Bringing Together Opposing Membership Segments
The membership of an organization was predominantly state or local government agencies and public sector (government) employees. Public sector contracting and purchasing rules have strict contact, communication and disclosure rules. In the past 20 years most state and local legislatures have mandated outsourcing a variety of services (e.g., call centers, financial disbursement services, official notifications, etc.) in order to increase efficiency and decrease costs. These two circumstances led to a standoff between the organization’s private sector members (the primary constituents of the organization) and the private sector vendors.
The organization was facing a variety of membership challenges:
- Membership consisted of diverse market segments with different goals
- Government regulations and mandates increased the divide between member segments
- Membership segments were unable to create a mutually beneficial environment
- Sponsors and exhibitors threatened to pull financial support from the organization
MCI USA assembled a team of professionals, including a seasoned resource development professional with years of corporate fund-raising experience, who facilitated a two hour breakfast meeting with the organization’s elected executive committee and a representative from each corporate partner. In the course of the meeting it became clear that the vendor partners could be divided into several groups:
- Small vendors whose purpose for participation is to find other vendors to subcontract for (minority-owned, women-owned, etc.)
- Large vendors who are more interested in discovering upcoming RFP opportunities.
After compiling the priorities and wishes of the vendor community the MCI | USA team recommended several schedule changes to the annual conference and its policy/Washington week meeting to enable more significant networking opportunities. The organization now provides opportunities for all member segments to thrive within the association:
- Significant changes to the association’s annual conference were made to facilitate more networking opportunities
- Increased participation by member segments within the association’s volunteer leadership
- New in-person networking opportunities were created for the Annual Conference
The organization has also begun developing a corporate partnership which includes year round exposure, opportunity and a vendor council to meet regularly with the association leadership to ensure future opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
The organization now provides opportunities for all member segments to thrive within the association