CEO Doubles Association Membership

CEO Doubles Association Membership

While the road to success differs from one Association to another Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement are critical to success. How these are applied are a different story. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) led by Paul T. Stalknecht, President and CEO,, are entrepreneurs and a mirror image of their members. Member focus and risk taking swelled their membership ranks from 2,000 to almost 4,000. The story doesn’t end there either as ACCA revenues have growth by some 272% during Stalknecht’s twelve year tenure.

Building a Foundation

Similar to many new CEO’s, Stalknecht conducted an extensive due diligence process. Upon his arrival he actively and aggressively asked key questions to learn as much as possible, separating the information into three distinct categories: Administrative issues, Membership marketing and Governance.  Over an intensive six month process, he spoke with staff, members and his board to gain a full understanding of all of the issues facing the Association.

Stalknecht assimilated all of the information into a power point document. The extensive report outlined areas of concern and clear action steps that ACCA should take in order to move the Association forward. Receiving Board support, he built a foundation which delivered almost 10 consecutive years of profitability.

Entrepreneurial Culture

Throughout the conversation, it’s easy for an observer to note Stalknecht’s self awareness. Openly he acknowledges his weaknesses before his strengths. However, he demonstrates how an effective leader leverages his skill gaps as opportunities to recruit high performing executives to help him build a high performing Association.

His passion about hiring the best people available would over time prove to be one of two game changing decisions for ACCA. Interestingly enough, the three Senior Vice President’s he hired from the beginning of his CEO service are still on staff at the Association.

Mickey Mantle Approach

Regardless of Baseball Team allegiance, what is compelling is how Stalknecht encourages risk taking. With margins of error narrow, he encourages his team to use a data driven strategies and feedback mechanisms to pursue new product or service ideas for the membership. The explosive revenue growth shows how taking a good hard swing at the pitch could pay off in the long run.

Core Connections

Core Connections means Associations position themselves as strategic partners helping member, prospect and sponsor companies achieve their business objectives. That is especially the case at ACCA. Their revenue streams, staff structure and capability are all connected to helping their market place achieve its business objectives. An integral part of this Association’s culture is listening.

Mapping to Core Connections

With annual revenues approaching $7 million, ACCA delivers income from three areas: Membership dues, Products and Training and their Meetings and Corporate Partner Program. Sitting atop of a diverse revenue streams is both necessary and advantageous. The membership, comprised of small company entrepreneurs, experienced considerable turnover which impacts the Association’s retention.  Recognizing this early on, Stalknecht and his team made key adjustments.

Game Changers

Prior to his arrival at ACCA Stalknecht observed the lack of a full time research and engineering staff. Building a highly skilled team the Association delivers leading standards and certification in printed materials and online training programs for the entire HVAC industry. Approximately one third of revenues emanate from their educational training and products area.

A critical shift during the great recession turned out to the “grand slam” ACCA needed. A Sponsorship program was newly defined as a Corporate Partner program. Companies now had an opportunity to invest in ACCA’s groundbreaking education and training programs and it’s advocacy mission. Company ROI is now realized all year long and at the annual convention. What was once a revenue stream of $140,000 well surpasses $1 million.

Tracking and Accountability

Stalknecht  emphasizes the importance of accountability and measuring  progress. Each day he views a cash flow report and profit and loss performance to make sure bottom line performance is meeting or exceeding his high expectations.

CEO Doubles Association Membership

Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement are all part of CEO Paul Stalknecht’s leadership toolbox. What matters most to Stalknecht and his team is delivering the best possible ROI to his members and the HVAC community. Few would question a Team of entrepreneurs whose Manager applauds his team as they circle the bases year after year.

doubles association membership


Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at,,and


3 Strategies CEO’s Use to Double Association Revenue

3 Strategies CEO’s Use to Double Association Revenue

 No surprises at end of the first quarter 2013. Political gridlock looms over Washington, DC, a tough and competitive environment for U.S. companies exists and Associations still face an uncertain environment. Regardless, some Associations formulate consistent paths to double digit growth. As remarkable as it sounds, these Associations are well ahead of the curve.

With 75% of the calendar year remaining, Association CEO’s can look to real time examples they can apply to quickly reverse their fortunes and deliver strong membership and revenue growth.

3 Strategies CEO’s Use to Double Association Revenue:

1. Data Driven Strategies

 Association Strategy Consultant and Potomac Core Blog Contributor Steve Lane, Vertical Leap Consulting identifies these as “member up at night issues.” Rightly so, these are the issues that matter most to the companies paying dues to Associations. This focus also helps Associations measure the impact they have in real time. Relentless identification of key driver issues is a key characteristic of Associations who drive double digit growth.

