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NWBA Membership Townhall Recap

02/12/2018, 5:30pm CST
By Pasha Zolfaghari

On Thursday, February 8, the NWBA conducted its first membership townhall. A total of 47 of the 79 registered members joined the web-based presentation online and on the phone. By utilizing the chat feature, there was a two-way dialogue that allowed NWBA leadership the opportunity to engage with members on the status of key initiatives and ongoing operations.

As a result from member feedback, the Board and the National Office has made increasing communications with members a top priority. The NWBA's main goal is to encourage members to be more informed, engaged, and active in the NWBA community. This townhall format is only one piece of the plan to update members and the NWBA has solicited feedback on the frequency of these updates going forward.  The NWBA will also continue to publish their Newsletter, Board of Directors meeting minutes, and very active social media presence highlighting its greatest asset, the ATHLETES.

A version of the presentation from the Town Hall has been posted on the website. Some of the highlights discussed were:

  • NWBT and Annual Congress: as a result of Members’ feedback, the the Annual Delegates meeting (now Annual Congress) was split from the NWBT:
    • Various benefits of separating the two events were discussed.
    • The key question on the call was exact timing, which is still under development
    • Managing and implementing such an event requires extensive analysis to minimize cost to both members and the NWBA. Details on room costs will be published as soon as it is finalized
    • The Annual Congress will be an opportunity for the Board of Directors to measure progress on their strategic plan and look ahead for new goals and strategies
  • NWBA Financial Overview: The ongoing efforts to reverse the Operational Losses (expenses exceeding revenue and money being raised) was discussed:
    • Key sponsors have reduced revenues for a combined reduction of $250,000
    • Raising dues for teams and introducing a member fee prior to the 2017-2018 have helped to close the gap
    • Other administrative cost cutting has allowed the NWBA to reduce expenses by $500,000, yet more has to be done
      • This will involve refining the format for major events (NWBT), such as reducing the duration
    • Transparency is the NWBA's focus and  an update on NWBA’s finances will be presented at the Annual Congress
  • Revenue generation:  Various approaches for bringing in more funds at a local and Association level were also discussed.
    • Fundraising: New online giving program launched in the 4th quarter 2017
      • Members can utilize platform (with professional expert) at no cost to team, except for commission (percentage of funds raised)
    • Telephone Solicitation: continuing to work with agency, and with ongoing measurement of effectiveness
    • Sponsorship: The NWBA continues to cultivate relationships, and has benefited recently from introductions from members (best chance for sponsorship is where a relationship already exists with a member, team or program)
    • Victory Tour, now renamed 2020 Vision Tour: This has been a new asset that provides benefit to local program and NWBA (50/50)
      • Conducted two successful events in the last 12 months, with commitment to have a sequel in Kansas City
      • Interested teams should reach out to Anthony Bartkowski for project plan and lessons learned from prior events
    • NWBA Shop: This program has been a win for members and the association
      • In addition to aesthetically appealing Nike merchandise highlighting the NWBA, we also have better margins
    • Affinity Programs: United Airlines has offered discounted rates to our members.  This is another example of benefits that benefit both local teams and the National Office

NWBA leadership was also pleased to announce additional Working Groups for members to participate in, which will provide members an opportunity to research, review and recommend findings on a variety of topics. These working groups will come together for a short period of time to work on a project. In a follow up survey, leadership provided members an opportunity to put their name on a list to participate in these working groups. Additional information will also be sent out through NWBA communications channels for further participation in the near future. The three groups we will be starting shortly are: 1. NBA Initiative; 2. Sanction Event Consistency; and 3. NWBT Evaluation.

The agenda for the first Townhall was extensive, however, based on feedback it was necessary to update the membership on these important issues within the association. In future townhalls, the NWBA hopes to reduce the number of topics and be able to go into greater detail into agenda items. The interactive Q&A platform allowed the opportunity to respond to important questions by attendees and ultimately will help fine-tune the preparation for future townhalls.

As you can see in the agenda, NWBA leadership has been diligently striving to achieve the mission of creating opportunity for people to participate in our great sport. It is a delicate balancing act to serve the mission, while also working to improve the financial health of the NWBA.  Again, the intent of the communication strategy is to ensure transparency to membership and while it is the NWBA's intent to provide ample notice regarding changes in the organization, that has not always been possible. The NWBA encourages ALL members to engage with the NWBA as they work towards a long-term plan for success.

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