This is a continuation of a series on producing a chapter toolkit. Find the previous article here. All are excerpts from the free eBook, “How to Create a Project Toolkit for Your Local Chapters.”

At this point, between your group members’ work plus the templates and examples from the chapters, the toolkit should be coming together quite nicely. Once you have a completed draft, dedicate at least two group meetings to reviewing it and providing feedback. Often, group members will have valuable suggestions for parts of the toolkit they did not write. Also, by having the group review the draft, you will get reactions from all of your stakeholders. After these discussions you will have a final draft. Now, I recommend you send that draft to at least the chapters whose examples you are using in the toolkit. Ask them to review the entire kit—not just the part they contributed to—as this is a great opportunity to not only ensure you properly represented their work but to get user feedback. After this step, you have a final toolkit that is ready for distribution.

How your association distributes the toolkit will depend upon national’s relationship with the chapters and any existing processes. Regardless though, make sure your distribution plan includes getting the toolkit into the hands of both the member leaders and the chapter staff, assuming those are not one and the same. Ideas for marketing the toolkit include:

  • Emailing the toolkit to the elected member leaders and chapter staff;
  • Mailing hard copies and/or a thumb drive with the toolkit preloaded to elected member leaders and chapter staff;
  • Uploading the toolkit to an online portal of chapter resources or similar location (e.g. Google Drive or Dropbox);
  • Writing articles and/or blog posts in publications for chapter leaders and staff explaining the toolkit;
  • Using member testimonials—in print or video—of the effect the toolkit had on their chapter (tap into those chapters who provided templates for this); and
  • Identifying a member champion in each chapter (or a few to start) to lead implementation of the toolkit.

Consider having some or all of these communications come from the members who developed the toolkit, rather than staff. This makes the ask peer-to-peer and is often more effective.

Now that the toolkit is with the chapters you could decide your work is done, but I encourage you to do two things. First, set-up a way to gauge the effectiveness of the toolkit. This could be done in many ways and will depend upon the culture at your association. Examples include:

  • The percentage of chapters that use X number of initiatives from the toolkit (where X varies so you can capture those who are smaller and only implement some of the most common activities as well as those that are larger and can work through the entire pyramid—include a question about this in your annual chapter recognition program and you do not create extra work for anyone!);
  • Survey the chapters after a set amount of time about the toolkit, asking questions that help you determine if the initial mission and vision set out for the toolkit are being realized and requesting ideas for improvement and/or challenges the chapters faced while trying to implement the toolkit (note, this does not have to be a formal survey, it could just be an email); and
  • Calling chapter staff and/or member leaders to inquire about the toolkit (often people will tell you things via phone that they are not willing to put in an email or will not think of while answering a survey—this is another time when you can ask your members from the work group to pitch in).

Any of these will give you some insights into the value of what the work group created.

The final step is to take the feedback you receive and update the toolkit on a regular basis that makes sense for your association and the toolkit. It could be every other year or, for something more time-sensitive, once a quarter. Be sure to solicit feedback on how frequently to revise the toolkit and—perhaps even more importantly—recognize that despite your best efforts to identify and build a useful resource, it is unlikely that every chapter will implement even one activity from the toolkit. And that is all right because now you know who to start with when you need ideas for the next toolkit!

Amalea Híjar association career spans over 12 years at both professional societies and trade associations serving the education, employment, manufacturing and medical industries. She is passionate about member engagement, volunteer management, and developing new products and services that enhance an association’s member value proposition.

Amalea graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in philosophy and holds a M.P.P. from the University of Maryland as well as a Non-Profit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Society for Association Executives and previously served as Chair of the Component Relations Committee and was a founding member and Communications Chair of the Young Association Executives Committee. Recently, she was named one of “Forty Under 40” by Association Forum and USAE.

Amalea Híjar association career spans over 12 years at both professional societies and trade associations serving the education, employment, manufacturing and medical industries. She is passionate about member engagement, volunteer management, and developing new products and services that enhance an association’s member value proposition. Amalea graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in philosophy and holds a M.P.P. from the University of Maryland as well as a Non-Profit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Society for Association Executives and previously served as Chair of the Component Relations Committee and was a founding member and Communications Chair of the Young Association Executives Committee. Recently, she was named one of “Forty Under 40” by Association Forum and USAE.

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