Tino Mantella, President and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) utilizes an annual Decision Maker Study (see blog post . The Data confirms value delivered and uncovers new opportunities to address members concerns. It provides actionable intelligence helping to shape programs and activities throughout the year. Success seems to breed more success for TAG. At a time when Associations struggle to clear the 5% growth threshold, Mantella and his high performing team delivered 600% growth from $500,000 in 2004 to $3.4 million in 2012.

2. Core Connections

Data Driven Strategies builds out a data dashboard of member, prospect and even sponsor “pain points,” including the impact Associations have in real time. Associations apply the pain point data to link programs, products and service execution to member business objectives.  Core Connections means Associations position themselves as strategic partners helping member, prospect and sponsor companies achieve their business objectives.

As Associations reinforce Core Connections, they provide the necessary level of impetus to engage and satisfy members, and recruit new members and sponsors. These are the connections that help Associations reflect and effectively serve their communities.

For NIRI President and CEO Jeff Morgan,, Core Connections were key as they helped his Association establish uniqueness and enhance its competitive position (see blog post’s strong 17% non U.S. membership growth performance (over three years) confirms that the connection to member business objectives has impact.

3. Member Engagement

Member engagement is a crucial ingredient, Associations who have doubled growth are effective because they have cultures that link their members, staff and board. They transformed their cultures from “we/they” to “We.” For Gregory Casey, President and CEO, BIPAC, almost every day is an act of engagement (see blog post At his organization, helping his members achieve their policy objectives is a passion as much as it is the mission. For ten years, Casey’s relentless member engagement and execution of customized policy solutions has distinguished BIPAC. Over the last ten years Casey’s BIPAC achieved double digit growth.

3 Strategies CEO’s Use to Double Association Revenue

Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement. Associations that utilize these strategies to connect to their members, prospects and sponsors do deliver ROI and achieve double digit growth, which isn’t an easy task in today’s rough and tumble environment. Portrayed in the movie “Without Limits, Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, (an American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics) quipped to his Coach Bill Bowerman “…when you set the pace you control the race.” Setting an impressive pace, Associations too can control the race and achieve double digit growth.


double association revenueFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at,,and



“Let’s Double Association Revenue in 5 Years”

“Let’s Double Association Revenue in 5 Years” 

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once said “Vision is what you call it when others can’t see what you see.” It’s just the opposite at the Global Cold Chain Alliance, where, incoming CEO Corey Rosenbusch is building a team of believers. From the Board of Directors to members and staff, Rosenbusch is developing a compelling game plan to satisfy members and double revenues.

 Focused Global Alliance

The Global Cold Chain Alliance was originally founded by current President and CEO Bill Hudson. Building a unique, and aligned focus, Hudson has constructed a global powerhouse to serve the food storage and transportation industry. Services expanded from its origin of Research and Science to include: training, business development and Advocacy today.

Under the GCCA umbrella sits a group of three Associations and a Foundation:  International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses, International Association of Refrigerated Transportation, International Association of Cold Storage Construction and the World Food Logistics Organization.

Financially solid, the $5.8 million entity with retention nearing 90% is poised for international expansion and revenue growth. When Corey Rosenbusch assumes the helm in 2014, his sights are on GCCA achieving double its current revenue in a five year window.

Mission Focus to Double Revenue

Rosenbusch brings leadership management, with a food industry and agricultural and international background to GCCA. His disciplined and determined focus however is on leveraging the focus of the Association’s mission to double revenue. Whether its opening new markets for his industry, developing new training products, or enhancing issue or regulatory capacity, Rosenbusch has a Core Focus.

Like many successful Associations, GCCA and its incoming CEO maintain a laser focus on maintaining or accelerating connections to the core. In each aspect of his plan, Rosenbusch links current, planned or future offerings to how his industry grows revenues and achieves its business objectives.

A critical part of the Association’s Core is relationships and knowing what really impacts their members’ bottom line.

Data Driven Strategies

For an Association with members doing business in 67 countries, Rosenbusch focuses his organization with data and metrics. The GCCA dashboard includes a concentrated member focus on their key interests and business priorities as well as their participation and engagement. Satisfaction is a high priority, so much so they plan to score member activity in the Association Management Database.

Benchmarking and profitability of his members and GCCA will also be part of the incoming CEO’s dataset.

Alignment to Double Revenue

For Rosenbusch, the Core Focus is in the strategic plan. In order to double revenue, his plan includes a performance management strategy connecting the strategic plan, GCCA’s values and specific objectives.

