In 2002, ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership launched a four-year study to determine what separates exceptional associations from good ones. They modeled their work after consulting with Jim Collins, lead researcher and author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. The association research found that great associations demonstrated a commitment to these seven measures of success: a customer service culture, alignment of products and services with mission, data-driven strategies, dialogue and engagement, organizational adaptability, alliance building, and CEO as a broker of ideas.
I was reminded of these findings as I was thinking about my letter to you for our member’s September newsletter.
Several months before stepping into my role as CEO in January 2007, Indiana Grantmakers Alliance (as we were known then) had begun an initiative, with the help of a local consultant, to gather input from members, former members, and member prospects about their perceptions of the organization. The information from that study was invaluable to me and the rest of the staff as we strove to develop programs, services, and strategies to reflect a member-focused association.
While we have continued to seek input from you—in multiple and ongoing ways—the board, staff, and I felt now was a good time to once again engage an external, independent consultant—this time to help us dig deeper into what IPA services members, former members, and prospects would find valuable in order to help them achieve greater impact.
Our study, IMPACT thru INPUT, begins this month. The GIFT team has already begun an initiative around community leadership with all 94 community foundations, so we will focus our efforts on all other types of our grantmaking members. Together, these two studies will provide invaluable information that will help IPA provide greater member value and position us for the future.
Stay tuned for more information about this project in the coming weeks, including ways you might be able to help as local “champions” to ensure strong participation. In the meantime, we’ll keep striving to be a great association!
Marissa Manlove, CAE; President, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance