FAA Update: Standards— Raising the Bar in Member Service
By Josh Gold, CAE, CMP
FAA Executive Vice President
French fries are a menu staple at McDonalds. They may be served covered in gravy in Canada or waffle cut in Austria, but McDonalds knows their consumers expect fries on the menu regardless of region. Similar to the fast food mogul, NAA and its affiliates have to deliver a standard of service to meet the expectations of our members across the nation.
A similar affiliate experience provides members with consistency and an expected level of care. Affiliates, regardless of their size, should be available to members and provide them with useful services such as networking opportunities, advocacy involvement, and monthly newsletters.
Last year, NAA engaged in a stakeholder’s experience study with McKinley Advisors to evaluate the current structure for serving the rental housing industry and identify opportunities to deliver a more consistent stakeholder experience across all networks. The NAA Stakeholder Experience Task Force found that performance standards are a key element in the future of NAA and its affiliates. McKinley recommended NAA commit to high but realistic minimum performance standards to be met by all affiliates across a timeline that spans several years. The performance standards include three rollout cycles, which lay out goals for operations, leadership, communications, advocacy, and stakeholder experience. Some of the goals and standards included in each cycle are:
- Cycle One: Maintain an active board; maintain monthly communication with members; offer at least one advocacy event annually; maintain an up-to-date events calendar; promote Click and Lease exclusively.
- Cycle Two: Offer education opportunities; maintain an interactive website; require incoming affiliate presidents to complete leadership training; and maintain an association management system.
- Cycle Three: Establish and realize annual political action committee fundraising goal; define and maintain term limits for board and committee chair positions; submit annual operating budget and establish annual strategic priorities and report on progress toward goals.
Organizational and operational standards help affiliates reach their full potential and maximize the impact delivered to the multifamily industry. According to the task force findings, “through a highly collaborative and innovative network, NAA and its affiliates deliver unparalleled resources and foresight that drive success in the rental housing community.” Standards of service and operations make our organizations strong, which in return makes our industry stronger.
Just as every management company has high expectations for serving residents, every affiliate needs core elements that constitute effective service. Having clear standards and expectations makes it easier for affiliates to meet them and to understand the level at which they should be performing. An association is only as strong as its weakest affiliate, which means the responsibility to standardize service and operations belongs to all of us.
NAA has been working with affiliates to gather feedback on goals and standards and how to implement them across the nation. FAA is here as a resource to help facilitate those standards and aid affiliates in making changes to function in the best way possible.