Regardless of the association, these are generally the challenges that face every association leader. Web-based and application technologies and culture shifts threaten to disrupt the very nature of associations. Many of the benefits of belonging to an association are being delivered around you—business and social networking, education and certification, best practices sharing and even advocacy.
Growing the membership and generating revenue both depend on your ability to demonstrate real and relevant value.
In the association world we talk about a member’s ROE: return on engagement. “My time and money are valuable, what am I getting out of this association that I can’t get elsewhere, can my time be better spent doing something else to make a difference in my business and my life, is it worth it to be a member, an active member?”
We help association leaders to craft and tell a powerful “ROE” story, to not only recruit and retain members but to establish stronger more productive volunteer and advocacy relationships. Understanding the relationship values is the first step.
Philanthropy & Advocacy
The College of Physicians: A New Foundation
The “College,” as the members refer to the American College of Physicians, is the leader in medical education and certification for internists. With a diverse membership of more than 155,000 members from across the world, the leadership has a new bold vision for its future role of in Medicine. The College had a Foundation in the past, but poor management and lackluster programming forced its closing more than 5 years ago. New leadership is prepared to begin again, and to set their sights much higher. Zodiac was engaged to rebuild the culture of philanthropy and to establish a new program set to help shape the future of medicine, keeping the patient as the primary focus. We have developed a strategic underpinning, specific focus areas and have begun the solicitation process. The College is seeking to raise $10-$15M to develop a center of innovation and to create new sustainable pathways for early career professionals.
National Association of REALTORS: REALTOR University
The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is the largest professional trade association in the country with more than 1.4M members. The long-held aspiration for NAR is to always work to enhance the “professionalism” of its members. Already a leader in certifications and designations, NAR created REALTOR University to provide value for members, in a way that also enhances professionalism. NAR commissioned the curriculum development and accelerated the accreditation of the REALTOR University Master’s Degree in Real Estate and marketed it to members. The enrollment was unsatisfactory, and Zodiac was hired to develop a strategic business and marketing plan. Our recommendation was to partner with another online provider and outsource the operation of the school, rename and relaunch it under the partner’s name and communicate all the changes in a sequenced process. The University will re-emerge in 2019 as a school in the Columbia College, and Zodiac will manage all the communications.
The YMCA: Building a Body of Support
The YMCA South Hampton Roads (Norfolk Area) is a current client. There are 23 centers spread across the South Hampton Roads region. The business is extremely well managed, and the members see the gleaming centers and forget that the YMCA is a non-profit and monies need to be raised for safety and education programs for children and seniors, and for families without the means for membership. Zodiac was engaged to develop a new culture of philanthropy, through the centers and with the members. We brought Founder George Williams back to life, in the form of a 20-something actor’s recreation of Williams—the age he founded the YMCA as a haven for young men, and a safe place for community to grow. We developed a brand manifesto as a creative brief and installed a “point of sale” donation strategy, and continue to train staff members in the language of the ask.