Challenges and Consolidation

Being prospective in his outlook, Rosenbusch recognizes the shifts within his industry. Once dominated by family owned companies, the once stable sector, experienced a wave of acquisitions. Private Equity Groups recognized the sectors asset strength and now own a considerable percentage of the food storage and transportation industry. As a result, GCCA divides its member service focus 2 ways to satisfy the needs of both segments of membership.

Strong relationships with the industry matter, but for the Private Equity owner ROI must remain visible. Implementing a nimble approach, products and services address needs for both segments of the membership.

The current dues structure is under review, as it’s a concern for Rosenbusch.  As companies increase food storage space, member dues decrease.  The Association derives almost 60% of its revenues from dues and an internal team is developing a solution.

Unique Opportunities

Despite challenges, Rosenbusch envisions opportunities for GCCA to grow revenues and extend its global reach.

One area of opportunity rests in the Association’s Core Focus, helping the members secure international grants from, among others, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Grants totaling $1million help the industry establish a beachhead in emerging and developing markets. Once companies are operational, GCCA is in place to provide support.  According to Rosenbusch he and his team will monetize the success of these efforts.

“Let’s Double Association Revenue in 5 Years”

Successful Associations innovate as quickly as the global business cycle changes. For the Global Cold Chain Alliance’s Corey Rosenbusch, the road ahead contains both challenges and opportunities.  Regardless, GCCA’s incoming CEO and his team are embracing the future as they reach for the stars.

double association revenue


Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at,,and


4 Strategic Steps Associations Can Use to Leverage LinkedIn

4 Strategic Steps Associations Can Use to Leverage LinkedIn

 Although Job Seekers and Headhunters scour LinkedIn, it can a be a potent platform for Associations. LinkedIn expert Donna Serdula, believes that Associations can leverage this powerful resource to “grow membership and  engage members too.” Serdula is Author of the popular book, LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile; and a Contributor on the Potomac Core Consulting Blog.

1. Associations Harvesting Prospects

Twitter and Facebook surpass LinkedIn in sheer volume.  However, the business demographic makes LinkedIn a powerful destination to recruit members, says Serdula. Associations should view LinkedIn as a key element in their recruitment strategies.


2. Key Words Mean Everything

Serdula insists that Associations should have an “optimized” company page. Why? Associations populating their pages with key words that drive prospective member traffic to their page are game changers.


3. Associations Engage Members

Despite improvement in the overall economy, travel budgets are still not at pre recession levels. Associations are leveraging Social Media more often to engage members.  Recently for example, Jeffrey D. Morgan, President and CEO reported that Social Media is a key element of NIRI’s (National Investor Relations Institute) member engagement strategy. Many platforms facilitate member engagement, and LinkedIn is no exception.


4. Association Member Only Participation

LinkedIn makes it possible for Association members to engage in policy discussions. Policy committee leaders need not worry about non members or other outside parties listening in. Moderators can restrict participation to members only from the get go.


4 Strategic Steps Associations Can Use to Leverage LinkedIn

Author Alvin Toffler, in the introduction of “Future Shock,”  wrote “Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.” With its newly announced search capacity, LinkedIn is that much more effective in helping Associations grow and engage their members.



Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at,, and

Association Member Pain Points

member pain pointsAssociation Member Pain Points. Growth focused Associations utilize data as a foundation to deliver programs and services to members. While member survey outreach varies among Associations, what’s clear is how important this data is in helping organizations assess its uniqueness and relevance. The Technology Association of Georgia,, for example, surveys it’s members annually to reinforce their connection to member business objectives. This laser focus contributed to TAG’s strong revenue growth from $500,000 in 2004 to $3.4 million in 2012.

Decision Maker Study

Although data can reinforce the value being provided, it uncovers new pain points to deliver services and increased ROI.  According to Tino Mantella, TAG President and CEO, that annual outreach uncovered an important gap.


Unique and Relevant

Data provides actionable intelligence to Mantella and his team. Their expansive platform of interest groups reflect pain point concerns. The Association provides opportunities for members to engage and last year alone TAG held over 200 hundred such meetings.


Real engagement is about  bringing companies together and facilitating the dialogue leading to new solutions to shared “pain point” issues. Companies value and engage in those activities which they believe will positively impact a personal or company priority. TAG utilizes 32 different Societies to engage its members with significant success.Engagement Supports Pain Points


 In TAG’s example, the Association achieved revenue growth because of their transition to higher levels of member engagement combined with the usage of actionable data and pain point connections to satisfy Company needs.

