Celebrating Associations: Society of Critical Care Medicine The Intensive Care Professionals

 

We’re Celebrating SCCM Because: It implemented a remote work environment, with a staff of 70, that employees like and saves money.

Association and History: Founded in 1970, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With 16,000 members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensures excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.

Mission: SCCM’s mission is to secure the highest quality care for all critically ill and injured patients.

Envisioned Future: SCCM envisions a world in which all critically ill and injured persons receive care from a present integrated team of dedicated trained intensivists and critical care specialists.

The Society for Critical Care Medicine Takes Working Remotely to an Entirely New Level

So, maybe you let your employees work one day a week at home; maybe even two days, and you offer flexible hours. Or maybe you’re one of those CEOs who says, “No way. I know little work will get done at home—too many distractions.”

CEOs who see a future for their associations 10 years from now with the right staff to take them there have only one option: Creating a remote work environment.

“We have more people working remotely than can fit into our office space,” said Laura Lewis, Director of Technology for the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). Instead of opting for adding more office space, moving or building a new headquarters, SCCM chose a much less expensive route: convincing leadership to trust their employees and investing in technology that supports telecommuting.

“Almost 95 percent of our employees work remotely,” Lewis said. “Even our CEO works two days from home.” Let’s hear more from Linda:

Why did SCCM start a remote workforce?

About 10 years ago, SCCM was reviewing its emergency response plan in light of a pandemic that was a possible threat on several continents. We have a very active volunteer leadership, and they’re on the front lines of providing health care in emergency situations globally. We must be available 24/7 to assist our members, whether it’s an epidemic or tsunami.

We realized that we didn’t have the technology to handle a disaster, so we started with the basics—a remote desktop service (RDS), where employees could log into SCCM’s systems from home and forward their office phones to their cell phones.

We debuted the RDS plan on a what would have been a “snow day” for employees. The meteorologists predicted heavy snow, so we told staff to stay home and we conducted our first all-employee, remote work day to test the technology. For the most part, it was a success, and we had plenty of time to work out any glitches in case of a real emergency. Now we look at this as Phase I.

What triggered the next phase?

Each spring, our CEO and executive vice president, David J. Martin​, CAE, conducts a retreat for the leadership team and asks everyone to read a book. Several years ago, the book was, Why Managing Sucks, which talked about a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). Authors Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson posed these questions, “When does work start, and when does work stop in today’s global economy?” They also discussed how defining work as “butts in the seats in the office” is pretty antiquated.

I was inspired and became a ROWE evangelist! I’ve always believed in setting department goals and then letting my staff determine how to accomplish them. As long as the work is done, I don’t mind if my programmer wants to work at 2 a.m.

It turned out that I was one of the first employees to test the remote system beyond working from home—out of state. In 2016, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He’s fine now, but his condition was very serious back then. For four months, my sister and I took turns performing our jobs remotely for two weeks at a time from a Michigan ICU hospital room.

There were a couple of glitches. One was that I noticed that the network connection might not work in one part of the hospital, so I’d move to another location. Nothing major, but this was good intel for what might be problematic for SCCM employees working remotely.

Also, I’ve been working in technology for 20 years now and don’t get flustered. Tech people generally are not afraid to try new things. If one thing doesn’t work, you try something else. That’s my mindset.

Not everyone is comfortable with technology. How did you achieve by-in to the concept?

People still can and do work only in the SCCM office. It’s an option, but most employees choose a combination of remote and office time.

When I introduced the ROWE concept to senior leaders, I posed one question: “Do you trust your staff?” As you can imagine, people were shocked. Unless you’re standing over your employees all the time, you don’t know if they’re doing their work, and that’s not practical. If you don’t trust them to do their job at home unsupervised, maybe you don’t have the right people working for you.

