What keeps you up at night? And what can CFA Society Minnesota do to help?
About nine months ago, CFAMN engaged Spark Consulting to try to find out.
The timing of the project was inspired by some technology changes the CFA Institute is making that will help the Societies and the Institute work together and share data better to help members like you achieve your most important goals and solve your most pressing problems.
Society leadership proposed questions we wanted to try to answer such as:
- What do members need from CFAMN to continue to grow as financial professionals throughout their entire careers?
- What do members truly value in their relationship with CFAMN? What, if anything, is missing?
- Are members contributing to CFAMN in ways the Society isn’t aware of or recognizing?
- What can CFAMN do to intentionally build and strengthen the organization’s relationships with members, and members’ relationships with each other?
- How can CFAMN work more collaboratively with both the CFA Institute and the other Societies to better serve all charterholders?
Over the course of the summer of 2017, Spark’s CEO Elizabeth Engel interviewed four members of the board of directors, 15 charterholders, and the Institute’s Society Relations staff; and spent two days in Minneapolis meeting with CFAMN’s staff, board of directors, and membership committee in person (she also had the opportunity to attend our summer social and learn about lawn bowling). Engel also reviewed CFAMN data, including the results of several years’ worth of member satisfaction surveys and event evaluations, the Society Data Book provided by the Institute, our current strategic goals, and member program use and other demographics over time.
By the time Labor Day rolled around, she had learned a number of things about our members and your needs:
- Going into this project, CFAMN had a theory that geographical location (Twin Cities versus the rest of our three-state region) was a strong determinant of members’ sense of connection to the Society. That theory appears to be correct: “Right now, I’m this anonymous person in the woods of northern MN; it’s hard to figure out how to be engaged.”
- With regards to your needs, we were able to identify two programming gaps: members would like more programming for experienced professionals and more programming that’s accessible to non-Twin Cities members.
- Members are also concerned about brand awareness: “Friends with both the CFA and a JD say it’s as hard as the bar exam, but the general public doesn’t understand that. While big financial services firms and banks understand the value of the CFA, smaller banks and firms don’t.”
- Charterholders use financial skills in all aspects of their lives. Many of you, particularly those who pay for membership out of pocket (or out of your own small business revenues), make the actual financial calculation about membership: “Do I plan to attend enough events this coming year so that the total amount I’d save through the member discount equals or exceeds the cost of dues?”
- Given that, we’re especially pleased to report that the overwhelming majority of you answer that question with a resounding “Yes!” The Society annually retains more than 94% of members, which is above the overall average for all Societies and for the Institute itself, where membership is required in order to continue to use the CFA designation. The Institute considers 95% retention to be “perfect,” so CFAMN is just about perfect on this measure.
What does all that mean?
We’re glad you asked!
We’ll be running a short series of blog posts over the next two months or so, sharing some more findings from the project, allowing board of directors and committee members’ to tell you their thoughts and reactions, and discussing the roadmap of where CFAMN and the Institute plan to go next in helping you continue to advance, personally and professionally.