Strategic Member Engagement: Accelerant to Association Membership Growth And Retention

Strategic Member Engagement

Strategic Member Engagement: Accelerant to Association Membership Growth & Retention

A groundbreaking survey on Strategic Member Engagement shows that Trade Associations and Professional Societies reporting upward 3-year operating results are far more likely to have better data about  member issues, have a very high level of board understanding and strategizing about the outcomes members seek and, importantly, actively engage members in creating new solutions. A great deal of actionable data about how these associations are positioning for long-term success is uncovered in a joint survey conducted through the collaborative effort of Vertical Leap Consulting, Icimo, and Potomac Core – Association Consulting.

The Survey, polling 307 executives of national/international trade associations and professional societies, was conducted in October and November 2013.

Strategic Member Engagement Seen As Driver

In reporting the survey outcomes, Bryce Gartner of Icimo, LLC,  Dan Varroney of Potomac Core – Association Consulting, and Steve Lane of Vertical Leap Consulting emphasized “strategic member engagement is not about touchy feely member interface, short term sales strategies, or administering tracking reports. Instead, it is a game changing accelerator of Professional Society and Trade Association growth and positioning strategies. Our research surfaces just how much of a driver strategic member engagement is for an association’s business model and  the long-term, differentiating value provided to its profession or industry.”

Strategic Member Engagement: Accelerant to Association Membership Growth And Retention

Organizations with upward trending 3-year operating results reported the strongest capabilities are far more likely to better understand member up-at-night issues and to engage members in acting upon those needs. These Association Executives were far more likely to report strong performance in Member Retention, Annual Operating Revenue, Registrations to Primary Annual Meetings, Annual Revenue from Fee for Service Offerings, and Timely Membership Renewals.

losing large association membersA free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, is available at Potomac Core – Association Consulting, Vertical Leap Consulting, and Icimo

 

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

3 Ways One Association Thrives In A Shrinking Industry

association3 Ways One Association Thrives In A Shrinking Industry. Industry consolidation, a byproduct of global competition, can sometimes hamper an Association as it tries to secure the resources it needs to advocate effectively for it’s members. However, for organizations like the American Coatings Association,  http://paint.org/, a consistent mission focus  helps to satisfy and engage members as well as deliver solid financial performance.

The Mission Drives Value

Andy Doyle, President & CEO, indicates his Association is “relentlessly focused on the mission of the Association.” Year after year, an ambitious legislative and regulatory campaign embodies what he knows ACA members pay for. Doyle directs “75%” of their focus on government affairs to address member “up at night issues.”

3 Ways ACA Thrives

associationAs CEO, Doyle notes, “we need to stay focused on who we are and what we do.” ACA utilizes its 3 prong foundation to connect to members “up at night issues” and drive home a powerful industry ROI in each of the following:

Advocacy.  Demonstrate consistent commitment to member &  industry success through government affairs programs. Remain visible on legislative and regulatory priorities with legislators at state, local, & national levels.

Complimentary services value. Enhance value chain with products and services that help companies grow revenue including; technical conferences, scientific journals & online training, publications, surveys & tailored business programs.

Staff Continuity. Continuity & institutional knowledge reflect clear understanding of industry and company concerns. Staff retention is key.

3 Ways One Association Thrives In A Shrinking Industry

Implementing an industry “center of gravity” game plan, this Association somewhat mirrors legendary football coach Vince Lombardi’s power sweep strategy. Here too repetition, consistency and solid execution help the organization control their playing field. With industry shrinkage as an opposing team ACA achieves: 95% retention, membership, and product and service revenue growth.

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

association

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

Association CEO Nails Critical Member Engagement Question

member engagement questionAssociation CEO Nails Critical Member Engagement Question. As the economy grows at what some economists call a “snail’s pace,” an Association CEO who knows the right question to ask is worth their weight in gold. Just ask Julia Hamm, the energetic and passionate President & CEO of a dynamic enterprise, the Solar Electric Power Association www.solarelectricpower.org. In the three year window,  between 2009-2011, SEPA membership grew 50%.The industry Trade Show (SEPA partners with the Solar Industry Association) blossomed from 1,100 attendees in 2004 to 25,000 in 2010.

