Does Your Association Board Have A Strategic Focus?

Does Your Association Board Have A Strategic Focus? At a time of unprecedented change, some CEO’s view strategic boards as indispensable and an important driver to the success of an organization. As demographics, technology, the economy, and the nature of commerce rapidly shift from one day to the next, boards with strategic focus could be the difference between success and failure.

Key Capability

strategic focusIn a joint survey conducted through the collaborative effort of Vertical Leap Consulting, icimo, and Potomac Core Consulting, very highly engaged boards who are strategic in focus were recognized as one of six capabilities reporting upward trending 3-year operating results. For Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, Executive Director, AMDA (www.amda.com),The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, and a 2014 Alumni Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the survey results have even greater implications. He views the results as providing external validation of the strategic focus that all boards must have to navigate a changing and challenging landscape.

“CEOs Must Lead The Board”

As Associations face increasing competition, more public scrutiny, and higher stakes, Laxton contends that “more CEO’s should take on board development.” Reflecting on professional experience and results from the Strategic Member Engagement Survey, he emphasizes that “when boards focus strategically, we can more easily see the results.”

Laxton believes that CEO’s should start the process by asking themselves, “How can I make my board more strategic?” and understand that boards don’t always understand how to become strategic in the first place. He works with board chairs to define the culture, i.e. “talking and getting nothing done” or “instilling a sense of urgency and taking action.”

Does Your Association Board Have A Strategic Focus?

From Laxton’s perspective, every minute that Association CEO’s invests in the Board can help deliver increased engagement and revenue growth.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

strategic focus

“Outside In” Association Boards?

association boards

“Outside In” Association Boards?

The overall impact of very highly strategic boards with a high understanding who strategize about the needs of the average member is reflected in Association business model performances. New data from a Strategic Member Engagement Survey shows organizations who are “Outside In” are far more likely to deliver strong performance in retention, annual revenue, primary meeting registrations and timely membership renewals. This and other survey data was shared through the collaboration of icimo, Vertical Leap Consulting, and Potomac Core – Association Consulting.

Why “Outside In” Boards Matter

As Associations and Professional Societies work to remain relevant, a strategic board can provide important linkages to member “up at night” issues and the business and professional outcomes that members want to achieve.

Alignment With Member Outcomes

outside inIn an important example, keeping an Association reflective of member business outcomes (“outside-in) is a deliberate focus for Julia Hamm, President & CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association www.solarelectricpower.org.  By design, the organization’s board reflects all sectors of its core membership ranging from large regulated investor owned electric companies to small municipally owned electric utilities.

Hamm and her senior team consistently utilize their strategically focused board to understand their “up at night” issues. They utilize direct market feedback  to develop products and services which help effectively address  and engage members in solutions to their “up at night” issues. “What’s driving us is what they need, not what we need” emphasizes Julia Hamm. This member outcome focused approach helps the organization achieve consistent 94-95% core member retention.

“Outside In” Association Boards?

Strategic boards who provide high level perspectives on member and professional outcomes help motivate and drive Strategic Member Engagement. They also help an Association remain highly relevant on a consistent basis.

 

outside inFor a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com

 

Does Your Association Outdistance For Profit Competition?

for profit competitionDoes Your Association Outdistance For Profit Competition? At a time when for profit competitors pursue convention & conference space once owned by Associations, CEOs determined to thrive are reinvesting & sharpening their organizational competitive edge. In one case, PMMI www.pmmi.org, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, an organization whose principal source of funding comes from trade shows, takes nothing for granted. According to Chuck Yuska, President & CEO, the board & staff team always compete to maintain their “Convening Authority” mantle.

Strategic Partnership Emphasis

Securing market alignment is key for PMMI. Members & staff collaborate on annual goals, objectives, and measurements for the upcoming year.

Yuska emphasizes “we want to help our members be more competitive, give them the tools & information to grow their business, minimize their risks and obtain new business practices that help them become better companies and be more profitable.”

Address Member Pain Points   

Successful Associations like PMMI remain connected with member pain points, & provide business tangible solutions to:

1. Help members succeed. Support member global market needs, produce trade shows & conferences that studiously link buyers & sellers, members, & their customers.

