For national non-profits/associations, local chapters can play a vital role in advancing the organization’s mission.
They help organizations reach a wider audience, gain more support, achieve their goals more effectively as well as be more in touch with the local differences in their target audience. However, for these benefits to be realized, the local chapters must be connected to the mission of the organization.
We will uncover signs that chapters aren't connected to the core mission and what you can do to fix the disconnect.
Chapter Structure and Organization
The structure and organization of your local chapters play a crucial role in connecting them to your mission. If these are not aligned with your mission, it can lead to a lack of focus, confusion, and lack of clarity in the execution of the mission.
Every multi-chapter organization is going to have its individual organizational structure. Therefore, understanding what is the best way to align your chapters to the mission is, in essence, a journey of self-discovery.
Here are some additional questions to keep in mind:
- Where does my membership sit?
- How much **autonomy** do my chapters have in making branding decisions?
- Do I have access to all the necessary data?
- Do my chapters all understand what is going on at a higher level of organization?
- How often am I communicating with my chapters and have we streamlined the process?
These questions are just a starting point in evaluating the structure of your chapter organization that will make resolving the misalignment a much easier and more efficient process.
Signs of Misalignment
Understanding misalignment is the first step in unifying all your chapters and eventually members, under one cohesive mission.
To do this, you must first take a deep dive into your chapter organizations and see if you notice any of the following signs in your local chapters. Having these may be a clear indicator that you have a misalignment.
If you don’t, not to worry. The first step in making improvements in identifying our weaknesses!
Lack of Consistency
When your local chapters do not maintain consistency in their messaging, branding, or programming, it can create confusion and dilute the impact of your organization's message.
For example, if one chapter is using a different logo or brand color than the rest of the organization, it can create a disconnect and detract from the organization's overall image. In addition, inconsistency in programming can result in a lack of cohesion in your organization's efforts to achieve its mission.
Divergent Mission Statements
When your local chapters have different mission statements than your organization, it can indicate a lack of alignment with your mission.
This can result in a disjointed approach to your organization's goals, as each chapter may be pursuing its own objectives instead of working towards the organization's overarching mission.
All chapters must understand and work towards the same mission, to ensure that everyone is working towards a shared goal.
Lack of Accountability
When your local chapters are not accountable for their actions, it can indicate that they are not connected to your mission. Accountability is essential to ensure that your chapters are working towards the goals of the organization and are using their resources effectively.
Regular reporting to the organization is an important aspect of accountability, as it provides transparency and helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Absence of Clear Goals
When your local chapters do not have clear goals that are aligned with your organization's mission plan, it can create a lack of focus and direction. This can result in a scattergun approach to achieving the organization's mission, where individual chapters pursue their own objectives instead of working towards a shared goal.
Clear goals that are aligned with the organization's mission are essential to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.
How to Fix Misalignment?
If you notice any of the above signs, it is essential to take action to fix the misalignment of your local chapters with your mission. Here are some steps you can take:
Clarify Your Mission
A clear and concise mission statement is crucial for ensuring that everyone in the organization is working towards the same goals. Organizations should take the time to develop a mission statement that is inclusive of all local chapters and clearly communicates the purpose and values of the organization.
This can be done through a collaborative process that involves all stakeholders, including local chapter leaders.
Review Chapter Missions
A comprehensive mission plan can help ensure that all local chapters are working towards the same objectives. The plan should outline the specific goals of the organization, as well as the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve them.
The plan should be shared with all local chapters and reviewed regularly to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Create Consistent Branding
To ensure consistency across all local chapters, organizations should provide clear branding guidelines that include guidelines for logos, colors, and messaging.
This can help ensure that all local chapters are presenting a cohesive image to the public and that they are aligned with the organization's mission.
Develop Clear Goals
Organizations should establish clear accountability measures for their local chapters, including regular reporting and review processes. This can help ensure that all chapters are working towards the same goals and using their resources effectively.
Regular communication and feedback can also help ensure that local chapters remain aligned with the organization's mission.
Provide Training and Support
Finally, organizations should foster collaboration among their local chapters to ensure that they are working together toward the organization's mission. This can be done through regular meetings, shared resources, and collaboration on projects and initiatives.
By working together, local chapters can achieve greater impact and ensure that they are aligned with the organization's mission.
Be a Source of Leadership
Your mission is the embodiment of the values of the organization. To get others to adopt it, you have to exhibit the leadership necessary to bring that mission to life.
Exhibiting your values in your everyday activities, putting the values of others before your own, taking ownership of your decisions, empowering others, and making sure to always provide a circle of safety.
If your chapters feel like they have a sense of direction and protection, they will follow the mission with passion.
National non-profits/associations can benefit greatly from local chapters, but only if those chapters are connected to the organization's mission. Signs of misalignment may include a lack of consistency, divergent mission statements, a lack of accountability, and unclear goals.
To fix these issues, organizations should clarify their mission, review their chapter missions, create consistent branding, develop clear goals, and provide training and support to their local chapters.
By taking these steps, national non-profits/associations can ensure that their local chapters are connected to their mission and are working effectively to achieve their goals.