association management

We partner with associations on a mission to enhance their profession and support the professional. Meeting Expectations delivers results-driven strategies, services and programs designed to strengthen and grow your community, increase your revenue and profitability, build your brand and advance your story.

our services at a glance

Whether you’re a national association, regional chapter, certification organization or a technology user group, you can trust us to deliver excellent service to your stakeholders as you look to support individual members in their desire to learn, help expand their network of like-minded people and be a part of something bigger than themselves.

But we don’t stop there. What makes us different is our innovation-led approach to challenges and opportunities, so that you build more value for your association and increase your impact in all efforts to enrich people’s careers and move your industry forward.

As a full-service association management company, we put in place the leadership, governance, operations and the many services and programs that can enhance your current market position and help take you where you want to go.

Led by a seasoned executive director, we apply our methodology and framework in developing a comprehensive strategy for improving the current state of your association and laying the groundwork for the future. We work closely with the Board of Directors to shape the vision, mission and unique value proposition that inspires and engages members, while managing day-to-day operations and improving the bottom line. Your Meeting Expectations team develops new services, resources and programs that attract new members, thereby increasing revenue and profitability.

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The many ways we help build thriving associations:

LEADERSHIP & GOVERNANCE

We assign or recruit the ideal executive director and support staff with the experience and skills needed to meet the challenges of today and capitalize on the opportunities of tomorrow. Part of their responsibility is to ensure the right governance structure is in place, communicated and enforced so that the direction is set and stakeholders understand how to stay the course. > Read More

MEMBERSHIP MANAGEMENT

We go beyond providing excellent service to deliver higher member satisfaction. We also bring to the table innovative approaches to attracting new members and heightening member engagement. The result is not just more membership revenue, but the kind of member loyalty and authentic advocacy that money simply cannot buy. > Read More

ASSOCIATION MEETINGS

As an association management company with three decades of experience planning and executing thousands of meetings, we can confidently say we know, better than anyone, how to design and execute a successful meeting for an association. > Read More

SPONSORSHIP SALES

We will develop an innovative monetization strategy that reaches across digital, live event and media channels. Expect a value-based and ROI-driven sponsorship program that gains the attention and garners the support of corporations and organizations who align with your mission. > Read More

OPERATIONS

Our office serves as the headquarters of your association – providing a central point of daily operations with all the necessary infrastructure in place from day one. Our staffing model combines a dedicated team plus access to a staff of 100+ across each of our centers of excellence. > Read More

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Whether it’s education, services, certifications, networking events, or something else you’re looking to create, we make sure it’s the best it can be. We do the research and gather the insight in order to define, develop and deploy high-caliber, strategic programs that benefit both your individual members and your industry at large. > Read More

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA

Our team of award-winning strategists and creative talent develop compelling, multi-channel marketing communications, campaigns and media properties that keep your community informed and engaged, recruit new members and promote your association in the industry. > Read More

TECHNOLOGY

We provide the infrastructure and support systems that enable your organization to manage the member relationship effectively and conduct day-to-day operations efficiently. Expect us to recommend and implement solutions that deliver strategic value and a high return on investment. > Read More

ACCOUNTING & FINANCE

Not only do we manage all financial needs in accordance with GAAP, we make it easy for every director on the Board to meet his or her fiduciary responsibility. Our comprehensive set of proprietary financial reports was developed to be very easy to read by a busy executive (and easy understand for those who don’t necessarily have a financial background). > Read More

leadership & governance

Whether you’re a newly formed association or one that’s been in existence for decades, success is largely tied to who is at the helm. We understand that just like a corporate Board of Directors relies on a CEO to lead the company in the right direction, you need to rely on your association’s executive director to do the same. We put a great amount of thought and effort into selecting the ideal candidate: someone with considerable knowledge and experience running an association profitably, who possesses the skill sets needed to address your unique opportunities and challenges and who has the kind of temperament and work-style that matches the way your Board needs to collaborate.

The executive directors you’ll meet at Meeting Expectations average more than 10 years of experience. In fact, their knowledge, educational degrees and certifications are so extensive, it’s made for an incredibly impressive executive think tank. We call it EDtalks™ – a monthly meeting of the minds where our executive directors share best practices, work together to solve current challenges and share ideas on how best to capitalize on opportunities. The ideas and solutions that emerge benefit all of our clients. Essentially, you’ll have 15 executive directors with more than 150 years of collective experience thinking about your business.

Exactly who will serve as your executive director all depends on your particular criteria and set of specific needs. To provide the ideal fit, we may even recommend performing an executive search, in which case we’ll handle everything from beginning to end.

We believe staffing your association with the right team is vitally important to the overall success of our partnership. And that extends to how we manage the support staff and serve your volunteers as well.

With the staffing model and human resources in place, your Board and executive director can assess and address the how the association is, or will be, governed. We have extensive experience and expertise in governing structures, policies and ongoing governance training – all of which are play a key role in setting and meeting your long-term goals.