2.  Use Customer Feedback Loop. Utilize exhibitor, member, & customer analytics & feedback to continuously improve takeaway value for all members & show participants.

3. Maintain High Relevance Factor. Accelerate organizational visibility through traditional & social media, direct mail, and industry channels.

4. Reinvest. Deliver the next “new thing,” and expand opportunities for members & customers.

Does Your Association Outdistance For Profit Competition?

for profit competitionDespite $2 million net operating performance in 2012 & 2013, and 7% operating growth and 95% retention in 2013, PMMI looks to consistently enhance its competitive position.

What’s next for PMMI? Expansion into regional trade shows with Pack Expo East www.packexpoeast.com

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

for profit competition

3 Strategies Help Association Overcome Shrinking Market

Market consolidation is a reality for many Associations, however, can this powerful global market trend be overcome? NPES, an Association representing over 400 global suppliers of printing, publishing, & converting technologies equipment thinks so.

Listen, Visit & Engage

shrinking market

 

Through relentless ROI focus & human connections, Ralph Nappi, President & CEO, along with his team build member relationships, identify needs, & deliver real time business solutions. Spending 100+ days in face to face meetings, Nappi actively reinforces NPES’s connection with  board members & members.

 

3 Strategies Help Association Overcome Shrinking Market

NPES operating profit performance is driven through 3 key strategies:

  1. Low barrier of entry. Affordable dues encouraging maximum participation from a larger cross section of companies.
  2. Visible ROI. Assist members grow markets; Industry statistics, issue advocacy & trade shows connecting members with client opportunities.
  3. Global market mover.BRIC country”  presence; offices in Brazil, Russia, India, & China helping members expand markets.

Added Resources Reinforce Organization’s Strategies  

Through its 4 other organizations, NPES adds market support, industry brand visibility, & advocacy of an important industry standard:

3 Strategies That Help NPES Overcome Shrinking Market

shrinking marketRunning counter to global market forces demands close member interaction & flexible  strategies in order to achieve positive results. In NPES’s case, they report 94% member retention, & from 2009 through 2011 over $1.5 million in net operating performance.

 

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

shrinking market

Association Develops $1.1 Million Non Dues Revenue Stream

non dues revenueAssociation Develops $1.1 Million Non Dues Revenue Stream. Data and effective research can help keep organizations on track to provide high impact non dues products & services which advance member business interests. Just ask Victor Parra, President & CEO, United Motorcoach Association who launched www.busrates.com, a lead generation platform that makes their 900 plus members more competitive.

Data Driven Research

non dues revenueThanks to the utilization of environmental scans and industry assessments, UMA  board leaders & members identified opportunities for their firms to increase value to their customer base. The addition of www.busrates.com makes it easier for buyers to find charter buses that best suit their needs. Today, both domestic & Canadian DOT registered bus companies utilize the platform.

In this instance, UMA’s data driven approach highlights the importance making these connections before the Association’s dollars are invested.

Results matter:

  • The web based platform drives a daily average of “150 requests for quotes.”
  • More than “130,000 group planners outside the U.S. visiting the site.”
  • 100,000 plus travel planners visit each month to identify and secure tour bus operators.

Wanting to extend its member reach globally, UMA also partnered with the National Travel Association.

ROI or Distraction

Member insights and marketplace intelligence can lead to the establishment of “core connections.” For instance, the platform measured against the core connection definition is a valuable member resource because it’s linked to established UMA business member priorities.

The fact that this offering provides $1.1 million in non dues revenues for UMA confirms ROI and, reinforces the strength of the core connection to member business interests.

Association Develops $1.1 Million Non Dues Revenue Stream

With boards insisting upon new revenue growth, a comprehensive data driven & core focused approach could uncover the right opportunity for an organization.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

non dues revenue

2 Strategies Help One Association Deliver 367% Revenue Growth

2 Strategies Help One Association Deliver 367% Revenue Growth. What is clear is that the United Motorcoach Association www.uma.org defines its success to the degree by which they provide products & services which help members enhance their market competitiveness. Over the last sixteen years, UMA’s reputation for helping the industry it represents reflects in its impressive financial performance. Record revenue growth and 92% retention reinforces the organization’s role supporting members who are predominantly U.S. based small business owners.

revenue growthMove Industry Forward

Victor Parra, the organization’s President & CEO, emphasizes that “Our job is to move this entire industry forward.” He utilizes a detailed environmental scan to define the global and domestic issues impacting his members and then engages UMA’s members in an industry assessment survey. This information helps to create a focused strategic plan to advance the industry to higher levels of competitiveness & profitability.

