline ways volunteers will be supported by the org, make sure they know you’re there for them and not left out to dry
Identify core principles that align with org’s culture (ex: value, accountability, diversity, promotion, communication)
- Outline standards for both volunteers & org to provide transparency as to how they are expected to perform, manage tasks & responsibilities and how those are measured.
Go above and beyond to recognize your volunteers – give them more than a thank you
This can boost morale and effectiveness
Don’t want to play by the rules?
Know that it’s Ok to Dissolve a Chapter
VOICE OF CHANGE
Notifications of any major changes need to come from board or CEO
Just remember, membership is complicated work. Not every plan or idea you come up with will be all rainbows and roses.
Paralysis by Analysis
The state of over-analyzing (or over thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken in effect paralyzing the outcome.
You might spend 6 months creating a plan and then it fails on day 1. Look at all the time you will have wasted. Don’t do something unless you can test it right now.
Figure out what works best for you, but don’t get paralyzed by analytics. Pick one or two performance indicators that reflect your strategic objectives and to keep focus on consistent, valuable content production.
Fear of failure (trying to be perfect on the first shot)
Some things will fail.
Fear of not knowing how to do it “right”
Fear of finding out things that contradict conventional wisdom
Fear of having to do things differently as a result of what the business intelligence is telling them
Focus on the positive
Start small by boosting confidence
It all starts with you!
You don’t have to have all the answers, but need to know how to go about getting them done
Are you talking to local leaders?
Have you asked how to make the process easier?
Are you holding them accountable?
Just a quick recap…ask them to set 2-3 New Year’s Resolutions
You can even email them to us if you need someone to hold you accountable
Call to action! Do you have a project, business case or are you just looking for resources? We can help! It’s our holiday gift to you…and it’s FREE.
http://www.billhighway.co/assn-fact-finders/ or http://bit.ly/2ggYTsM
How does it work? We’ll provide…
RESOURCES - We'll aggregate resources that apply to your chapter project
TAKEAWAYS - Present applicable resource takeaways in a cheat sheet format
TEMPLATES - Provide or suggest tools and templates when appropriate
FACT FINDING EXAMPLE:
Here is an example of Fact Finding we've done (but definitely not limited to):
Project: An association was looking for information and guidance on launching virtual chapters
Fact Finding: We provided scholarly articles, whitepapers, articles from industry leaders, trends and highlights regarding virtual chapters
As always, you can find on demand webinars on our Knowledge Bank – check it out!
We’re heavily investing in providing education to chapter-based associations since we’ve learned that there is a huge void of information and educational material for component relations professionals (CRPs). That is where our primary focus is right now.
What do you want to hear about in 2017?
What do you prefer to webinars?
Where do you go for your chapter information?
Where would you like to go to find chapter information?
Do you have an examples of auto renewal/monthly installment fails/successes?
Do you incentivize members to renew?
Do you offer multi-year renewals?
Do you offer early bird renewal pricing?
What topics do you want more of?
What templates do you need?
What other tools do you want to hear about? (worksheets, fil in the blank, examples, copy and paste)
Where are you going/what are you searching to get info?
What medium would you like tools to be delivered to you? (email, blog, social, online community/forum, etc)
Where do you want to find the tools? (website, email, social, etc)
How often would you like to hear from us?
What is your inbox missing?
What would make your job easier?