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[Chicago Workshop] Virtual Chapters & Online Communities: Should We or Shouldn’t We?


[Chicago Workshop] Virtual Chapters & Online Communities: Should We or Shouldn’t We?

Got Chapters?Are you considering adding virtual chapters or online communities to provide additional member value? We’ll come together to discuss elements your association should take into consideration when exploring virtual components/communities. This includes volunteer roles and management, technology, membership models, financial backing and ultimately…is going virtual really the answer?

We’ll dive into…

what has been tried

what has worked (and what hasn’t)

what to consider when evaluating whether virtual components are the right option for your association

what is the difference between a virtual chapter and an online community? Is there actually a difference that’s relevant?

In this workshop, you’ll spend time collaborating and brainstorming with your peers so you can leave with fresh ideas and action items you can share or implement once you’re back at the office. So come join us to answer this 21st-century question…should we, or shouldn’t we meet virtually. 


The structure of this workshop will be a mix of prepared content, group brainstorming and roundtable discussions. 

8:00 – 8:30 am – Registration & Morning Meet Up

8:30 – 8:45 am – Welcome & Kick-Off (Icebreaker)

8:45 – 9:00 am – Why Do We Want Virtual?Why are we talking about virtual chapters/communities in the first place? What are we trying to achieve? How can virtual components make a difference in our chapter offerings? We’ll start by uncovering the motive for building and investing in these virtual communities.

9:00– 9:45 am – Key Components of Virtual Chapters/Online CommunitiesThere are a lot of different aspects to take in consideration when thinking about virtual communities. We’ll dive into three key areas and collaborate to identify what you should be evaluating.

Volunteers: Let’s be real, these communities don’t run themselves…what role do volunteers play, how do you train them, support them and ensure they’re set up for success?

Technology Needs: Virtual chapters and online communities couldn’t exist without technology, so it’s important to consider what framework will make the most sense? How do members interact? How is engagement measured? What are the costs? Have you thought about maintenance? There’s a lot to dig into on this one!

Dues & Financial Support: Money, money, money – we have to talk about the money. Let’s explore member dues, non-dues revenue opportunities, and membership models for those who belong to virtual communities. What budget is needed to start up, maintain AND be successful?

9:45 – 10:00 am – Break

10:00 – 11:00 am – Virtual Chapters in Real LifeThis is where you’ll get to hear real examples of what other associations are doing to bring virtual elements to their chapters and how they’re hacking a hybrid model to deliver value to members.   

11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Building A Blueprint for Your Virtual ChapterAfter taking the morning to dive into some of the key areas for consideration and hearing from folks who have already done it, now it’s time to build your ideal virtual chapter. We’ll outline the key elements you’ll need to incorporate to make your virtual chapters successful and the steps to help get you started.

12:00 – 1:00pm – Lunch & NetworkingWe’ll be providing lunch for you to enjoy onsite to continue networking with your fellow peers!


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Map Association Forum, 10 S Riverside Plaza #800, Chicago, United States
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