Unlock the effectiveness of your affiliates and chapters

Two people looking at multiple computer screens.

Review for effectiveness

I surveyed the effectiveness of 377 affiliate partnerships and chapters that distribute programs locally for five national nonprofit organizations with assets ranging from less than $500,000 to $80,000,000. The affiliates are independent 501(c)(3) organizations. And the chapters are a mix of independent 501(c)(3) organizations and entities that operate under the aegis of the parent organization. The source of information for the survey was from their websites and social media pages.

Have an open mind when reviewing for effectiveness

And as I was collecting data for my survey, new articles appeared in my Feedly feed that caught my attention. So I took a break to read them and found four related to my survey.

The first article by Greg Warner of MarketSmart is about things donors don’t care about, such as financial efficiency, amazingness, accounting, complexity, desperation, and the heroism of a charity’s administrator or founder.

The second article, by Dr. Aaron Horschig of Squat University, is about strengthening core muscles around our spine. The author asks the reader to imagine a symphony orchestra composed of countless musicians playing their instruments in a united manner with constant changes in tempo and volume. Our body must coordinate every muscle and joint to create purposeful and sound movement.

The third article, by Pritha Venkatachalam, Jan Schwier, Keshav Kanoria, Erica Lezama, Amrutha Datla, and Bill Breen was posted on Bridgespan Group website. The article is about peer-driven change, the mindset of community-driven organizations, and the pathways of community-driven change.

The fourth article, by Anne Wallestad of Board Source, was posted on the Stanford Social Innovation Review website. The article is about the principles of purpose-driven board leadership.

List your findings to unlock effectiveness

Here are some findings of my survey of 377 affiliate and chapter groups.

  1. 22-groups, or 5.85%, have broken links on their home page.
  2. 43-groups, or 11.41%, keep their Facebook events current.
  3. 52-groups, or 13.79%, follow program standards.
  4. 109-groups, or 29.91%, have missing or outdated copyright.
  5. 127-groups, or 33.69%, keep their Facebook posts current.
  6. 259-groups, or 68.70%, have a call to action above the fold.
  7. 359-groups, or 95.23%, have a working website.

Standouts

Numbers three, two, five, and six stand out among the findings.

Thoughts

Here are the ways I thought the four articles on Feedly relate to my data:

  1. People who support our organizations are the hero.
  2. People who govern & operate our organizations are on the same team as people who support our organizations.
  3. People who participate at the local level of our affiliates and chapters have the assets to effect real change.
  4. Being ill-informed challenges the context of any situation.

No doubt my review of these groups is casual. My method was cursory, and the sampling was small. And, I did not rate the strength of call to action statements. I merely counted if there was one. And when I shared this data with the organizations, their feedback confirmed my findings. And they added that the survey results matched the discussions they were having about branding, capacity, compliance, maintenance, messaging, and planning that also impact fundraising and recruitment.

Having clear objectives helps compliance, communications, program operations, and thoughtful planning improves almost everything.

Many groups are out of sync with program standards.

One of the nonprofit organizations with six-million dollars in assets has 120 affiliates. All the affiliates have the same objectives and work toward the same goals. The organization makes a semi-customizable website template available to all its affiliates to help them tell the same story. The main menu on the website template uses four-page names to help visitors navigate its programs. Survey results show affiliates replace the four items in the main menu of the standard template with 120 different page names in their main menus. This behavior is not specific to this organization. All the nonprofit organizations in the survey experience this behavior.

I wonder if other national nonprofit organizations that distribute programs locally through affiliate partnerships and chapters experience some of these issues? And, how do these behaviors impact the affiliate or chapter’s ability to raise awareness and funds?

Also, some affiliates do not mention the program they distribute by name in their text.

Can these findings be mitigated? You bet!

Takeaways

Compliance and planning rely on us having a clear understanding of our external and internal audiences. And needs for the people in our organization to work together. Then finally, to have the bravery and the capacity to take action.

Do you have comments about this article or want to talk more about it?

If you have comments that you want to share, please share them in the comments section below or click this link to get in touch.

Photo credit

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels.

Find more information like this

You can find more information for board members and executives on my blog, Alamode.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading this article. I appreciate your time.

# # #

You might be interested in …