In September, the AACE International Board of Directors released its 2010-11 tactical operations plan based on deliberations at its August 20-21, 2010, meeting in Morgantown, WV. At that time, President Steve Revay CCC CFCC, identified three major areas of focus for the administrative year:
Improve communications and marketing efforts with members and major stakeholders to better communicate the value-added of membership in AACE;
Improve section leadership training and enhance resources available to sections; and
Improve the congruence and alignment of goals and objectives among the Board, associate boards, committees, regions, sections and members.
"Each of these three major areas of emphasis will be supported by specific tactics and actions to achieve our goals by our June 2011 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA.” Revay stated: "While we will provide continuing support for other aspects of the Association, we believe these represent the most critical areas of focus for this administrative year.”
As part of that announcement, the Association leadership committed to providing periodic updates on progress toward those goals. This is the third scheduled status report. A final report will presented at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA as part of the State of the Association address on Monday morning.
Among the marketing and communications projects achieved or close to completion are:
Journal Redesign: The January 2011 Cost Engineering Journal featured a comprehensive redesign as well as expanded coverage of practical transferable techniques to respond to the preferences in our membership survey. The new format features greater cross referencing between the journal and the online virtual library to increase the value to members. We also introduced a more interactive virtual version of the CE Journal that includes features such as audio, video and interaction with websites.
Website Revamped: Effective January 1, the AACE International website boasted a new design that features a more intuitive, cleaner navigational scheme for members and other stakeholders. The design also includes news articles of interest to the cost engineering profession and an interactive membership presentation.
Membership Survey: A comprehensive membership survey was conducted to provide crucial information for decision makers and published on the website in November 2010 as part of any ongoing member to more closely monitor member attitudes and preferences.
Members Interest Segments: AACE now allows member profiles to identify specific areas of professional interests as part of our effort to provide more targeted communications to members.
New Member Recruitment Presentation: In January, the Association launched an online membership recruitment presentation with professional voice over and graphics to support a comprehensive Member-Get-A-Member campaign that was unveiled in mid-January 2011. The winner of our first quarter Member-Get-A-Member drawing was Ibrahim Demirbas, Lead Estimator for Overseas Bechtel Inc out of Doha, Qatar.
Conversion to Calendar Year Membership: The Association will revert back to a calendar year membership in 2011(January 1-December 31) to facilitate greater uniformity of message and streamline the recruitment and retention process. We are well underway with the conversion back to a uniform renewal date.
"A major principle in our new marketing/communications direction will be to target our external messages for specific audiences rather than taking a more generalized approach. Internally, we will focus our attention on more fully explaining the wealth of professional resources available to members so they can maximize their dues investment,” Revay commented.
Because of the key role sections play in the growth and vitality of the Association, the Board launched a series of initiatives designed to enhance the resources and training available to section leaders.
Section Connection: In September, AACE launched Section Connection, a bi-monthly e-newsletter designed to provide essential information to section offices and other association leaders. This has led to improved communications between headquarters and our section leaders.
More Robust Reports for Section Leaders: In September, we provided 24/7 online access to membership rosters and lapsed member reports to section and region officers. This feature helps section leaders serve and retain membership over the long term.
Online Section Leadership Program Planned: An online training program for section officers is in development and will be released in June 2011 based upon guidance from section leaders and regional directors. The new training resource will be unveiled during the Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA.
Seminar in a Box: AACE International will release its first Seminar in a Box program in 2011 as a training program source for sections. The Seminar in A Box program will allow sections the option of holding a seminar program using a set of comprehensive resources and tools developed by the Association. The Seminar in A Box program will be released shortly after the Annual Meeting.
Instant Notification When New Members Join: Effective January 2011, AACE began automatically notifying section officers of new members as they join and we will be providing an expanding new member welcoming system that will feature more frequent contact with new members during their first months as members.
The third major focus, better alignment of organizational strategies, goals and tactics will include a greater emphasis on strategic planning by the Board and enhanced communication among the Association’s component parts.
Strategic Planning: A new strategic plan was approved as part of the Board of Director’s meeting in Montreal in April 2011 This new plan focuses on identifying four major strategies as well as the tactics and actions necessary to implement the plan. A key provision of the plan will be an annual implementation plan that will be announced annually by the Board of Directors delineating what aspects of the plan will be implemented in the next 12 months. The new strategic plan has been released on our website under the Governing Documents section.
Leadership Orientation: A formal orientation program to better orient and train board members and other key volunteers will be unveiled during the 2011 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA.
In describing the importance of the strategic planning session, Revay commented that "We will examine the Association’s governing structure to identify how we can best be organized for the future needs of our members and the profession. We want to make sure we align ourselves effectively to provide the maximum value to our members and stakeholders.”