How a Sharpened Focus on Mission Upped Revenue, Membership

The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation finds that a focus on purpose yielded new memberships and increased revenue. Here’s some tips on how you can do the same.

Megan Cohen, executive director of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), is the first to say that her association is special.

“This organization in particular is incredibly collegial,” Cohen said. “There’s no competition in the leadership that you can sometimes see in professional associations. … People are … focused on the mission, rather than what being a leader in the organization does for them personally.”

With that mission of “reducing morbidity, mortality, and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research, and disease management” in mind, AACVPR decided to launch a number of tools that kept its members’ patients at the forefront. “It all goes back to getting more patients into rehab,” Cohen said.

To that end, AACVPR’s outpatient data registries enable its members to track their patient outcomes and program performance. At the same time, the data compiled can be used to help cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs compare their outcomes to national benchmarks and other evidence-based goals. Other education offerings include a professional certification for cardiac rehab professionals, as well as certification for cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab programs.

From 2012 to 2016, these efforts have resulted in a 21 percent uptick in membership, along with the accompanying membership dues. In the same period, AACVPR’s revenue from educational offerings more than doubled from $98,224 in FY2012 to $202,189 in FY16.

Cohen said that by investing in these programs “that can get better outcomes for their patients and get more patients into rehab, it’s really shown a huge bump in our membership. More people in the profession are coming to us to become members to be able to participate in these tools.”

A Broader Trend

Although AACVPR is a shining example of how mission can drive revenue growth, a recently released SmithBucklin report shows that the relationship between purpose and revenue is far from unique.

“Many companies that put an emphasis on purpose cite it as a major factor for why they have seen increased loyalty from customers and clients, and why they are able to achieve innovation and transformational change,” according to the report.

For example, the report stated that “58 percent of companies with a clearly articulated and understood purpose experienced revenue growth of 10 percent or more, versus 42 percent not prioritizing purpose.”

Plus, the report posits that an organization’s strong sense of purpose can also attract and retain employees, including millennials.

Putting Purpose into Practice

But, how do you know whether your association is really living and breathing your mission, to the benefit of both your bottom line and your membership numbers? Here are three tips to get you soul searching:

  • Examine your mission statement. Ask yourself questions like: Does our mission statement encapsulate why the association exists and what it hopes to accomplish? If not, maybe you should go back to the drawing board like the American Retirement Association did.
  • Scrutinize your programs and initiatives. Are your initiatives an outgrowth of your mission? Do they directly relate back to the association’s purpose? And just in case you’re thinking that mission-focused programs are boring, check out the National Association of Railroad Passengers “Summer by Rail” program.
  • Remind your staff about mission. Talk about your mission and your purpose at all-staff meetings, and ask team leaders to bring mission talk into the conversation in their own meetings. Get everyone working on the same wavelength, and see what magic happens.

“You are a mission-driven organization, so if you focus on that, you can explore how to create or expand services unique to your organization,” Steven Worth, consultant and president of Plexus Consulting Group, told Associations Now last year. “You may even find yourself playing in markets where, perhaps, you’ve never been before.”

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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