Regional consolidation for affiliated organizations is nothing new. This trend has helped loosely affiliated groups assemble over time to become the largest national nonprofit organizations we know today – such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Cancer Society among others. The shapes that these organizations become are varied – whether as a single, national 501c3 or multiple 501c3s where the national organization serves as a business solution and services provider to affiliates or licensed chapters.

Regardless of final organizational design, the goal of such reorganization is efficiency of scale and the ability to deliver a consistent national experience through adoption and delivery of a single unified strategy.

National nonprofit websites are a manifestation of these goals. Affiliates and the national organization must reach agreement on a very public face of “the organization” – often for the first time – while meeting the diverse needs of both internal and external stakeholders.

From a strategy, procurement, and deployment perspective, a national body can drive efficiency by soliciting and centralizing regional requirements, identifying solutions and leading affiliates to sophisticated technologies not typically within reach. At Charity Dynamics we frequently see this encompass online fundraising, peer to peer, and content management tools. Sophisticated organizations level up by providing more than technology solutions alone, they provide true enablement – things like blueprinting best practices, coaching from the field and systems for disseminating this guidance.

Another goal of centralization – delivering a consistent organizational experience – can run the gamut particularly when many of the programs and services offered by regional groups may vary. From a basic digital perspective, a National organization should serve as the aggregator and referral source of online search traffic (particularly when arbitrary regional territories are meaningless to the public). A consistent experience can additionally be delivered through unified branding and extension of tools.

At the most strategic level, national organizations deliver consistent experiences well beyond look and feel but through recognition of a constituent’s behavior with the organization and acknowledgement of this value through relevant and personalized communication. Organizations can only achieve this only through a unified view of their constituents – across engagement with affiliates and the national organization.  The most sophisticated organizations are doing so with centralized CRM solutions in place.

Where does your organization fall on this continuum of centralization? What barriers are standing in your way of realizing greater efficiency or delivering a more consistent organizational experience? Let us know your insights and we’ll respond with more on how organizations are succeeding in both areas in the weeks ahead.