We all get tired of hearing about “culture change,” but this really is a culture change and for the best. Were some people against the idea at the beginning? Absolutely! However, one staff member went from being a complete skeptic to being fully on board with the concept. Suddenly, you can watch little Johnny play baseball and not have to take a half-day off. Just do the work and be available to your colleagues. We’ve seen a real shift in peoples’ attitudes. They feel they have better control over their lives, and we do not have a high attrition rate.

While there are some completely “virtual” associations, some CEOs are still having difficulty with a couple of employees working from home one day a week. How do associations start a broader strategy such as SCCMs?

By asking some serious questions. First, in 10 years, do you expect your association to still exist? If you answered “yes,” you will need a flexible work environment to attract staff. Millennials expect access to anything and everything from anywhere. Also, we’re a global society! An 8 to 5 workday is a dead idea if you want to expand your reach internationally. Work life and personal life are blending.

Second, do you have commitment from the top? The first step is to present your ideas to your CEO. I wouldn’t have even thought to proceed without David’s support for many reasons, and because I knew people would go to him to complain. Changing the culture is the hardest part. The technology is easy. How people define work, how the association defines work, and do you trust your staff are questions that need to be answered.

What would you have done differently?

Our original phone system did not work well for this number of staff to work remotely. We had to use work arounds such as forwarding your phone. Well, people often forget to forward their phones.

We also may have relied too long on technology being housed in the physical office space, and a server went down. That was a fail. Moving to Office 365 helped. We are working on moving all of our servers to the cloud—no physical data “center” will be necessary.

We also should have brought a few more people to the table during the early planning process. It’s always a challenge to determine who the “right” people are. While you can’t have everyone involved in every aspect, it would have been a good idea to include, for example, the switchboard operator—not just her boss—from the beginning.

Last piece of advice?

The world will not end if the conference call goes dead.

Share YOUR Story: What is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact connie@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

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OTA Launches Modern, Intuitive, Flexible Website

 

About

​The Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) was conceived and organized in 1977 and formally established in 1985. Although headquartered in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons building in Rosemont, Illinois, OTA is a stand-alone organization, managed by a staff of 10.

The organization’s membership includes more than 2,000 medical professionals who work in the field of musculoskeletal trauma injury in the United States, Canada and around the world. Members are academic and clinical orthopaedic surgeons, residents, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, researchers and other allied health professionals.

The Challenge

A website reflects every facet of an organization’s brand. Even groups with robust IT and communications departments do not launch a redesign without some trepidation. Success depends on the entire association’s involvement. From the CEO to the most junior staff member, everyone needs to be ready to give extra effort, creativity and commitment to get the job done successfully.

Like many newer organizations, OTA’s staff was lean but efficient. There was no IT department and no employees who had IT as their sole responsibility. Consultants would need to identify strategies to help the small staff cope with the additional tasks this project would generate.

OTA’s physician base had been rapidly growing. Members didn’t feel their current site reflected the vibrant organization they aspired to create. They were excited about the redesign process and adding many of the bells and whistles that they saw when they visited their favorite online communities and brands. Staff was frustrated by a platform that did not allow for flexibility in design or graphics. In addition to looking out-of-date, OTA’s site was slow to load, not compatible with mobile devices and built on an unstable platform. An even larger issue was the fact that no one could explain why the site seemed to be invisible to search engines.

Content creation and management was another significant area where advice and improvement was critical. Information was not intuitively arranged, making it difficult for visitors to explore the site or find what they were seeking. Since best practices for communicating on the internet change rapidly, the staff also needed to be updated on the latest techniques.

The Solution

.orgSource’s goal, as consultants, was to understand OTA as thoroughly as a trusted employee and to approach the redesign with an insider’s care and enthusiasm. We were also committed to identifying a vendor who would provide the comprehensive range of services required by a growing organization with limited staff resources, including:

  • Oversight for all IT functions involved in supporting the site
  • Ongoing maintenance and upgrades
  • Hosting, monitoring uptime and site load times, and responding to issues
  • Integrating with other platforms such as OTA’s Knowledge Portal, which was being developed by the publisher of the organization’s journal

After in-depth reviews of the staffs’ requirements, .orgSource prepared an RFQ which was circulated to prospective vendors. As responses arrived, we organized the vetting process and walked employees through a comparative analysis of each proposal. A small group of vendors was invited to demonstrate their products. When the winning bidder was selected, .orgSource assessed the contract to ensure that it met OTA’s budget and technical requirements.