Association Member Pain Points

Associations compete for fewer available corporate dollars. Those using data to determine actionable strategies to address and satisfy pain point issues will thrive. The Technology Association of Georgia is a solid example of using data to keep member needs front and center.

Core Pillars Drive Association Growth

Core Pillars Drive Association Growth.  For an Association to grow membership 600% in 8 years means data driven strategies, establishing core connections and member engagement are all part of the equation.  For the Technology Association of Georgia,, it starts with annual member research, a strong Board of Directors and it’s culture of always looking for something new to support its members. Arriving on the scene in 2004, CEO Tino Mantella brought his growth packed track record from the YMCA of Chicago and the National Arthritis Foundation. Leveraging vast growth experience and a potent Board of Directors, Mantella launched TAG on a consistent evolution of new programs and powerful ROI.


core pillars

Tino Mantella President &CEO Technology Association of Georgia Photo provided by Byte Graphics

Growth Foundation

Identifying Technology as Georgia’s growth engine became Mantella’s focal point. He pitched the state’s top Technology and Business leaders to serve on TAG’s Board. The overriding strategy was effective as the Board grew from just five executives to 65 today. The Board provides strategic direction and the staff develops and executes a plethora of activity.





Two Prong Focus to Achieve Growth

Although TAG is a not for profit Association, Mantella says “the more you can run like a business, the more you can impact the nonprofit world.” He engaged his board in a two pronged approach to involve companies and grow the Association.  Once successful, TAG would have the resources necessary to support Economic Development in the State of Georgia.


Alignment Delivers Growth

TAG’s Value proposition is clear. Members can influence policy, promote Georgia’s Technology Leadership, and engage in C Level roundtables. Throughout his tenure, Mantella utilizes data to track service delivery, member participation and growth. Behind the data is alignment of the Association’s Strategic plan, operating plan and employee performance objectives.


Core Pillars Drive Association Growth

Having grown to a staff size of 25 professionals, what’s clear is Tino Mantella and TAG are not done innovating and providing new platforms to help their members. The Association works passionately to remain relevant. In my next post, I’ll share how the Technology Association of Georgia utilizes Data to Connect to pain points and deliver consistent member value.

How does your Association keep current with member needs?

Much more on Association Revenue Growth at

Innovation Drives Double Digit Association Growth

innovationInnovation and ROI Drives Double Digit Association Growth.  Revenue growth is challenging in any environment. Regardless, constant innovation helped Gregory Casey, President and CEO,  BIPAC and Industry Political Action Committee) achieve double digit revenue growth and membership growth over the past decade.

Changed the Game

BIPAC delivers grass roots tools to help Corporations and Associations reach public policy goals. However, it is Casey’s persistent focus on maintaining the organization’s relevance with high impact tools that served as a game changer. Testing new technology platforms and always challenging his team to keep looking around the corner reflect the centerpiece of BIPAC’s culture.

Pain Points and Core Connections

BIPAC maintains a crisp focus on how members achieve their business objectives. It’s programs and services connects to and drive business outcomes through grass roots advocacy. The Rule of Thumb applies to BIPAC’s success; the greater the connection to “pain point” issues, the greater the degree of revenue growth.

Utilizing its programs (Prosperity Fund, Prosperity Project, PAC Resources and Political Analysis among others) BIPAC delivers actionable resources to inform and activate employees on priority public policy issues. Through its state deployment partners, BIPAC boasts its “50 State” grass roots capacity for Companies and Association who participate.


Silicon Valley Innovation Culture

Founded in 1963 as the nations’ first business bipartisan and independent political action committee, BIPAC continually evolves.  The organization invests and reinvests in new technologies to help Companies and Associations with customized technology solutions to accelerate grass roots policy impact with Congress.

Challenges and Opportunities

Not unlike any other Association or organization, BIPAC too has its share of market impediments. Making complex economic issues relevant to employees can be at times a substantial challenge says Casey. However, by leveraging technology as its most potent asset, they deliver results.


Innovation Drives Double Digit Association Growth

If necessity is the mother of invention, BIPAC is a good example of how innovation can be the mother of double digit growth.

How does your Association apply innovation to deliver new products and services to its members?

Much more on Association Revenue Growth at

Driving Association Revenue Growth

Driving Association Revenue Growth. Board Participation is key.Company Executives are busy and in a number of cases expect Association staff to deliver revenue. Yet, there are examples where Board Members are very helpful in driving revenue. In certain situations, Boards help retain and recruit members and sponsors and the results are impressive. Could the paradigm change at your Association? Yes and it requires a strategic change in how your Association works with its Directors.

