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Partner News: How Clade helped ACFA boost membership renewals by over 30 percent
In a quick win for the Australian Cabinet and Furniture Association (ACFA), their new CAMS software made it faster and easier for members to renew. Now they’re reaping benefits across the whole organisation.
When this year’s membership renewal came around, the Australian Cabinet and Furniture Association (ACFA) weren’t sure what to expect. Their new Cloudbased Association Management Solution (CAMS) had just gone live, so members would be encountering it for the first time. The results spoke for themselves – renewals were up 31.6 percent on the same period last year.
“CAMS made the process straightforward, fast and easy, which it hadn’t been before,” says CEO Dean Brakell. “We believe that had a really big impact.” Membership renewal wasn’t ACFA’s only challenge. “Our previous customer relationship management system was little more than a repository for information we’d collected,” Brakell says. “Our Association is growing and it was more and more obvious that this was no longer fit for purpose.” Brakell heard of Clade through the Members of Association Forum – an organisation which brings Associations together to help them boost their performance.
“I knew from attending their conferences and receiving their communications that Clade was front and centre in this space, so they were an obvious contender,” Brakell says. “But we still went through a pretty rigorous process before deciding they were the right people for the job. In all, we took a close look at five different providers.”
Living up to expectations
CAMS is a fully-functional easy-to-use membership management solution powered by Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 platform. It integrates seamlessly with Office products such as Outlook, Word and Excel and has a flexible, modular structure. “The technology has done everything we hoped at this stage but it’s still early days,” Brakell says. “There are parts of the system we haven’t even had time to touch yet. For instance, I’m really excited about using the marketing module and functionality as we didn’t have that capability at all before. Market segmentation is something else we can see will work well for us.”
“CAMS made the process straightforward, fast and easy, which it hadn’t been before,” – Dean Brakell
CAMS scalability was a big plus for ACFA. “At the moment we have 550 members and 24 staff but we’re looking at long-term growth,” Brakell says. “That means we’re going to need to build our capability,” They also plan to add a mobile application and, down the track, to integrate ACFA’s two distinct business units.
“There’s the Association, which provides services for members in the furnishing, cabinetmaking and joinery industries,” Brakell says. “These range in size from small family businesses to large national manufacturers, retailers and suppliers. And we’re also a Registered Training Organisation delivering on-thejob Certificate III trade training to the cabinet making sector. We have always intended to integrate the two but decided to introduce CAMS in stages so the job didn’t feel too big to handle.”
For the moment, the benefits are continuing to increase as employees become more familiar with CAMS.
“Everyone in the organisation is going to use it at some point so we made sure we set time aside to train the whole team,” says Program Manager Fiona Joynes.
Brakell agrees it’s vital to have a solid training plan for implementation in place.
“A good change management plan is also crucial,” he says. “You need to make sure everyone’s onside. And, as most associations run on the smell of an oily rag, the other thing I’d recommend is including a contingency in your budget.”
“They were helpful with everything from the initial research to making the most of CAMS,” – Fiona Joynes
Clade began the work in January 2020 and the system went live in April.
“We added to the scope of the original project and that put an extra six to eight weeks on the program, but Clade kept to their timetable and budget,” Brakell says.
Joynes was particularly impressed by Clade’s support. “They were helpful with everything from the initial research to making the most of CAMS,” she says. “We’re not IT people so it’s wonderful they’ve been with us every step of the way.”
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