New Engagement Opportunity for Associations?

New Engagement Opportunity for Associations? Global Competition, political turmoil, and the digital economy are creating new opportunities for Associations and Professional Societies. Some organizations are leveraging external challenges to partner with their members to help them achieve business and professional outcomes. This type of “shared outcome” approach can help Associations move the conversation away from “what do I get for my dues?”

A Highly Engaged Solution Community

ACCA, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, www.acca.org, works through ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) to develop industry standards for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and building performance. They collaborate with members, engage experienced small business owners, and consistently recognize volunteer thought leadership contributions in their standards setting process.

The organization’s engagement practices help reinforce a “we” focused & a “highly engaged solution community.” Recognition of Air Conditioning Contractor Expert Contributions throughout the process in a target member segment also increases member “connectivity” to the Association.

engagement opportunityPaul Stalknecht, ACCA President & CEO, says the Standards Program is “effective because it’s driven and led by accomplished small business owners.” He emphasizes that their standards setting initiative has influenced how the organization structures their offerings to Air Conditioning Contractors across multiple platforms.

New Engagement Opportunity for Associations?

A “shared outcome” focus similar to ACCA’s will motivate more members to contribute and be connected if they believe that the outcomes they care most about will be achieved. The Association reports upward trends in retention, annual operating revenue, and fee for service offerings.

Organizations who most often reported (http://bit.ly/1g8g1J2) upward 3 year business trends were the ones who reported an understanding of member “up at night” issues and then engaging members in becoming active on those needs.

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

engagement opportunity

 

Association Member Viewing Lens

Strategic Member Engagement: The Association Member Viewing Lens Nowadays, Executives no longer make membership decisions per se, they make business decisions. The lens in which these decisions are evaluated and made is all about business, professional, and personal outcomes. Associations who align their offerings do so by first understanding member “up at night” issues.

“We”  Focused Community

viewing lensFor Tino Mantella, President & CEO, the Technology Association of Georgia, www.tagonline.org, listening and reinforcing their engaged solution community is a consistent mantra. Annual membership surveys, focus groups, market studies, and dedicated relationship resources provide Mantella, his senior team, and their Board of Directors with connectivity to member “up at night” issues. (http://bit.ly/1aT4qmn)

TAG also emphasizes collaboration throughout its community and rewards, welcomes, and recognizes “thought leadership” contributions among its 34 different Special Interest Groups.

Test: Is the Association a Highly Engaged Solution Community?

Entrepreneurs, a key TAG membership segment, wanted the organization to help achieve enactment of a $100 million investment fund to assist early growth stage firms. Working as part of a broader business coalition, TAG marshaled its resources. The legislation achieved final passage in the Georgia State Legislature on March 28, 2013. (http://bit.ly/1lcl9Ud)

Data Drives Alignment With The Association Member Viewing Lens

Mantella says “we think about all the ways we listen, learn, and respond to our members.” In 2014 member retention stands at 98% with annual corporate membership growth at 35%.

Strategic Member Engagement: The Association Member Viewing Lens

Associations who regularly conduct member impact surveys (not merely satisfaction surveys) fare better. The survey of 307 Association Executives conducted by Potomac Core Consulting, Vertical Leap Consulting, and icimo, shows that organizations who conduct annual member impact surveys with annual revenue perform 15% higher over a 3 year period than those who do not.

For complete survey results and the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, sign up at www.potomaccore.com.

viewing lens

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

 

Knowing Member “Up at Night” Issues Accelerates Association Growth & Positioning

up at nightKnowing Member “Up at Night” Issues Accelerates Association Growth & Positioning. Trade Associations and Professional Societies with upward trending 3-year operating results are far more likely to better understand member “up at night” issues and to engage members in acting upon those needs. This and other relevant actionable data was released in a joint survey of 307 Association Executives conducted through the collaborative effort of Vertical Leap Consulting, icimo, and Potomac Core Consulting.

Up at Night Issues: What Members Care About Most

Strategic Member Engagement is mostly about understanding member “up at night” issues and the outcomes that Association Members seek instead of focusing on member satisfaction with an association’s current “outputs” (products or services).

3 Year Operating Results

Associations who identify member “up at night” issues and then engage their members in solutions are 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. Trade Associations and Professional Societies reflecting upward trends also more frequently have these capabilities:

  1. Very highly engaged boards who are strategic in focus
  2. Regularly conduct member impact surveys (not merely “satisfaction” surveys)
  3. Ability to gather and segment member data; especially if able to integrate data from multiple sources/platforms
  4. Very high degree of board understanding and strategizing about the needs of the average member
  5. Have identified member segments who most want to contribute knowledge and collaborate with other members
  6. Have identified specific behaviors that foreshadow future increases in knowledge and contribution and collaboration

Knowing Member “Up at Night” Issues Accelerates Association Growth & Positioning

Having a firm grip on Member “Up at Night” Issues has game change potential for Associations.  Ultimately it helps align organizations with the things that their members really care about.

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

up at night

3 Reasons Why Association CEO’s Must See These Results

association3 Reasons Why Association CEO’s Must See These Results.Vertical Leap Consulting, icimo, and Potomac Core Consulting are poised to release results from a groundbreaking Strategic Member Engagement Survey on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. The Survey was conducted between October and November,  2013, with numerous national/international trade associations and professional societies participating. This survey focused on Strategic Member Engagement as an accelerant to growth and positioning strategies.

Call to Action: 3 Reasons Why Association CEO’s Must See These Survey Results

Executives from trade associations and professional societies will be interested in how their peers are experimenting with new approaches and demonstrating how these are driving their long term impact and organizational health.

According to the survey’s collaborators, there are 3 factors why these results are a must read:

  • Bryce Gartner, CEO of icimo. “Successful associations are leveraging their data to make better decisions for membership, growth, revenue and ultimately to better engage their members. “
  • Dan Varroney, President & CEO, Potomac Core Consulting. “We’ll be sharing key linkages between member engagement practices and an association’s business model.”
  • Steve Lane, Vertical Leap President. “Leading associations pay attention to member outcomes in addition to association outputs.”

Define Future Member Engagement Levels

Survey results will be shared by Potomac Core Consulting, Vertical Leap Consulting, and icimo  at the following locations:

3 Reasons Why Association CEO’s Must See These Survey Results

“The number of Trade Association CEO’s who participated in the survey is impressive. We look forward to a robust conversation on strategic member engagement with the association community,” says Bryce Gartner of icimo, Steve Lane of Vertical Leap Consulting, and Dan Varroney of Potomac Core Consulting.

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

association

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