The Northern Virginia Apartment Association, NVAA, provide legislative and regulatory representation, and communicates current trends and issues. NVAA works to educate the property management industry, and offers an interactive forum to related service providers who are essential to the rental apartment industry. We were able to connect with their executive director, Patrick Algyer, to learn how StarChapter has been able to help them with their membership engagement plan and streamlining the management of their chapter.
1. What was NVAA’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?
This was a year of change for NVAA. Starting with a new Executive Director in February 2020. At the board’s request, the strategy was to increase engagement among current members by establishing and building personal relationships with members. Prior to all in-person events being canceled, I had the opportunity to meet members during two events. From there, we pivoted to all virtual learning and networking. This presented a problem as NVAA had never had virtual events and our members were unfamiliar with Zoom.
Engaging new members brought a great deal of trial and error. Like many industries, the multifamily housing industry is all about personal relationships and face to face meetings. Being that we could not hold these, our strategy was to communicate with prospective members as often as possible through email, phone and reigniting our social media presence.
2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year.
This year, we measured success on the number of attendees at a meeting and post event surveys. There are two meetings which stand out to me that were the most successful! The first was our annual Legislative Update which had nearly 200 attendees, many of which were nonmembers. The second would be our Golf Classic. Originally, we had this event scheduled for June and chose to move it to September to allow more time to promote the event and hear from our members if they would like the event to take place. This event had nearly 80 golfers, a dozen nongolfers and we doubled the revenue from the year prior.
3. The NVAA network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other organizations?
Yes, many of our members also belong to other industry organizations. I frequently receive examples of what other organizations are doing that our members would like to see, but also things they do not want to see. Our board discusses this frequently and we continue to discuss how implementing new and different ideas relates back to the mission of our organization. If we can’t find a correlation, we take it off the table. Being a 65+ year old organization our board members want to ensure we continue to respect and acknowledge the reason NVAA exists. Education, Networking and Advocacy are our pillars of our existence.
4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers regarding your redesign process?
Trust the process and trust StarChapter to guide you along. Be sure you have a true understanding of why you are redesigning, have ideas of color scheme and layout. Be ready to make decisions and plan out your approval process matches the redesign timeline. You may consider asking StarChapter to put you in touch with another organization who recently went through the process to ask questions and hear about their lessons learned.
5. What is in store for your members this year?
Being that our members are in the multifamily housing industry and they have had a rough year, our members can expect NVAA to continue to support them, advocate on their behalf and provide top notch education virtually and one day in-person. They can expect that we will continue respect our mission and use the mission to guide our decisions. We will continue to solicit member feedback and action that feedback as we’re able. Finally, members can expect growth. We brought on nearly 20 new members this year and we’re working hard to surpass that number in 2021.
6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run NVAA and reach its goals?
We have been able to streamline event registrations offering multiple price points. We offer our sponsors exclusive discounts for their clients who are not members of NVAA to attend events utilizing coupon codes. We migrated to a new credit card processor which has saved us on transaction fees and we have the ability to sell sponsorships online. The member directory is utilized frequently and have increased communication among one another. We have more control over the content of our website, promote our social media presence and resell our recorded education. The biggest benefit of migrating to StarChapter was overall cost savings - on an annual basis we’re saving 40% from our previous platform and reinvested that savings back into our programming and will realize additional savings paying annually vs. monthly. I would be remiss not to mention customer service.