Developing new, exciting and well-organized content was a multi-step process. A content strategy survey was the starting point. Key staff and members were asked to identify OTA’s various audiences and to pinpoint the type of information each group would be interested in receiving.

The survey was followed by a card sort exercise. Participants categorized and labeled the information into separate buckets. The goal was to create a site architecture that would be logical and intuitive for visitors. A content strategy workshop brought all the pieces together for fine-tuning. Staff was provided with tools and templates to help them decide which information from the old site to delete, revise or augment. .orgSource also organized a tutorial on effective writing for the web so that the copy would be as contemporary as the site’s new visuals.

In order to ensure that the new site would be easy to find, .orgSource’s technical detectives investigated and identified the coding problems that were causing OTA to be overlooked by search engines. Consultants also offered tips on how to use keywords and other features of Search Engine Optimization to ensure that OTA remained at the top of the search results.

The Results

OTA’s site has a fresh professional look that matches its members’ aspirations for the organization. The site’s improved architecture makes it easy for visitors to find the information that they need. The staff has the flexibility to add interesting graphics as well as video. In phase two, the website will integrate with OTA’s Knowledge Portal, which will improve the journal’s impact and further support members in their continuing education. This site should serve OTA well into the future because the new vendor is ready to help staff manage the content and make software updates as initiatives and plans develop.

Celebrating Associations: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights the achievements of associations and the great impact they have on the industries they serve.


We’re celebrating AAPD because it has committed to a cavity-free youth through community-based initiatives in underserved areas and kid-focused programming.

Association and history: Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not-for-profit professional membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry and is the recognized authority on children’s oral health. As advocates for children’s oral health, the AAPD promotes evidence-based policies and clinical guidelines; educates and informs policymakers, parents and guardians, and other health care professionals; fosters research; and provides continuing professional education for pediatric dentists and general dentists who treat children. http://www.aapd.org

The AAPD’s vision is optimal oral health for all children.

About its members: The AAPD’s 10,000 members serve as primary care and specialty providers for millions of children from infancy through adolescence; provide advanced, specialty-level care for infants, children, adolescents and patients with special healthcare needs; and are the primary contributors to professional education programs and scholarly works concerning children’s dental care.

We’ll learn more in an interview with C. Scott Litch, Esq., CAE, AAPD Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel


When we think of childhood diseases, tooth decay generally is not one that comes to mind. Is it a serious problem? 

AAPD: Yes! Tooth decay (cavities) is the single most common chronic childhood disease, and it’s an epidemic among our nation’s youngest children from families struggling with poverty. Hundreds of thousands of children nationwide go untreated each year because of financial hardship. Worse, cavities are usually entirely preventable if a child receives regular dental care and follows good preventive care at home (such as brushing for two minutes two times a day).

That’s why the Foundation of the AAPD, Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), supports community-based initiatives to provide “dental homes” to children from families who cannot afford dental care. A dental home is a place where children receive consistent, compassionate dental care. “Consistent” is key. We strongly feel that on-going pediatric dental care is essential for giving children the proper foundation for a healthy life, from childhood through adolescence and beyond.

Tell us about the results. 

AAPD: We’re proud to report that since 2010, HSHC has awarded more than $4.6 million in grants and commitments to 89 organizations in 32 states and the District of Columbia. HSHC grantees have helped provide Dental Homes to more than 320,000 children.

In addition, every year—before the start of our annual session —we conduct a “Dental Home Day” at a local clinic to promote the program by providing dental care to children. It’s staffed by member volunteers.  https://www.healthysmileshealthychildren.org/

Then there’s, “Mouth Monsters.” I took the Santa quiz. With the attention-grabbing and colorful graphics and interesting topics, parents and kids must love this website! 

