ASHI’s new Chapter Consulting Program has contracted with three ASHI Certified Inspectors as trainers to conduct on-site development of management and chapter planning skills to struggling chapters. In 2009, leaders of up to 20 chapters will receive training in organizational planning, communications and meeting structure to help them retain members and to grow.
The training will be done by ASHI Certified Inspectors because only another inspector can really understand the challenges a chapter faces. The trainers will travel to the chapters, so the training can specifically address the local issues rather than be generic, such as is offered at the annual Leadership Training Conference.
In 2006, David Sherwood, Chapter Relations Committee chair, visited Boise Idaho, the Southwestern Idaho chapter. Chapter membership had dropped from 12 to five, and the three active members were tired of doing all the work.
After researching area demographics, he concluded this could be a viable chapter with the right changes. The first night, the officers and Dave brainstormed and from that session, he drafted the basis for a plan. The following day, the officers and directors and Dave met before attending the monthly chapter meeting. Using the chapter members’ goals and the chapter CD, he put together a training program to give them some direction in how to structure their chapter. Today, the Boise Chapter has 18 members and is growing strong.
The Boise program was successfully repeated in four other chapters.
The members of the Central Florida chapter were blaming their problems on the economy. Although the new president disagreed, he wasn’t sure what to do and how to gain the cooperation to make changes. After going through the same program, the chapter was able to retain 16 of its 26 members and has since grown to 30. Active members now prevent burnout of a few leaders, an important component in keeping a chapter strong.
When 11 members left Suncoast chapter to start a new chapter, there was difficulty between the two chapters. With some troubleshooting, Suncoast gained 12 new members and now is working with the new chapter (Wiregrass) to help it get established. Today, Suncoast has 64 members.
More success stories: Hudson Valley has 32 members, up from 13. Southern New England had 29; now, it has 59 members.
The new program
ASHI recognized the power of this program and believed it should be offered to all the chapters that need it now and eventually, to all chapters.
And that’s what the new “Chapter Consulting Program” provides. The three trainers will travel first to 20 chapters that have been identified as needing help through vitality questionnaires, additional research and chapter requests.
All the trainers are independent contractors, working for a small stipend, chosen by Russell Daniels, ASHI director of chapter relations; David Sherwood, the Chapter Relations Committee chair; and Jeff Arnold, ASHI executive director and CEO.
Gary Monfeli, Warren Tomek and David Sherwood have been selected as the trainers to put the new program into action after attending a training session at ASHI headquarters in mid-December. Tomek and Sherwood have taught at the Leadership Training Conferences for three years, and have been successful chapter presidents of the Southern New England Chapter (SNEC-ASHI). Monfeli is currently chapter president of the Northern Illinois Chapter (NIC-ASHI).
Now and in the future, all trainers will be ASHI Certified Inspectors, not direct staff personnel. The position requires knowledge only a home inspector has, such as being able to derive a chapter plan on the run while meeting with chapter members. Also, the trainer must understand planning and what it takes for a chapter to grow, and most of all be motivational, direct and specific.
A chapter will be as successful as its plan and the execution of that plan. This program will be successful with a proper plan and the right personnel to carry it out.
Measuring the results
In addition to initial chapter visits, follow-up assessments will determine if the program’s content and delivery are meeting each chapter’s needs and goals. Changes in program content will be made as warranted, keeping in mind that the beauty of the program is that it can respond to the specific issues of a chapter, something not possible at Leadership Training Conference or through other resources, such as the Chapter CD.
If, in fact, chapters are the heart of our organization, the Chapter Consulting Program is a smart investment in ASHI’s future and adds true member value.