About the research

The rise of social media hasn't diminished the importance of physical member networks like regional branches or special interest groups. We investigated key issues professional bodies face when managing their member networks, with the support of our own member organisations.

We focused on the practical aspects of running member networks: how networks are structured, managed, funded, supported and used. We focused especially on how volunteers are trained and managed.

This research project was supported by six of our members:


How did we carry out the project?

We carried out surveys and interviews asking questions like:

  • How autonomous are your groups and branches?What problems arise with identity and control?
  • What problems arise with identity and control?
  • How are your groups and branches financed?
  • How does technology impact on member networks?
  • How central are these networks to the work of your organisation?
  • How do these networks feed back into the organisation and its governance?
We selected case studies and compared them with key trends tracked over a decade.

What did we find?

Read our findings in our successful publication, Managing Member Networks: Strategy, Volunteers & Funding