AAPD: They do. So do our members. The example you mentioned asked parents and kids a series of questions to help Santa pack his sleigh by choosing healthy snacks. It was very popular and taught some important lessons on taking care of your teeth.

Obviously, we change the content to reflect the time of year. Our members refer parents to this website all the time, and its engaging layout captivates kids and adults.

Mouth Monsters was launched in 2014, as a kid-friendly public relations campaign, designed as a way for children and their parents to learn about good dental care and the importance of pediatric dentists—while having fun. It links to our consumer portal, mychildrensteeth.org. Through this site, we are committed to providing parents with the latest information and data regarding their children’s dental and oral healthcare, courtesy of our member pediatric dentists, who are on the frontlines serving as primary care and specialty providers for millions of children. http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/www.mychildrensteeth.org

Developing the next generation of leaders is becoming a priority for many organizations. What is the AAPD doing in this regard? 

AAPD: Fourteen years ago, AAPD established the Leadership Institute with the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University for members who want to move into the leadership ranks. Participants engage in a variety of educational forums that include leadership management, organization change, negotiation strategies and crisis management, during four-day weekends, over three years.

To qualify, members must undergo a very competitive admissions process. AAPD and HSHC issue a call for applications to all AAPD members every three years. Besides their CVs and documentation of their professional accomplishments and future goals, applicants also must demonstrate how their participation in the program will benefit their volunteer pursuits outside of organized dentistry.

In 2012 the AAPD established an Advanced Leadership Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This is available to graduates of the Kellogg program. The first Wharton cohort helped AAPD to develop a new, streamlined strategic plan.

In 2017, you launched “Pedo Teeth Talks” podcasts. Will you continue? And what’s new for 2018? 

AAPD: Podcasts have been very successful in reaching our audience. We have kept them to a short time frame, making it easy for our members to digest the content. During the AAPD 2018 Annual Session, we will have the opportunity to capture more content for Pedo Teeth Talk as we interview experts speaking at the meeting.

Another big AAPD development in 2018 will be the release of a pediatric dentist workforce report, which will be disseminated to policymakers and the media. It was developed under contract with the Center for Health Workforce Studies, University at Albany, SUNY.

Written by Connie Arkus, freelance contributor


Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact connie@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Share Your Story

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights the achievements of associations and the great impact they have on the industries they serve.

Share YOUR Story. How is your association making a difference for its profession or in the community? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? What operations process have you changed that has transformed your association?

Contact connie@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Association Generosity Lifts Mark Nagasawa Up the Mountain

Mark Nagasawa’s life changed dramatically on September 12, 2017. After a day of flu-like symptoms, Mark’s wife, Kat, found him confused and disoriented in their living room. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors diagnosed a heart attack and a PCA ischemic stroke. Following the first stroke, Mark had two more, which left both his speech and his vision on the left side impaired.

Mark was the education manager at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) where his wife, Kat, also serves as director of operations and governance. The association community was quick to circle the wagons around their colleagues in a time of need. Just 13 days after Sherry Budziak, CEO and co-founder of .orgSource and .orgCommunity, posted Mark’s story on gofundme.com, $14,135 was raised from 104 friends, co-workers and caring colleagues. The many messages of support on Mark’s gofundme site are a heart-warming example of the bond that forms among people who work in the association family.

Mark1

Following his hospital stay, Mark was transferred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for rehabilitation therapy. He is now able to have visitors and makes daily progress. But, there are months, and perhaps even years, ahead until recovery. Kat’s mantra for herself and Mark is “to conquer a really big mountain, you focus on each step and not on how high you must climb.”

