Posted on Aug 22, 2022

With chapters spread across the country or the globe, getting everyone to work together in concert is like conducting an orchestra. Each individual section makes up a portion of the organization as a whole, but together, you create a symphony of music. It's all about the smaller, local groups working together to create something wonderful as one cohesive organization.

Ready for your organization to make some music together?

It takes work to build a successful chapter model for your association. There's a lot involved to keep multiple local entities all working together for the regional, national and even international goals as well.

Here are a few ways to support your local chapters and work together toward a common goal:

Be Flexible

Each chapter is unique to its own individual location and membership. Don't try to force size versus geography or other factors. Instead, let chapters evolve as they need. Forcing all of your chapters to follow the exact same parameters doesn't always work out in real life. Be willing to evolve and adapt as needed with your local chapters.


Local chapters are the parts that make up the whole. To keep membership streamlined, have your member join process run through the national association. Then allow members to join chapters accordingly. This keeps the member journey consistent across the board with your chapters and ensures data is always up-to-date on the national and chapter level.

Collaborate Early

Involve your chapters in major decisions and initiatives and give them a seat at the table when it comes to projects that ultimately affect them. Put together a beta group of early adopters or a chapter committee, who can give you early insight from unique perspectives that you may otherwise not think of. This will give you more buy in from other chapter leaders knowing that you didn't make the decision unilaterally.

Transition Times

Give your local chapters time to transition to new policies and technology tools. To start, don't mandate the changes immediately, but give each chapter an adjustment period to get on board with the idea and allow for discussions and clarification. You'll have more buy in from individual chapters when you do so.

Meet and Support

Meet regularly with your chapter leaders. Make it clear that a regional or national level is there as a resource. Have a designated point person, that way when a chapter needs support, they know who to reach out to. Consider a recurring roundtable on a quarterly basis to share updates, remind chapters of upcoming milestones, and collect feedback.

Transparency Is Key

Transparency is the foundation of any organization. It builds trust and loyalty. Focus on what you and a local chapter jointly care about and work together on that. Building a culture of transparency works best when its modeled from the top down, so any national association needs to be intentional about plans, updates, initiatives, and more. The local chapters will learn to follow suit.

Change the Perspective

Put your chapters first and in the spotlight. When national puts its chapters first and foremost, this allows national to showcase the great things that are happening at the local level. This not only recognizes chapters for their hard work, but can help inspire other local chapters as well.


One simple way to support your chapters is by giving them a seamless membership experience that jives with your national membership. Chapter portals can be a great resource to make membership management, data organization, and communications a breeze for all, while maintaining your unified brand.

Final Thoughts

Ditch the us versus them mentality when it comes to your chapter based organization. Keep your presence consistent within the local chapters and help them build a community. When you support your local chapters instead of forcing them into the mold you want, you'll find that each local chapter will make bigger gains in membership and prestige for the organization as a whole.