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Industry, Education

November 1, 2018


Quality not Quantity

An easy trap for Association Executives and their support staff to fall into is how they measure success. Is an educational offering to a 2,000-member association a success if 50 REALTORS® attend? Well, that depends on how you measure success.

How are we Measuring Success, Is It?
  • Bodies in the seats
  • Profit made after expenses
  • Sponsorship dollars raised to underwrite the program
  • Class evaluations
  • Percentage of members from the sponsoring association who attended 
  • All the above

Keeping careful and well-dissected records of who is attending your programs is critical when measuring success. 

Case in Point

A local Association offers an expensive designation course to its members. The Association President wants this course offered in her year because she wants to take it locally. The CEO and support staff work countless staff hours marketing the course to its members, but only three register. The staff starts to get nervous, so they market the course to REALTORS® throughout the state and region. Twenty registrants are needed to break even and that includes sponsorship income.

The race is on. It’s all-hands-on-deck by the entire staff trying to secure 17 more REALTORS® to sign up for the course before the deadline to cancel without a penalty or loss of deposit occurs. Emails are sent to every REALTOR® in the region, the CEO begs her local AEs colleagues to advertise the course on their website, and even offers a financial incentive for them to do so. The staff distributes flyers at all association meetings and finally, the count reaches 17!

There is a mad dash to the finish line but in the end, 20 Realtors register for the course, 8 Realtors are from neighboring associations. The president is pleased because she gets to take the course she wants without traveling to another state, but the staff is exhausted. Was this offering successful?

Some would argue yes because the association broke even on the course and the president is happy. Others would argue that the time, energy and resources expended on this course were not worth the effort. 

This scenario can be played out in other social, educational and networking opportunities the association offers. Measuring who is attending is just as important as how many are visiting your events.

Who is Actually Attending?

A networking breakfast, golf outing or awards dinner may get a good turn out but who is attending? An analysis of the attendees may show:
  • 30% are affiliates looking for business
  • 30% are non-producing members who just want an outing to fill their day,
  • 10% are leadership expected to attend

And who is left? When evaluating the rate of return on your Association’s offering, take into consideration who is attending. If your target audience is grassroots productive members from a wide swath of firms and geographic areas, you need to measure and track that data.

Once you have a clear and authenticated evaluation of your attendees, you will be in a better position to argue with your committees and leadership about how and when programs should be revamped, consolidated or eliminated. 

By Christine Todd, CAE,RCE, Association Consultant, Dynamic Directions, Inc. Do you have a question on a specific issue you would like me to address? Email your questions and or comments to: Christine Todd at

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