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Mariner Management & Marketing LLC


The volunteer of yesterday is different than the one of today who will be different in the future. To be successful in engaging members as volunteers, we have to match our volunteer programs to our volunteers’ aspirations and interests.

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Leaders are neither born nor made. More precisely the recipe includes a little of the right DNA, a choice made, and effective nurturing. Associations can have an impact on the latter two with great results.

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Chapters appear to have a powerful impact on association membership levels. Developing chapters as partners requires a chapter strategy that focuses on key metrics and provides meaningful support.

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Associations need not cede their place as home for professional community if we place member collaboration and engagement as a priority, seek new models and invest in developing volunteers to lead us.

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We say “manage” but it more closely resembles conducting. We see our role as a conductor to bring the best out of each of the volunteer leaders.


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Engage association volunteers
Build association chapters

Innovative Growth for Associations

  • Main holding globe with inverted imageWhat if we replaced traditional chapters with local networking groups?
  • What if we replaced committees with project teams and morphed full-time volunteer positions into ad-hoc jobs?
  • What if we replaced "volunteering" with "engaging" and "member" with "citizen"?
  • What if we applied just-in-time concepts to volunteer training and support?

These are the types of questions that keep Mariner fired up. We believe that associations have existed since the 1800's because associating is fundamental to humans. We also believe though change is fundamental. Just as society has evolved through the ages - industrial to information to social - associations must too. So, whether it's guiding our management clients or collaborating with our consulting clients, we ask the questions that count and seek unconventional wisdom. And, we follow the compass. This has led us to the Chapter of Future, Chapter Dashboard, Embracing Volunteer Adhocracy and exciting projects like Rebuilding The Volunteer Spirit.

We think of ourselves as association executives, dedicated volunteers and - yes - mariners.


Association Innovation

  • Peggy Hoffman

    The email subject line caught my eye: Just Released: Area Ambassador Program. I clicked through and explored, and perhaps more importantly, I moved this email to my fitness folder with a follow-up flag. A sure sign that this message resonated. Only later did I realize that this was yet another great example of how we can re-imagine our “chapters” and our volunteer cultivation to meet the new generation of members.

  • Peggy Hoffman

    Yet another call came in to Mariner asking about alternatives to the basic chapter model. We suggested that looking beyond the association world might generate more solutions.

  • Peter Houstle

    In The Future of Data Bo Crader suggests we “Forget about Big Data,” and asks “What does your organization actually need and struggle with? What will make a real impact on your fundraising, service, and Mission?” Like Crader, I find “Smart Data” is “a more resonant term for what nonprofits are looking for today: how can we transform and serve data in a more automated, expedient, and actionable fashion than what we’ve done in the past.”



Association Blog

  • How can a quick road trip to do a quick conference session result in a blog post? When it’s full of adventure (some good, some not so good) and one great AHA moment all rolled together.

  • Latest from Grammar Girl is question about using "alright" versus "all right." Of course, there is no debate among grammar experts and usage guides alike … “alright” is not all right to use.

  • We in associations need our definitions don’t we? All humor aside, one important indicator that the association world is beginning to accept a new concept or way of doing things is when the conversation bubbles up around two elements: definition and policy.