One of the great rewards of working in the non-profit sector is its emphasis on people and mission. Friends from many different associations have given the Nagasawas a boost up their mountain. People who had never met the family demonstrated this group’s huge heart and willingness to support one of their own. Megan Schagrin, executive director of SAEM, also played a leading role in making Mark’s fundraiser a success. The goal is to raise $25,000 to help with the ongoing expenses associated with Mark’s recovery, such as finding a new home that is ADA compliant and purchasing a car that can accommodate his wheelchair. Visit this link to help the Nagasawas on their journey to the summit.

 

 

Associations Rally with Diapers, Formula and Love for Hurricane Maria’s Most Fragile Victims

When Laura Lewis received a desperate plea from a pediatric hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she swung into action. Following Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island, the hospitals were overwhelmed with patients. The challenges of power outages, adequate food and clean water were compounded by the need for both medical and basic supplies, as well as critical care clinicians. Laura, who is director of technology at the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), is also the Deputy Team Leader of SCCM’s Emergency Response Team and immediately put out a call to her colleagues to render aid.  As SCCM has a long history of assisting in disaster recovery, the team quickly announced the need for volunteers and within 24 hours had over 300 critical care clinicians ready to go to the island. Further, the Society contacted its vendor community and asked them to provide medical supplies which were badly needed and they likewise responded with urgent shipments. This had been the standard way in which SCCM responded when the call for aid came from its members. But as Laura reported to her contact in San Juan and prepared to close the case, an unusual request was made. Could SCCM get non-medical supplies such as diapers, baby food, formula, and other items of need for their pediatric patients?

22221918_10155773968785818_8241926250547079965_nWith support and encouragement from CEO, David J. Martin, Laura set up a wish list on Amazon and sent out a message asking the critical care community to consider donating. The response was amazing. Daily delivery trucks began bringing boxes of all shapes and sizes to SCCM headquarters, sometimes over 1,000 at a time. The staff Emergency Response team rallied the entire SCCM staff who reported to the warehouse and unpacked, sorted and re-boxed tens of thousands of items.22279749_10155782925030818_3952246968541933366_n (1)

On October 9, 2017, a full tractor trailer load, 23 pallets of baby food, clothing and other essentials, shipped from SCCM’s headquarters headed to San Juan.  On October 12, a second tractor trailer load followed. Laura describes her appreciation for the extraordinary support like this, “The turnout for our call for donations was beyond anything we could have imagined. Co-workers and their families came in on Columbus Day (It’s a holiday for us) to help pack, organize and load the truck. I’m so amazed at the generosity of so many!”

22219883_10155771407380818_5313005626985786952_o“This big-hearted response is what I’ve come to expect from our association community,” says Sherry Budziak, co-founder of .orgCommunity and CEO of .orgSource. “Ours is a caring group that is eager to do good in the world and to extend a hand to children and others in need.”

The Amazon drive is closed now, but it’s not too late to help. You can make a cash donation by contacting support@sccm.org or calling 847-827-6888.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the world’s largest nonprofit medical organization dedicated exclusively to improving care of the critically ill and injured. With members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensure excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Associations: NJCPA’s Digital Transformation

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

This issue is exclusively sponsored by Results Direct.


Association and History: Founded in 1898, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) is the largest professional organization serving the needs of the state’s CPAs and aspiring CPAs. NJCPA offers CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextmore than 500 continuing education programs each year, as well as other networking, leadership and volunteer opportunities. There are 11 chapters and numerous committees and interest groups made up of hundreds of CPA volunteers. NJCPA actively lobbies the state legislature, and promotes the integrity, objectivity, competence and professionalism of CPAs and the quality of their services.

 About Its Members: With a membership of more than 14,000, the NJCPA represents the majority of New Jersey CPAs in public practice, business and industry, government and education.

We’re Celebrating at NJCPA Because: of the impact its new digital strategy is having on operations, culture and customers. What started as a simple need to redesign its website prompted NJCPA to look at its organization more holistically and rethink how it services member needs. To support NJCPA’s transformation, Results Direct provided a comprehensive digital strategy in 2014. The organization has responded by reshaping itself from the inside out.

