Empowering your chapters with data to meet association goals

Shepherd Smith

July 9, 2021

    Your central office and chapters can be more successful when they can share and track common goals and measurements.

    Chapters and Associations Blog

    Here’s a real-world example of how data can help you set your association’s goals and empower your chapters to help you reach (and exceed) those goals.  

    If your association has chapters, you know that they can offer a lot of value to your association. With the right approaches, chapters can help you reach your organization’s goals. 

    Our friend, Peggy M. Hoffman from Mariner, wrote a great guest article on this blog about collaborating with local chapters to drive national goals. In it, she focused on three ways to collaborate with chapters to drive member engagement: 

    • The trickle up – This approach is when a national organization follows the lead of successful programs from their local chapters. After all, if an idea works locally, chances are it will work for other chapters and even at the national level. 
       
    • The win-win – This approach is when a national organization has a program best carried out locally, or for which a local component might drive its success, and the national organization provides an incentive (money or other added value) for the chapters to participate. 
       
    • The hive mind – In this approach, national organizations test-drive programs and strategies with chapters, or get feedback from chapters in other ways, before rolling out programs at the national level. 

    Today, I’d like to expand on this list with another approach: empowering your chapters with data analytics 

    The power of data in your association’s work with chapters

    With NetForum, we’ve found that providing chapters with ongoing access to data visualizations of their activity and results can empower them to achieve goals and support the efforts of the national office. Involving chapters in your national organization’s activities is more successful when both the central office and the chapters can share and track a common set of organizational measurements (such as member and renewal counts) and goals (such as conference registrations). 

    For example, you can empower chapter officers to drive registrations for your annual meeting by providing them a dashboard of registration sales results compared with other chapters –building friendly competition between the chapters. The officers can be allowed to explore the data further through comparisons to prior year data, weeks-out registration numbers, and actual individual activity. With this shared view, chapters can see their progress, and the national office can see a holistic view of all the chapters’ trends and behaviors.  

    A real-world example: Increasing annual event attendance
    The Illinois Principals Association (IPA) used NetForum and Nucleus to blend and analyze behavioral data of both members and non-members with a special focus on event attendance. Given the fact that members could attend most events at no charge, it had been their belief that non-members would account for a high percentage of their paid event revenue. They discovered that 50 percent, however, of their professional development revenue came from members – an indication that members see more value in attending events such as the annual conference and would be willing to pay for that value. 

    Based on these conclusions, IPA set a goal to increase event attendance substantially through more extensive promotion to current members. They set both an overall goal and gave each of their 21 chapters an individual member registration goal, along with chapter-specific Nucleus dashboards. 

    Each chapter had an ongoing view of their current registrant numbers, their goal, and their progress toward the goal. Chapter leaders also had access to the other regions’ goals and progress metrics – not just their own.  

    There are multiple benefits to this approach:  

    • This level of visibility creates not only a sense of camaraderie between the chapter leaders and the parent organization staff, but also a sense of ownership and accountability among the chapter leaders for their specific goals. 
       
    • When chapter leaders can see how other regions are doing, they’re not only motivated to keep working toward their goal, but they’re also able to identify the other regions that are doing well and reach out to them for tips, tricks, and suggestions. 
       
    • Similarly, the parent organization’s staff can identify those regions in need of extra assistance, as well as the shining stars who can share their successes with others.  

    The result? This was IPA’s best-attended conference in eight years. IPA exceeded their goal, increasing their annual event attendance by 30 percent.   

    Learn more
    Find out more about how the new NetForum Cloud (with Nucleus data analytics) can help you manage your association and your chapters: Explore NetForum and when you are ready, Request a Conversation. 


     

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