Case Study

Case Study

Professional Membership Association Acting as a Collective Representative Body

We have worked with this membership association for over thirty years. The association acts as a collective representative body interacting with HM government agencies on behalf of its members. The board is made up entirely of volunteers from the membership who are all professionals working within the industry.

Our long-standing relationship with the organisation means we have become the repository for historical information and because we work so closely with the board our knowledge is passed on as the board refreshes. The benefit of understanding the rationale behind a historical course of action can save a lot of time reinventing the wheel because it may be that the limiting factors in that decision have been overcome by advancing technology.

We have supported the organisation through many, many changes over the years, most recently helping the association become a company limited by guarantee, followed by a further change to the Articles to allow VAT registration. This also required a complete review of the financial recording procedures.

Most of the members are not aware that we are contractors because of our in depth knowledge of the organisation and the industry in which it operates

We are the first point of contact for telephone and email enquiries and are known as the team running the organisation’s office. Most of the members are not aware that we are contractors because of our in-depth knowledge of the organisation and the industry in which it operates.

We process all the membership renewals and new member applications along with updating their website access and individual directory entries. We routinely review the processes to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness and we saved the organisation a significant amount of money when we suggested moving away from the traditional posting of invoices (which was radical at the time).

We work closely with the board and are honoured to be viewed as a trusted partner

We work closely with the board and are honoured to be viewed as a trusted partner with our ideas and opinions being valued in discussions. Because we understand the organisation and know the individuals on the board and their boundaries, we have been given a significant amount of delegated authority which allows us to make minor day to day decisions. Should we make a mistake, we are open and honest about it and will usually be able to present a solution at the same time we raise the issue.

We provide full secretarial support at meetings as well as providing updates on the business of the organisation and the outcome of any tasks we have been delegated. We are also involved with smaller sub-committees, where we have input on how we could implement suggestions that are made.

We organise a two-day annual conference and exhibition every autumn which takes place around the AGM. We have updates from the government alongside speakers from industry and motivational and development speakers. We approach potential speakers and exhibitors and have developed some great relationships which reinforce the organisation’s reputation as a representative body.

We work closely with the business manager on the budget for the event before getting high-level direction on content planning from the board which we then implement. We produce all the publicity for the event and process all the bookings, including noting special requirements or adjustments which we will discuss with the venue.

We attend the event to act as receptionists and first point of contact for the board, delegates, exhibitors and venue. We also help host a drinks reception and gala dinner, talking with delegates about the organisation and industry and ensuring we make introductions between individuals because we all know how daunting it can be to walk into a room full of strangers.

We have a vast amount of experience of dealing with the diversity of issues that can arise during events of all kinds

We have a vast amount of experience in dealing with the diversity of issues that can arise during events of all kinds. While we are more than happy to give the board an amusing update over a coffee after the event, we usually agree that they would prefer us to find solutions so they don’t need to be distracted just before going on stage to give the welcome address.

We never exceed our delegated authority and will raise any material or financial issues immediately. However, the board really do not need to know at the time that Joe Bloggs is upset because he has been served the vegetarian option he specifically requested on booking but he now prefers the look of his colleague’s meal. Or perhaps a delegate has arrived who hasn’t booked, and we need to find overflow accommodation and catering for her.

After the event, we will survey delegates to find out what they thought and include their feedback with the financial report we provide the board. Using this information, we will then immediately start planning for the following year.

As a by-product of the wealth of knowledge held within the association, they are able to offer an extensive training programme delivered directly by members who are working within the industry. We organise all aspects of the courses, including supporting the tutors to produce the training material, coordinating dates with the tutors, booking the venue(s), advertising the courses and processing the booking requests. We take care of the budgeting, invoicing and credit control functions. We proofread the slides and training materials and put together the printed delegate packs for each course, ensuring they are provided to the tutors on time.

When the courses were externally accredited, we spent a lot of time with the tutors and training centre to ensure the course material and exams met the rigid standards. Due to changes within the examining body, the decision was taken to move the exam questions and marking in house and we took on the responsibility, including invigilating the students at the training venue.