Active Member Engagement

UMA’s board and association members actively participate in the planning process from the environmental scan all the way to an industry assessment survey.

 2 Strategies Matter Most

 Two distinct strategies drive both member value & financial performance:

  1.  Intensive research to align association resources. The website, advocacy agenda, online training programs, committee focus & the annual expo are billboards helping members compete effectively. Members readily connect their participation with their own company ROI. UMA’s results reinforce the connection.
  2.  Planning, execution & metrics. Considerable weight is given to execution. Reviewing its internal processes ahead of time and then measuring member feedback & financial performance assess organizational effectiveness.

2 Strategies Help One Association Deliver 367% Revenue Growth

The UMA’s way forward is consistently defined through market research & member feedback. For Parra & the association though, it is “the journey that is the lesson.”

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

revenue growth

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes?

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes? For SPI, the Society for the Plastics Industry, the 2009 recession presented an open window of opportunity. Data driven strategies, and competitive assessments started the organization’s transformative and difficult process.

Embrace the Future

SPI’s leadership team seized upon their opportunity to develop what authors Chris Zook and Jim Allen call business boundary definitions & marketplace differentiation (in their book “Profit From the Core, Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence”, copyright 2010 Bain and Company).

core strategySeeing the organization as “all things to all people” William R. Carteaux, SPI’s President & CEO, worked with the Board to narrow SPI’s vision, and build a business model that could drive the Plastics sector’s growth throughout the United States.

Industry Collaboration

SPI’s new boundary definition now includes brand owners. For example, Coca Cola, Pepsi & General Mills now participate in the Brand Owner Council. They would join with groups reflecting material suppliers, processors, and equipment manufacturers to reflect the entire plastics sector’s legislative and regulatory agenda.

1 Core Strategy

The 1 Core Strategy combines a flexible business model and constant member engagement to deliver value and motivate participation:

SPI funds legislative, regulatory, education and training tools to help members achieve business objectives. As priorities change so does budget investment to support members in either advocacy or industry training programs.

Carteaux spends 80% of his schedule meeting & listening to member concerns. Through Social Media and staff engagement, staff is a listening post. A new AMS platform & Website, planned for 2014 will enhance organizational tracking &     their call to action capacity.

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes?

core strategyA refocused SPI sees dues and revenue losses in a rear view mirror. Core Strategies transformed the organization. New members enroll almost every day, conference attendance is growing and member dues retention since 2012 is 100%.

 

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

core strategy

Can 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth?

pain pointCan 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth? Pain point strategies continue to help Associations and Societies deploy services that help companies survive and thrive. Just ask Lawrence D. Sloan, President & CEO, Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA)( http://www.socma.com/).

From his arrival at the 200+ member specialty chemical manufacturing organization through today, Sloan continually meets with members in their plant facilities. Using a “shoe leather” approach, these meetings have brought about program changes helping realign SOCMA closer to the business needs of its membership. Based on member feedback and gridlock on Capitol Hill, SOCMA has realigned the organization’s advocacy strategy to a heavier emphasis on improving regulations and the regulatory process.

 2 Pain Point Strategies

In today’s competitive environment, membership organizations are aggressively positioning themselves against competitors. Since some companies only choose one membership, effective market differentiation and member ROI could determine either a renewal or a resignation:

1. Member Centric.  With Washington, DC, gridlock inhibiting progress in legislative advocacy, SOCMA uses multiple avenues to advocate issues and concerns impacting the industry, including leveraging its members to make their case to key regulators. Achieving needed regulatory reforms for the specialty chemical sector can help reduce compliance costs.

 2. Make a Difference.  SOCMA’s no-cost member service is an environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) management system. With the majority of its members being small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), they needed an EHS&S program that went beyond the one-size-fits-all approach of programs like Responsible Care. Consequently, they established their ChemStewards® program in 2005 to meet the unique needs of the batch, custom and specialty chemical industry and its membership.