We’ll Learn More in an Interview with:

  • NJCPA Chief Marketing Officer Don Meyer
  • NJCPA Brand & Marketing Strategist Heather Weddle
  • NJCPA Content & Communications Manager Rachael Bell
  • Result Direct’s Senior Solutions Consultant Alex Mouw, CAE

Q: How did NJCPA’s need for a website redesign spark an organizational transformation?

A: (Mouw) Results Direct has had an ongoing partnership with NJCPA. We first started to work together on a redesign project in 2009 (launched in 2010) that focused on information architecture and graphic design. Needs continued to evolve and NJCPA requested help on another redesign in 2013. That design focused more on content strategy and user experience. At the conclusion of that project, a need for a digital strategy was determined and delivered.

(Weddle) We had a number of platforms and systems (website, AMS, CMS, email, marketing automation) that weren’t working in unison to drive transactions or desired outcomes. We were in need of strategic, best-practice guidance to align all these systems and technology to better support our efforts. The website was a snapshot of how we were working as an organization and what we needed to do to work smarter: a better understanding of goals, cross-departmental collaboration, and improved automation. Everyone needed to realize that we’re all on the same team, going after the same goal.

(Meyer) The website is our most publically visible tool. Historically, it had been good at informing, but it needed to transform into a more sales and lead-nurturing implement—driving engagement, exchanges and transactions. We were not nurturing new customers. We had to get people to understand the website is part of a bigger ecosystem of communication platforms. The key was getting buy-in, approval and guidance from upper management—the CEO, COO, CFO and CLO.

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Q: What issues does the digital strategy aim to solve?

A: (Mouw) The document is a 10-page executive brief that provides a summary of current challenges and recommendations for short-term and long-term strategies and tactics to address those challenges and organizational goals. The deliverables also included “swim-lanes” to demonstrate the data flow and intersections of information between NJCPA’s key online communications channels (website, email, community, social) and helped them to identify opportunities to better connect systems and information to deliver superior user experiences.

(Meyer) We weren’t evolving because we weren’t getting the 360-degree behavior view of the customer. We needed to change in order to deal with change. Half of our membership is part of the baby boomer generation and retiring within the next 15 years. The number of people taking the CPA exam has flattened. More baby boomers are leaving the profession than the number of millennials entering it. How can we remain relevant to our customer base in this changing environment?

The digital strategy helped us focus on a new approach—a complete departure from how we operated for 10-plus years, from our budgeting to our day-to-day work. It taught us that we constantly need to adjust ourselves to be in tune with what our customers want. We’re now trying to build solutions and experiences based on customer behavior and what they are asking us to do. It’s a new philosophy.

(Weddle) NJCPA has historically been driven by program goals. The former website was an example of that. The problem with that was trying to meet and prioritize everyone’s wants and needs–it was like playing political football. The fact is we are all equally responsible for those programs and successes. The team realized that they would be more effective if the departments could work together.

Q: Describe how the digital strategy has made an impact. What elements of the strategy have been implemented? What have been the results?

A: (Bell) Results Direct introduced the “swim lane” concept to us. It’s about creating paths different users can take so they are not just doing one thing and leaving the site. The purpose is to lead users on a journey by highlighting related items to that visitor. We approached the [most recent] website redesign differently than before—we focused more on the new navigation and structure vs. the [creative]. We had focus groups, scenario-based navigation testing, several iterations of the new navigation—a lot of testing and tweaking. Before the redesign, the website navigation was based on how NJCPA was structured internally instead of being driven by user needs. Now the website is action-oriented and customer-focused. For example, each navigation area is a verb: “Become a CPA,” “Connect With Our Community,” “Advance Your Career,” “Earn CPE,” “Stay Informed,” and “Give Back.”

