On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, the Board of Directors of the Central Virginia Chapter of The American Marketing Association met for its monthly board meeting and to conduct a mid-year performance review of the chapter, measured against our own 33-point Strategic Plan
Overall, we are doing well as a chapter. We have increased the number of programs and networking opportunities for our members, we are financially sound and we continue to deliver value to not only our members but also to the local business community.
One of our goals is to transition to a “year-round” programming calendar
that offers more purely networking opportunities for our members since in a survey at the end of last year members indicated a desire for more networking opportunities.
We responded with an additional members-only networking event in August at King Family Vineyards that was very successful, had our first known President’s lunch which served as an open networking and chapter Q&A opportunity, and made our membership roster available to all members. We are seeking additional ways to foster networking between members. We are also still hoping to achieve a rolling program calendar to keep the momentum going so let us know
if you have a killer program idea or a knock-‘em-dead speaker in mind for June or July.
Financially, we were helped a great deal by winning AMA’s Professional Chapters Council’s “Turnaround Chapter of the Year” award
for last year. This honor came with a cash prize of $1, 000.00. Even without the prize money, our first half-year financial performance shows a slight increase ($98.72) in our bank account. Sure, we could be doing better, but striving for breakeven or slightly above is not a bad thing for a non-profit, professional organization such as ours that is managed solely by volunteers.
One way to view this financial performance is to acknowledge that most all revenues generated through the operation of the chapter go directly back to member benefits via programming.
That being said, I believe that one of our objectives as an organization should be to increase our cash position so that we may look at new ways to benefit the local marketing community through new initiatives such as marketing scholarships, grants and contributions to charitable causes. Obviously we are unable to consider such initiatives if we are operating at a subsistence level, but ensuring long-term sustainability is every bit as important and our chapter is indeed sustainable.
During the 2005-2006 year so far, our membership performance
is flat from the end of last year (which saw us grow at an incredible 40% rate). While a slowing in the rate of growth was actually expected, we did not anticipate zero growth with the very real possibility of actually being down net members within the next month. This has budgetary repercussions as we do not have some resources from dues that we expected.
Overall, on the 33-point scale in our strategic plan, we scored ourselves 25/33 for a solid “C” grade at 76%.
Some of our recent obstacles have been the loss of a couple of key board members due to relocations, the general and familiar “over-worked, over-communicated” syndrome of modern society that also affects all the volunteers on our board who already have demanding jobs and personal priorities, and the disappointing lack of non-member attendance at our monthly programs. We have also been faced with the necessity to pay for a couple of venues this year and this always represents a major expense for us.
The good news is that the only grade or rating that truly counts as a chapter is the one that judges our overall performance at the end of our year on June 30, 2006. We have time to make adjustments and to take corrective action.
We need to work a straightforward, second half strategy of “Involve – Communicate – Deliver”.
We are addressing several of these key areas.
First and foremost, we need active involvement from all of our chapter members. If you can help run the chapter in any way, please volunteer your time and talents by serving on a committee or simply by helping out during one or more of our programs. Sometimes the little details make all the difference. We can use help promoting events and also finding economical or free hosting locations for events. We also can always use help creating name badges, setting up and cleaning up before, during and after our events. With our annual EMMA Excellence in Marketing Awards banquet
coming up in May, it will soon be “all hands on deck”. If you wish to help us in these or any other ways, please drop me an email and let me know.
Secondly, we simply need to do a better job involving local businesses and professionals in our activities. This includes promoting and publicizing our events and asking non-members to come and see what we are all about. We offer a great deal to not only members but to the entire local business community...but we do not always do such a great job reaching out to let people know about the value we offer.
Our first corrective action to address this challenge has already been initiated.
The Board unanimously approved a motion that we have a flyer insert in the first Chamber of Commerce mailing of 2006. Look for it in the chamber’s mailing scheduled to arrive during the first week of January. This flyer will promote our January 17 “Marketing on a Shoestring” program while also listing other upcoming programs this spring.
We cannot rely on a one trick pony to help us turn around our performance in the area of communications and involvement. Therefore, I ask you to please print out some copies of this flyer
and post them at your place of employment, hand them out to business associates or simply post them in suitable public places to help us get the word out. We are a marketing association, after all, and we can all do a better job at marketing the value we offer members and non-members alike. I am interested to hear your ideas on how we can do a better job communicating our message.
Please let me know what other ideas you have for our communications as we currently do not have a Chair for our Communications Committee and our current Communications strategy is merely the piecemeal efforts of our thinly-stretched board. We rarely lack strategic ideas, but what we lack is the manpower to take these ideas, work them into a comprehensive strategy and then and run with them through implementation by volunteering time, talents and reaching out to involve other members.
Lastly, we must remember that we must deliver value in everything we do—especially to our members. Our mission is to generate knowledge about marketing, communicate what is known about the best marketing practices and stimulate the use of high ethical standards in marketing activities. The value we offer to the business and marketing communities in Central Virginia is consistent with what one expects from the world’s largest organization of professional marketers. We must continue to find ways to deliver value in these areas to advance the study, practice and teaching of marketing throughout Central Virginia.
Involve – Communicate – Deliver
Together we will make it happen.
Warmest regards for a wonderful Christmas and holiday season and I wish for you prosperity, health and personal fulfillment in 2006.
Central Virginia Chapter of the American Marketing Association
Tel: (434) 975-6584
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