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EACC Behind the Scenes - August 2019

 EACC Develops Membership Working Group

Last year we invited Start Something Bold to help the EACC better understand the value that we provide to our members and how we can increase that value. Since receiving the results of this “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) study at our October 25, 2018 Board meeting, we’ve been working to use your feedback to reexamine and modify the way we do business.  Most importantly, we continually remind ourselves that what makes the EACC unique in our community among business organizations is our European-American Perspective; our Small and Intimate Nature; and our Middle Market Focus.
One of the specific issues that was highlighted in the study was our membership types.  Participants in the VOC study were dissatisfied with the “one-size-fits-all” membership structure and reported that because the unique value of membership was difficult to articulate it was sometimes difficult to justify the expense.  Some of these issues overlapped with questions about our programs and services and our relationship to the EACC network.
In response, we have created a working group to examine our membership levels and structures as well as our programs and services to see what changes we might implement.  The working group includes a broad cross section of our membership – from all three membership tiers, board members, manufacturers, long standing and relatively new – to ensure we consider a wide range of views and interests.  The group held its first meeting earlier this month to review the scope of the task and to map out a path forward, and I was happy to see a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for the project.
At first glance, you might think this would be a relatively simple task –set out some price points, identify some benefits to go with them, and you’re good to go.  But very quickly in our discussion we drilled down to some very fundamental (and potentially contentious) questions like “What kind of companies are our target market?’ and “What is the right balance of ‘inbound-outbound’ members and ‘service providers’?”  And there are a host of other issues to consider:
  • What kinds of benefits do other chambers (including other EACC chapters) and business organizations offer?
  • How difficult is a new membership structure to administer?
  • How might a new membership pricing structure impact our revenues?
Also discussed was our timeline.  My goal is to implement the new structure we develop as part of our 2021 membership renewal cycle, which will begin in October 2020.  That means that the Board of Directors would have to approve the new structure at the July 2020 Board meeting.  So the plan now is to have the working group brief the Board on its work plan and trajectory at the October 2019 Board meeting (and briefly at the Annual General Meeting on November 21).  They would then present draft plans and structures at the January and April Board meetings for input and comment before that final vote in July.
If you have some thoughts on our membership levels and structures or on the benefits and services that might go with them, please let me know.  Even better, if you’d like to participate in the working group, send me an e-mail ( or call me a 513-762-3724.

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