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(Meyer) The strides we’ve made in 18 months is astonishing. Marketing communications didn’t have a strategic seat at the table, and operated more like an order taker for the organization. The digital strategy made the case for marketing, branding, and communications being a part of strategically leading the NJCPA. As a result, the COO approached me with merging membership with the marketing and communications department. Both had the same goal: attract CPAs to join the membership. This was the beginning of breaking down long-standing silos. In January 2016, we also centralized all communication and content functions under Rachael. With this consolidation, we can align the website, magazine and all other communications.

The organization also created several cross-departmental teams that create projects and drive initiatives together. These teams have been able to build alliances, establish trust, and become places for new ideas and suggestions for improvements:

  • Senior Executive Committee. Sets and oversees NJCPA’s strategic direction, priorities and policies and reports to the NJCPA Executive Committee. Meets monthly.
  • Senior Management Team. Supports and reports to the Senior Executive Committee in the management and execution of operational initiatives and the communication of organizational goals to staff. Meets monthly.
  • Program Evaluation Team. Evaluates programs to: a) determine whether resources are effectively allocated to deliver upon the organization’s mission and strategic priorities, b) establish key performance metrics, and c) assesses performance. Reports to the Senior Executive Committee and meets as necessary.
  • Risk Management Committee. Oversees the development, implementation and monitoring of loss prevention programs throughout the organization. Reports to the Board of Trustees and meets quarterly.
  • Content Steering Team. Supports the development, delivery and promotion of content to drive business leads, influence customer markets and grow the brand. Reports to the Chief Marketing Officer and meets quarterly.
  • Information Technology Advisory Team. Proposes IT enhancements to increase staff efficiency and effectiveness, and improve the customer experience. Reports to the COO and meets every other month.
  • Disaster Recovery Team. Responsible for maintaining the Disaster Recovery Plan and communicating updates and changes to staff. Reports to the COO and meets annually or as needed.

(Bell) We updated our taxonomy for the first time since 2001, and involved members with this process. The taxonomy is what we use to tag everything—articles, events, videos. Because everything is tagged, we can highlight other articles, events, and resources that match a user’s area of interest. It helps us facilitate those “swim lanes” and get people to move from one thing to the next. We further leverage the taxonomy by offering two fully customized e-newsletters. Each recipient receives content that matches their demographics and areas of interest. The updated taxonomy was what we needed to deliver valuable, personalized content and opportunities.

We also have unified all our platforms creatively—we’ve updated all the fonts and top-level messaging for our emails, newsletters, social media so we can unify the customer experience.

Q: What else is in the works?

A: (Bell) We are in the process of developing a behavioral data warehouse. What members tell us they are interested in and what their behavior shows us they are interested in can be rather different. We are working with Results Direct to merge data from several platforms (website, online community, Google analytics, email marketing and marketing automation tools) to track and collect information to help us do a better job serving members. We are trying to build an infrastructure that will enable customers get to information they want, when and how they want it (blog posts, community discussions, etc.)

We’re really driven today by best practices in the technology space, not the association space. Members are expecting a for-profit online experience (like banking, shopping, ordering food) from their professional associations.

(Weddle) We’ve built a big part of the foundation. The ultimate litmus test will be: Did we meet membership recruitment and retention goals? Our next step is to ensure our technology infrastructure is equipped for us to evolve and to support what our marketplace is asking us to do. Most associations are going to have to rethink their technology “stack”. How are all their technology components connected? Is it doing what they need it to do today, tomorrow—and three years from tomorrow? Do we have what we need to get where we’re going?


Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.


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A Message from Our Sponsor: Results Direct is a leading web and mobile solutions firm based in Alexandria, Va. For more than 20 years,

RD_Logo_HighRes-BLUE-GreenTag.png Results Direct has guided the nation’s top associations in crafting and implementing online and mobile strategies that have included:

  • Strategic Consulting
  • Responsive Design
  • Content Management Systems
  • Mobile Strategy
  • Mobile Apps
  • Systems Integration
  • Hosting

Results Direct collaborates with more than 100 forward-thinking associations who look to us for innovative and user-focused solutions. Clients include:

  • ASAE
  • CESSE
  • National PTA