It can sometimes be a challenge for national and chapter organizations to work together. National organizations are typically referenced first for resources, expertise, recommendations or programming because regional or state chapters, which are usually smaller in terms of membership and budget, may not have as much of a presence in the industry. However, both play an equally important and complementary role as they work toward providing a valuable experience for their members.
One area where national organizations and their chapters can work together is in promoting their online career centers. National headquarters and chapters can both deploy the tech that comes with a typical online career center. They can take advantage of several opportunities to connect national organization staff with chapter members or sponsors. They can also help each other create exposure about the overall association and drive more website traffic to each other’s sites. Such promotion requires collaboration, but the results are well worth the work.
Benefits of national organizations and chapters working together
A robust website and career center starts with good, plentiful content. Nationals and chapters can trade content depending on their staffs’ areas of expertise or specialization. Good content attracts more traffic and more traffic often means a successful online career center, so a content exchange is a simple, no-cost way to get more individuals visiting. Citing content that comes from other chapters or a national hub can encourage visitors to explore other areas of your association and engage them in more topics.
Sharing career center resources and jointly shouldering their promotion doesn’t have to require a lot of work. The ideas that follow go from easiest to more involved so you can determine which would work best for your association’s needs and resources.
Deploy online and offline communications to promote your job board
It’s difficult to find a job seeker, however casually they’re browsing open positions, who doesn’t have some sort of social media presence. Why not reach them on the platforms where they’re already spending some of their free time? Work with your national organization or your chapters to share job content and information through social media profiles and news feeds. Comment on each other posts to increase the reach of such career center-promoting posts. As a chapter, you can broadcast relevant positions in your area that show up on the national feed. As a national association, you can refer people to a chapter’s social profile or website to give an extra highlight the resources they provide.
Point members and potential members to your online career center through links in your email signature, on your main website, and in all your association’s digital publications. Print your career center and social profile URLs on your business card. (Make sure the links aren’t annoyingly long to type into a browser! Use a link shortener if your association’s social URLs are longer than 25 characters.) Mention your online career center at all association events, from monthly luncheons to annual conferences. Have someone on hand at all events who knows how to use the career center, and can answer member questions about how to browse jobs and how to get listed.
Share job feeds based on demographics and geographics
If a regional chapter doesn’t have the capability to maintain its own career center but would like to provide job content, the national organization should be willing to support its chapters with a job feed customized to a chapter’s demographics and geographic area for the chapter’s website. This feed, spliced from the main national feed, requires a bit of work upfront but once it’s running, provides the chapter with an automatically-updated source of job listings and job hunting resources. Customized job feeds engage passive job seekers who are not yet members by presenting them with a helpful resource for their next career move. These filtered job feeds also make a large national association feel manageable for local members while filling open real estate on a chapter website.
This type of collaborative effort opens up dialogue between nationals and chapters, and builds a stronger relationship between the two. Sharing career center resources is a win-win situation for all involved.
Link national and chapter websites
If a chapter organization doesn’t have their own career center, they can create a main navigation link, website RSS feed or a combination of the two that directs members to the national career center. The chapter’s site provider or IT person can easily add the links and widgets to their existing website. National websites should dedicate a page that lists all chapters and links to their websites and online career centers. No matter which part of an association an individual browses, they should be able to discover all parts of an association and easily link to those parts to explore more.
Create a customized job page
If there is an extensive list of jobs pertaining to a chapter area, bring those jobs out of a sidebar feed and create a customized job page on the chapter site. Similar to a job feed, a customized job page offers more space for greater employer exposure, and can incorporate a fuller list of geographically relevant positions for local members. All clicks on the custom job page listings would be directed back to the national site. Chapters can have the ability to add career-related content to this page as well to engage their visitors longer and entice them into other areas of the site.
Embedding a job feed into a chapter-hosted page provides local members with location-based positions in your area / region while maintaining the look and feel of your overall association site.
Boxwood ‘GO’ Platform
For chapters that would like to allow members to post jobs directly to their job board while still earning non-dues revenue from the job board, the Boxwood GO platform allows you to quickly and easily launch a chapter-branded job board with just the right level of functionality. The chapter determines the fees (if any) for an employer to post and keeps 100 percent of the revenue. Contact Naylor for more information.
Join a career center network
Creating a career center network or incorporating yourself into an existing network is the more integrated option and great for chapter sites that have a need for broader career resources. Creating or joining a network provides the chapter with a career center platform which can work in tandem with their national organization’s career center. This also would provide the chapter with their own administrative platform. Additionally, in most cases revenue sharing options are available.
Naylor currently has 24 career networks established on the Boxwood Careers Platform. Here are a few examples of the ones that do an excellent job working with their chapters:
The Veterinary Career Network is one of our longest-standing networks. This is an alliance of professional associations within the veterinary industry. It includes a few National chapters, several state VMA Chapters, and veterinary schools in a collaborative effort to provide job opening notices to more than 80,000 veterinary professionals.
- The American Society of Association Executives‘ career network is another excellent example of how the national organization and chapters can work together. Jobs posted to either the national or state societies are cross-posted on all network sites. This keeps each site’s content fresh and gives participating employers access to a larger resume database.
- The Financial Job Exchange is a powerful network of local and national online association career centers in banking, accounting and insurance. This career center network helps deliver a significantly broader exposure to employers members. The network includes the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and many state CPA chapters.
- The National Healthcare Career Network currently consists of nearly 300 medically-related associations. This network contains job listings and career resources from the American Hospital Association and many of their state chapters as well.
There are many different opportunities for national and chapter organizations to work together to promote their online career centers. With collaborative effort, a symbiotic career resource relationship can provide more interactions with members at all levels of the association.
Listen to April’s webinar about leveraging chapters for online career center promotion.
Download the slides to the webinar.
Email April at firstname.lastname@example.org.