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Case Study: How to Better Allocate Association Resources Using Data – Part 4

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Data Integration - Massa Inc.In Part 4 of our 4-part Case Study on association Special Interest Groups (SIGs), we’ll examine how our client, an international association with tens of thousands of members, used data analysis to cut costs associated with their many SIGs. (Click here to view Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of this study).

Step four: Reallocate resources based on data

The goal of our project was to help our client determine how resources were being allocated to their various SIGs, identify SIGs that needed more or different resources, and identify SIGs that were receiving more resources than they needed to operate efficiently.

They wanted us to come up with a structure for determining the “level of wellness” of each SIG, so they could clearly see who needed more money and who was operating well with the money they had.
With so much money being spent to keep 100 different SIGs going, it was crucial to make sure every penny was being spent wisely.

After assigning a few Key Performance Indicators to each SIG and developing a uniform system for evaluating each KPI, we identified those SIGs that most needed the association’s resources. Each SIG underwent a data-driven evaluation that looked at the following:

  • How long the SIG had been in place
  • How often the SIG held meetings, conferences, and events
  • The percentage of SIG members who attended those events
  • The cost of supporting each SIG based on member participation, needs, and required resources

Once association leaders had answers to their questions based on data, they were able to make informed, data-driven decisions about where to direct scarce resources.

Our data indicated that some SIGs were not getting enough funding to support their level of activity, while others were getting too much funding. The association was then able to make an objective decision about how to better allocate funds that was free from passion or personal opinion.

By taking action based on what they’d learned from our data, our client was able to decrease their overall spend by 25% and yet able to increase the operating budgets of 75 of the 100 SIGs in their organization.

By first ensuring the integrity of the data, and then using that data as a lens through which to view each individual SIG, we helped our client reach their goal of analyzing each SIG for its level of wellness. We also helped them undergo an easier decision making process when the time came to reallocate precious association dollars to the most deserving SIGs.

Food for Thought: Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup

Tomato soup ranks right up there with the most popular American comfort foods like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. It pairs very well with a grilled cheese sandwich too.

I saw this tomato soup recipe from Michael Symon of Iron Chef America and I just had to try it – after all, it includes bleu cheese! I haven’t gone back to the old way of making tomato soup since. This recipe even has a bit of Sriracha to kick it up a notch.  Give this a try if you are looking for something warm and comforting but a bit different.

Speaking of different – this recipe makes me think of the power of making changes based on data. Once you’ve gathered data, decided how it will be used, and normalized the data to create an even playing field, you can finally use your data to make strategic, powerful changes in your business.

Because who wants to go through all the trouble of collecting data if you’re not going to use it to make a change?

Doing something different is the best way to achieve your objectives when something’s not working in your business. And doing something different is the most delicious way to enjoy tomato soup!

As always….it’ll make your brains fall out!

Are you making your toughest business decisions based on data? If not, chances are good you’re leaving money on the table. Contact Massa & Co. today to find out how you can boost profits, slash expenses, and grow your business through the power of data. Find out more by calling (312) 463-1050 or contacting us online.

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About the Author:

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 30 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She works with organizations of all types to attract new customers and constituents, segment existing customers and analyze customer behavior to predict future behaviors. She speaks fluent “geek” and is an effective translator between business executives and technology experts. Bonnie currently serves as President of American Marketing Association Chicago Chapter, a volunteer position leading the best marketers in the city. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.