Supporter engagement

Salesforce communities for associations

Chapters are a fundamental element of the membership experience. Many members join your association solely for chapter benefits, but later come to realize the impact their national membership makes on their profession or business.

The Salesforce Community Cloud—or Communities for short—helps associations improve both the chapter member and volunteer chapter leader experience. Communities is a CRM-based online social and functional platform where members and staff collaborate and interact in real-time as well as share data, content and files.

Communities also helps associations improve their relationship with chapters, support volunteer chapter leaders, and align chapters with national branding and strategic direction.

Deepen chapter member engagement with Communities

The two most common reasons for joining an association are to learn and to develop relationships with other members. Communities helps your chapters deliver both these benefits to their members. An online community allows chapter members to connect with each other throughout the year, not just at face-to-face events.

Communities helps members get their questions answered and problems solved. They can receive product/service recommendations and introductions to fellow members and prospective clients on Communities. One answered question or introduction alone is often worth the price of membership dues.

Tag discussion topics in Communities so chapter members can easily find conversations that interest them. Besides the opportunity to contribute their knowledge, members can enhance their reputation when others upvote their content or nominate them as topic experts.

Create regional and topical groups within your community. For example, start a group for the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter as well as a group for all Texas members. Members may wish to create a local certification exam study group or a group for conference first-timers from their region.

Members can reach beyond their local chapter to find others with similar interests and profiles. For example, they could find members in non-competing markets who may be interested in forming a mastermind group.

Your member data stays current since members can update their profile themselves. With more accurate and complete data, your association and chapters can better target relevant content and promotions to members.

Deepen engagement by connecting members with appropriate chapter volunteering opportunities. Members can fill out a volunteer profile with their interests, availability, and leadership experience. A configurable user interface (UI) populates those fields directly into Salesforce. Chapters post volunteer opportunities in their Communities group where members can sign up for volunteer “jobs.”

Create a members-only resource library and event calendar in Communities. Salesforce Einstein AI makes recommendations for relevant content based on a member’s past activity. You can customize this content by including intelligent elements such as personalized post feeds, highlighted unanswered questions, and recommended articles, experts, or topics.

Provide training and support to chapter leaders with Communities

Chapter leaders are busy professionals trying to juggle two jobs: their full-time career and their extracurricular “job” at the chapter. You can help them in three significant ways by:

  • Reducing their administrative burden so they can focus on chapter services.
  • Facilitating collaboration and communication between the chapter and national, and between chapter leaders.
  • Providing continual training and support from your association and from their chapter leader peers.

Communities helps to alleviate the administrative workload of chapter leaders by eliminating the paperwork involved with the membership join and renewal processes. Members can take care of these processes online without chapter leaders having to intercede. Member data is automatically shared with the national association so chapter leaders can focus on what really matters to the chapter and its members: programming, member engagement, and membership marketing.

Chapter leaders and committee members can access real-time membership data and reports. For example, they can look at a snapshot of a member’s engagement and community participation to identify at-risk members. They can spot highly engaged members (possible leadership candidates) and move them toward deeper engagement and volunteerism. They can direct new members toward relevant resources they haven’t tried yet.

Communities also facilitates chapter leader collaboration, communication, and decision-making. Chapter officers, directors, and committee members can create private groups for sharing materials and communicating between meetings. Directors can prepare for meetings by accessing a board portal containing meeting materials and governance dashboards for secure online reports and real-time data.

Store chapter leader training resources, for example, toolkits and how-to guides, in Communities. When it’s time for the annual review of chapters’ affiliation agreement compliance, you can direct them to Communities where they can complete a requirements checklist or a chapter self-assessment. Set up reminders for chapter leaders so they file their 990 on time, register for an upcoming training webinar, or meet the hotel deadline for the annual conference.

Peer support is as important as support from the national association. Set up a private group for chapter leaders where they can share best practices, advice, and ideas with their peers from across the country or globe.

Why Communities is a great fit for associations with chapters or affiliates

Busy volunteer leaders usually don’t have the expertise or time to maintain a chapter website. Take the task out of their hands. The basic chapter templates provided by Communities eliminate concerns about website security, domain expiration, hosting issues, and outdated or missing functionality. You can ensure chapters use consistent images, colors, and branding, and provide the right resources to members and prospects.

Use Communities to push out critical information to chapter members and leaders, such as national and state advocacy alerts, news bulletins and articles, and FAQs. You can embed this content in group announcements or action requests delivered at the individual user level.

Chapter leader discussion groups are a great source of intel for chapter and affiliate relations staff at the national association. By listening in, they can direct leaders to relevant resources and identify challenges that merit the development of additional training.

With automated data sharing and the ability of members to update their own profiles, there’s less opportunity for data entry errors. You no longer have to wonder if a chapter is reporting the correct number of members or submitting the correct amount of dues. You can proactively help chapters identify at-risk members and suggest targeted messaging and engagement tactics.

More accurate and comprehensive chapter data allows you to benchmark chapter performance. You can identify low-performing chapters that need more support and share the success stories of high-performing chapters.

To learn more about the impact Salesforce Communities can make on your chapters or affiliates, contact Fíonta.