Can 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth?

pain pointSince 2009, a pain point focus helped SOCMA drive 18% retention improvement and double-digit non-dues revenue growth. Not yet satisfied, Sloan plans more improvements in SOCMA’s value proposition and an accelerated new member growth campaign.

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

pain point

3 Goals Transform an Association Business Model

 association business model3 Goals Transform an Association Business Model. It’s never easy to embrace the hardships of a historic recession or its aftermath.  However Tom Dobbins, President at Arlington, Virginia based American Composite Manufactures Association (http://www.acmanet.org/)  (ACMA) seized a key moment in time. Dobbins and his team succeeded in closely aligning their organization with its small and large composite manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. Three year overall 9% revenue growth and 10% annual conference growth after suffering through the downturn signals the Association is on track.

ACMA Embraces Core Focus

Reinforcing a widely accepted approach among growth minded CEO’s, ACMA reformulated its Mission Statement reinforcing its commitment to their manufacturer and supplier member base. Moving forward the Association would provide direct ROI for dues dollars invested:

  •  Relevant education and information.
  • Expertise and representation in legislative and regulatory affairs.
  • Market growth and development.

3 Goals Transform an Association Business Model

 Associations like ACMA narrow their focus reflecting clear cut deliverables for dues payers. The  Board of Directors renewed its commitment to support their members in all 50 states:

  1.  Provide resources for managing and growing businesses that are utilized    by a significant number of the membership.
  2.  Provide resources that a significant number of the membership find useful in educating and training their employees.
  3.  Develop multiple communication channels to disseminate information to the greatest number of member companies and other stakeholders.

Upping Their Game

Increasing their Advocacy efforts through a Federal Agency Forum, launching a new online learning platform and in October 2014, the launch of CAMX produced by ACMA and SAMPE. This event will provide educational programs and networking opportunities for sharing product innovations and establishing key industry contacts.

3 Goals Transform an Association Business Model

Dashboards reflecting data and metrics keep Tom Dobbins and his team focused and executing the 3 key goals that helped realign ACMA and transform its business model (http://bit.ly/13zCQkw).

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

association business model

Organizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth

organizational culture and missionOrganizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth. Associations and Societies are busy revisiting their strategic plans and business models. After all, new paths to member engagement and revenue growth are essential nowadays. While CEOs employ different approaches, one in particular applies culture as a growth accelerant. A.S.P.E.N., the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and it’s CEO Debra S. BenAvram leverage culture and their mission to operate a functional and thriving community ( http://bit.ly/1GWhVgL). A strategically engaged board combined with an energized and innovative staff are consistently hitting on the right cylinders.

Imagine a Different Future

A.S.P.E.N. works to insure that all patients receive high quality nutrition. They reinforce their vision by trumpeting the best evidence based practice for support to patients in need of specialized nourishment. Starting her career as the organization’s Director of Education, BenAvram developed leadership values and strategies that would best support the board’s goals and motivate a high performing team. Moving into the CEO role, she applied years of thought and study to develop a strategic plan and an “outside the box” staffing model.

Open Communication

As CEO, BenAvram wants “imagery around culture and values all of the time.” Unlike many organizational charts with tiered or complex structures, they employ a “staff circle model.” The approach looks to achieve excellence focused on high engagement and high quality performance.

Balanced Revenue

With a staff that has grown to 20, A.S.P.E.N has a healthy mix of revenue almost evenly divided across membership, their annual meeting, and peer review journals. Serving a diverse constituency of medical professionals ranging from Pediatric Surgeons to Endocrinologists, they utilize data and feedback to stay connected to their members and their mission.

Organizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth

Regardless of debates on traditional and nontraditional management structures, one thing is clear: A business model minus silos can stimulate innovation and collaboration, mobilize board leaders, and energize staff performance to exceed expectations.

Staff leaders acknowledge that the second wave of innovation and growth is even more challenging to achieve. Undaunted, CEO BenAvram and her team are more confident because they already understand Peter Drucker’s axiom “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Why? $2 million growth is a reflection of just how important culture is to engaging and satisfying members.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

organizational culture and mission