Public Minutes

12/12/2016 11:41 AM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

By: Whit Shepard, RWS Consulting, Inc.
In a professional association such as ACN – with its 25-year history and hundreds of members coming through our doors – the organization inevitably evolves over time to reflect both its leadership and the times. Our Board of Directors, revitalized with new leadership and new members, is excited to be moving our organization forward into a new era of nonprofit consulting. In the past year, the Board has been engaged in a number of initiatives – both strategic and tactical – that we believe will strengthen our organization as it prepares for the next quarter-century.

On a strategic level, we have recently participated in two Board retreats focused on the nature of our organization and how we can meet the ever-changing demands of our profession. Fundamental to this discussion has been a consideration of the kind of organization we wish to become: an umbrella membership association that provides services and programming to as many members as we can attract, or a professional society of seasoned, savvy professionals that can promise our nonprofit partners a consistent level of excellence and experience. How we answer this question will have fundamental implications for how ACN is structured and financed going forward. Stay tuned.

From a tactical standpoint, we frequently consider the issue of how ACN can deepen its relationship with the nonprofit community by providing proactive assistance in identifying, hiring and utilizing consultants to improve their organizations. Consistent with the age of data-driven decision making, we asked two of our fellow ACN members to design and execute a series of focus groups with the aim of identifying ways to add value to the member experience while providing more value to the community of nonprofit organizations we serve. With these findings in mind, the board has taken up a number of initiatives. We have:

  • Revamped the ACN website, making it more user-friendly for both our member consultants and nonprofit organizations who are looking for clients or using our RFP process.
  • Leveraged Google Analytics to analyze how users find our site and what they do once they get there.
  • Implemented several strategies to engage new and long-term members, including a New Member Orientation.
  • Added three new committees to our slate: Non-Profit Relations, which focuses on new ways to build affiliations with the non-profit community; Technology, which is responsible for ACN’s website and Customer Relationship Management software; and Sponsorship, which is looking at new models for underwriting the costs of ACN Events.
  • Strengthened our relationship with the Axelson Symposium as a means of more effectively reaching both the nonprofit and consulting communities with the message that ACN can be a valuable resource to each.
  • Presented a series of consistently excellent programming with thought leaders, including Waverly Deutsch’s two-part series on the Business Model Canvas, an annual Techworking Seminar and a “Voice of the Client” session, in which leaders of nonprofit organizations and foundations provide insights in how and why they hire consultants.
  • Bolstered the membership standards for new members, consistent with our aim of becoming an association of career consultants.
  • These are just a few of the organizational improvements that the Board has made recently. As 2014 unfolds, we will be announcing a series of exciting new initiatives that will increase the value of ACN’s membership and create new opportunities for the nonprofit community.

We’ve come a long way in 25 years, and the best is yet to come!

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