“But How Do We Compare?” Part One

“But How Do We Compare?” Part One

Here at McKinley, we recently wrapped up the second installment of our annual Roundtables project. The Roundtables concept was born out of our clients’ constant quest to understand “…but how do we compare to other associations?” We realized that no matter how much member research we provided our clients with, they would still be asked by executives and board members how their organization was faring in comparison to others, which for most associations, is a very difficult question to answer.

We wanted to help answer these questions, and so we asked some of our clients to participate in a benchmarking study that specifically addressed these often asked questions around indicators such as retention rate, cost to recruit and membership budgets. After much discussion and several drafts, the Roundtables survey instrument was born. Participants recorded a wealth of data about their organizations ranging from budget breakdowns, to staffing models, to membership categories and retention rates.

This year, we brought representatives from the participating associations together at McKinley to present the final results of the survey in-person and give them an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the findings with one another. The detailed and candid conversations that followed were educational, insightful and inspiring. From “How do you work with a budget that small?!” to “Tell me how that recruitment campaign was so successful!” and everywhere in between, there was no shortage of knowledge and best practice sharing among the participants.

From the McKinley perspective, we saw this year’s Roundtables project as a great success. We were able to bring our clients together to get to know one another, learn from each other and have tangible data to support their membership decisions and planning. We were thrilled to have so many talented professionals participate, and we feel confident that each of them walked away with information that will help make their very difficult jobs as association executives a little easier. In Part Two of this post, we’ll share the first-hand client perspective provided by one of our Roundtables participants…stay tuned!