One Critical Member Engagement Question

“From a member perspective, does your Association bring together constituencies creating new solutions; driving member value that shapes both industries and professions?” Serving a combined national membership of Solar Industry Companies (manufacturers, project developers and finance firms) and Electric Utilities, SEPA leverages its strategic plan to deliver products and services shaping Solar Industry acceptance and business success.

Listen, Learn & Lead

Annual member surveys and “going deep” inside member companies to best understand how the organization can deliver value aligns SEPA closely with its dues payers. Programs including: Solar Power International, The Solar Industry Member Advisory Council (SIMAC), The Utility Solar Conference forum for utilities, One Hour Monthly webinars & Fact Finding Missions attract strong participation and reinforce the Association’s solid value proposition.

Association CEO Nails Critical Member Engagement Question

With her strong staff team, board of directors and 900 members , SEPA Chief Executive Julia Hamm knows the one critical question. More importantly, the strong performance confirms she also knows the answer.

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

Member Engagement question

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

 

Association Membership Not Growing?

association membershipAssociation Membership Not Growing? With senior management teams developing next year’s budgets, it’s good a time to conduct a survey and assess your associations impact. The results and a competitive market assessment will be helpful in constructing a membership growth strategy. Associations who have not experienced membership growth will find this approach helpful.  It will reveal strengths, opportunities, and weaknesses, all of which can be leveraged into actionable growth strategies.

Laser Market Focus

Individuals and corporations make membership decisions based on their Association’s ability to impact priorities that matter most to them. Whether it be legislative, regulatory, training, or certification related, they are all evaluated. Associations that convert actionable data into tangible solutions will improve their retention and growth opportunities.

Relevance

Companies conduct internal assessments before they join or renew Association memberships. Members “stay or leave” and prospects “join or go somewhere else” based upon their perception of an organization’s impact. They measure “relevance” as an Association’s capacity to help companies or individuals achieve their business, professional, or personal objectives.

Quantify and Qualify

Impact surveys should become part of an Association’s DNA. Why? Organizations that consistently benchmark products and services based on their marketplace are better positioned that those who don’t.

The impact survey is all about member/prospect “up at night” issues. Answer these key questions:

  1. What is the financial impact on professional and or corporate business objectives?
  2. How do current programs, services, and the advocacy agenda address the financial impact of “up at night” issues?
  3. Do proposed program changes or new initiatives help members and prospects achieve success?
  4. From the member and prospect vantage point, what else can the Association do? 

Association Membership Not Growing?

Associations who want to grow should be seen as strategic partners. Once your Association is viewed as a strategic partner, membership growth and higher retention follow. Keep in mind that several Associations already using this approach have seen double digit growth. Why not give it a try? A growth formula you can use immediately:

Member Impact Survey & Competitive Assessment + Actionable Growth Strategies = Membership Growth.

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

association membership

Member Engagement Drives Revenue

member engagementMember Engagement Drives Revenue. Associations continue to leverage Member Engagement as part of a long term strategy that secures and grows their revenue base. In order to add heft to their efforts, some CEOs utilize data driven strategies to guide investment of budget resources and staff time. At NIRI, the National Investor Relations Institute for instance, Jeff Morgan, President & CEO consistently aligns his organization with its members and their marketplace through monthly surveys and strategic plan updates.

Business Intelligence

NIRI www.niri.org is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants who are responsible for communication among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts and other financial community constituents. Its 3,300 members represent some 1,600 publicly held companies with $9 trillion in stock market capitalization.

“In a big data and fast moving world, NIRI keeps pace with our membership by staying connected” says CEO Jeff Morgan.

Monthly Pain Point Survey

Associations and Professional Organizations who successfully engage their members show their connection to core member business needs. NIRI engages their members with a monthly survey instrument in order to drive engagement. While industry standards are not as robust, the organization achieves a consistent 20% response rate.

The most recent survey inquired about resources and tools available to assist public companies in shareholder identification as well as suggestions for improving the current system. The survey summary will be utilized by the NIRI Board of Directors in its September meeting with the SEC staff on improving shareholder engagement.

Member Engagement Drives Revenue

NIRI’s engagement focus accelerated member renewals and continue to help grow membership internationally. The organization has also replenished its reserves in the aftermath of the great recession.

Jeff Morgan knows the dynamic global economy will “consistently challenge his members.” He indicates that their data driven market focus will keep the organization “aligned with its member’s business needs.”

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

member engagement