The Sierra Club, a national environmental organization, has 65 chapters covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico and more than 100 years of history. With a shift in policy focus from the a predominant federal agenda to one that focuses at the federal and state levels simultaneously, the national organization and chapters set out to redefine the appropriate division of labor, coordination of "turf", and agenda setting.
The Club leadership knew it needed a chapter/national relationship that was both mutually respectful and mutually beneficial-- that also supported governance, management, fundraising, and ability to deliver program, maintain quality, engage volunteers/donors, and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. And the answers had to be developed through a transparent process that built trust and united focus. At the same time, any revised relationship would need to account for the differences in capacity among chapters, create opportunity and incentive to build at the national and local levels.