Four Steps to Board Participation 

First: Engage and Energize Board Members. Recruit Board members to participate on Pain Point issues (see March 4 2013 post: Know Pain Points to Drive Revenue Growth).  Executives will participate on Association Boards in order to engage on policy affecting their business objectives. Once they see ROI, it’s time for another conversation.

Second: Confirm that involvement adds ROI.  Share upcoming advocacy strategies, seek feedback and buy in.

Third: Seek help to expand the Association’s advocacy capacity on Pain Points. Be prepared, be specific and make it easy for them to help. For example, request introductions, phone calls, e mails, letters (Association provides) to priority retention, new member or sponsor companies.

Fourth: Acknowledge the Board members’ help to drive revenue.  Recognize help at their board and executive committee meetings. This shows sincere appreciation and it will motivate other Board Members to help.

Board Engagement

Associations should view this change as a multiyear effort. Every Board relationship is critical and consequently each is built one at a time.

Driving Association Revenue Growth

One Association utilized this approach to recruit a high percentage of its Directors. The same Board Members once they participated in Pain Point issues, helped drive back to back above 90% retention and $1 million + net revenue gains. Another Association built on new sponsor offerings and significantly increased revenues.

How has your Association worked with Board members to secure their help in driving revenue? 

Much more on Association Revenue Growth at

Social Media Connects an Association’s Global Community

Social Media Connects an Association’s Global Community. Many Associations embrace Social Media in order to reach and effectively engage members. Those CEO’s incorporating social media with their overall engagement and incorporating business objectives achieve greater ROI. Through the Strategic Planning Process, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), identified Social Media as an integral part of their strategy to build and reinforce its growing community of global Investor Relations Executives.

Engage Members at Their Desks

Steve Lane, President , Vertical Leap Consulting notes “Real member engagement is all about “we”; bringing members together and facilitating the dialogue that leads to new solutions to their shared “pain point” issues”In a hyper paced world, a cyber community focus makes it easier to engage members to participate, share information and derive value from their member investment. Jeffrey D. Morgan, President and CEO reports that Social Media is a key element of his organization’s member engagement strategy.

Community Connection

As NIRI’s global membership expands, the Association looks to connect its members with one another and keep the conversation going. Morgan notes that a larger share of share of its membership growth is outside the United States making Social Media an important member resource.

Increasing Investment Expand Capacity and Capability

At a time when Association  memberships are more closely evaluated, member engagement and participation are increasingly important for Associations like NIRI. Vertical Leap Consulting’s Lane adds  “The principles of engagement are simple yet powerful:

  • As the perceived ability to impact outcomes increases,
  • Behaviors change from being a recipient of information to increasingly higher levels of contribution, and
  • Connectedness to the Association increases”

For NIRI and CEO Morgan Social Media is driving member engagement and so much so the Association is increasing its investment.

As NIRI’s member engagement accelerates so has the Association’s retention and new member growth.

How does Social Media Connect your Association’s community? 

Much more on Association Revenue Growth at

Core Strategies Drives Association’s New Revenue Growth

Core Strategies Drives Association’s New Revenue Growth

 Despite increasing competition, political turmoil in Washington, DC, and a slow growth economy Jeffrey D. Morgan, President and CEO, NIRI (National Institute of Investor Relations) reports impressive membership and revenue growth. He points to a “strong Board partnership, measureable member data, core strategies and strong execution” as essential ingredients to his Associations growth.

Listen, Learn and Deliver

Working through two strategic plans in five years, NIRI identified where the Investor Relations profession was heading and, determined what his Association needed to do in order to adapt and provide core value to their members. Collaborating with his Board, members and staff, Morgan utilized the planning process to 1) Develop actionable data defining the membership’s  business needs (pain points), and 2) Developed core strategies with NIRI’s members with high impact products to satisfy member business needs.


Game Changing Value for Members

Companies, stay or leave membership based on the obvious connections between their needs and an Association’s products and services.  In NIRI’s case, member data and establishing core strategies identified business needs which paved the way for new products. According to Morgan “these became a game changer for NIRI.”


Uniqueness to Enhance Competitive Position

As competition for Association dues increase, retention and core member value are critical to satisfaction and revenue growth. NIRI seized upon one new approach to reinforce its uniqueness to members and prospects.


Core Strategies Drives Association’s New Revenue Growth

Morgan’s strong 17% non U.S. membership growth performance (over three years) confirms the rule of thumb for Associations. The fewer connections to member’s “pain point” issues, the weaker the retention and member revenue growth performance. Morgan and NIRI gathered data, addressed member needs and achieved strong retention and growth performance.

core strategies


Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at,, and