Engagement and Moving to We

Engagement and Moving to We. Moving to “we” is about inclusiveness and being open to the possibilities that might surface. This requires an integrated blend of “push” and “pull” offerings, with the explicit expectation that together “we” make great things happen for members.

“We/You” Fallacy

There is a fundamental flaw in the approach of many associations. Everything, whether spoken, written, or inferred, says: “here is what we do for you”. And in their attempt to demonstrate that staff and volunteer leaders do care what members think, associations tend to be far more reactive than proactive. Worse yet, some shy away from asking members what they really want for fear they might actually get that feedback. Not everyone wants to have their views challenged, especially if they have spent years executing on those views/assumptions.

Understanding an Association’s alignment with member needs includes assessing the relationships between staff, volunteer leaders, and other members. Most association executives view this interface through a lens of “we/you”. The evolving association model is all about “we”.

Foundation

engagementThe Strategic Engagement Framework© is built upon the relationship between increasing levels of membership impact while increasing levels of contribution and connectedness. Associations (especially those facing stiff competition) are recognizing that member engagement strategies are a true differentiator and game changer.

To be relevant then, Associations should help members collaborate to achieve something they care about. Use the Strategic Engagement Framework (below) to reinforce a balanced blend of member behaviors that collectively result in optimal association impact.

 

Engagement and Moving to We

People value and make contributions to activities that help them achieve something they care about. Treating each member as having a piece of the puzzle because the association’s job is to facilitate 24/7 knowledge sharing leads to innovative solutions which drive member their business outcomes.

engagementFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com, www.icimo.com, and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

Members Feel Connected?

Members Feel Connected? With year end approaching, member retention may loom large for any Association. Understanding why members leave gets to the heart of issues like retention and member connectedness. Connectedness is the critical organizational outcome that drives long term success, and unlike “loyalty,” it can be measured in behavioral terms. The 3 C’s capture how member knowledge “contributions” lead to “collaboration” and also stimulate and reinforce “connectedness”.

Why Members Leave

In the Strategic Member Engagement survey (http://bit.ly/1g8g1J2), executives rated the frequency at which members leave for 11 potential reasons. While the ranking changed slightly, both professional society and trade association executives agreed the top 5 reasons that members leave are:

1) Insufficient perceived value (ROI)
2) Retired, changed companies, in transition
3) Joined for a one time purchase discount (e.g. meeting registration)
4) Acquired by another company that won’t pay the dues
5) Insufficient connection to their business/professional objectives

Connectedness

members feel connectedAs shown in the graphic above, if an Association member perceives an opportunity to have an impact upon something he/she cares about, behaviors start to change from being a Recipient to a Knowledge Contributor. And for some, individual contribution that is recognized and openly appreciated leads to Solutions Collaboration with other knowledge contributors.

This is the point at which association magic begins! It’s when contributions and collaboration evolve into a sense of belonging that is called “Connectedness”  ( http://bit.ly/1ATwwUe). 

Members Feel Connected?

Members leave when they perceive insufficient value, insufficient connection to their business/personal objectives, insufficient opportunity to have an impact, or they really don’t want a bundled package of offerings and only joined for a discount.

Association’s driving member connectedness with the 3 C’s (contribute, collaborate, connect) provide differentiated member value and are better positioned to accelerate their retention and overall financial performance.

 

members feel connectedFree eBook is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com, www.icimo.com, and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

“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

 

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