Our executive directors meet monthly to internally crowdsource ideas and solutions to business challenges.

What we deliver:

  • Staffing, including leadership, support staff and volunteer coordination
  • Vision, mission and unique value proposition
  • Strategic planning and roadmap for the future
  • Governance structures
  • Constitutions and bylaws 
  • Policies and procedures, rules and regulations
  • Officer and board governance training 
  • Committee liaison 
  • Chapter and special interest group management 
  • Advocacy 
  • Meeting minutes 
  • Nominations & elections 

Client benefit:

  • An executive director whose skillset, experience and temperament align with your association’s unique business needs and the way your Board of Directors needs to collaborate
  • A strategic plan to improve upon the present and prepare for the future

membership management

When we’re managing an association’s community, we do far more than keep current members informed and run an annual recruitment campaign. We’re constantly exploring new and improved ways to add value to your association – making it more attractive for professionals to join, providing more reasons for them to stay and making it more likely they’ll promote the group within their professional networks. In today’s environment, you can no longer simply say you’re great. With the popularity of social media sharing, you really have to be great and earn the endorsement of your members, interest from your industry and the accolades of the media.

What we’re saying here (and we’re trying to be sensitive since for some it’s a message that can be a bit harsh to receive) is that competing for new members and reducing member attrition means you can’t merely offer the same old resources, services and networking opportunities they could easily find in other places — sometimes for free. The good news is, if your association isn’t growing, or perhaps is even declining, we can help change that by thinking differently.

You see, clients choose us because we won’t merely manage the status quo. They’re looking for a partner who can breathe new life into the association in ways that produce lasting results. For some, we may recommend implementing an automated communications platform to increase member engagement and satisfaction. For another, we might recommend developing new and products and member services that differentiate them from the competition and fuel a powerful member recruitment campaign.

We’re all about solving problems and answering unmet needs.

Similar to the way Steve Jobs introduced trail-blazing products to resurrect Apple and turn it into a highly respected brand people are willing to pay a premium for, we look to create innovative benefits and programs that build value, elevate your brand and make an impact in your industry and on your balance sheet.

Case in point, the experiential marketing campaign we’re working on to support the beekeeping industry through entertainment-based education at popular food and music festivals – enlightening consumers on the vital role bees play in the health of our food supply and motivating them to “feed the bees that feed the world.” We invite you to take a look at The Wildflowers Tour because it’s like nothing else anyone has done before. We developed a completely different way of addressing a problem and offering a solution that gets people excited and want to get involved. And of course, achieve a number of business goals – including creating collaboration opportunities that could bear fruit exponentially. Pun intended.

So where would we start in your case? Well, we’d start at the beginning, with research and discovery to get a below-the-surface understanding as to the wants, needs, motivations and behaviors of your current and prospective members. Once we’ve gathered the necessary amount of data and insight, we brainstorm ideas. Sometimes with subject matter experts, and other times with a group outside your industry in order to hear a completely fresh perspective. The best ideas are then developed into tangible strategies. Many of them we can’t necessarily promote as they are intellectual property. And some we speak to openly, such as how we create value by thinking differently about their available memberships. We develop new revenue streams with digital memberships, tiered memberships and special interest group memberships.

Our clients think of us as their innovation-led, value creation partner, bringing new ideas to the board room and new offerings to members. We’re proud to say that our “inspired ingenuity” approach to our clients’ businesses has delivered as much as 60% growth.

Enriching the livelihoods of individuals and moving the industry forward with innovation-led value creation

association meetings

Meeting face to face presents the biggest opportunity to engage with your members – and they with each other – enabling everyone to network with peers, share success and challenges, and learn of new things affecting your industry. And for most associations, conferences are not only important for member engagement, but they happen to be the biggest driver of the entire annual budget.

Meeting Expectations has a breadth of experience and a deep expertise managing meetings and events. In fact, we’ve brought hundreds of thousands of people together on over 4,000 different occasions. And having planned and produced so many association meetings, we understand how they differ from corporate events. Not only in terms of audiences and budgets, but also in terms of objectives and desired results.

Ours is a reputation built on taking a very strategic approach to association meetings. Before we get down to the millions of little details that need to be handled, we begin at a very high level, using our proprietary InVEST™ attendee experience framework to align education and networking experiences with the needs and interests of your different stakeholders. It’s how we find the “Aha” moment that leads to the big idea, which then drives how we thoughtfully plan the attendee’s journey before, during and after the meeting.

Once the strategic plan is in place, we go to work executing every experience at each and every physical and digital touchpoint: from researching and recommending the ideal meeting venue through the post-event wrap up reporting, to the many things that have to happen in between (honestly, there’s just too many to list).

In the end, it’s all about ensuring your members derive high value from the meeting, your sponsors and exhibitors realize a high ROI and the association achieves its strategic and financial goals.

LEARN MORE about Meeting Expectation’s proprietary InVESTTM framework for live experiences

What to expect:

  • A collaborative team of strategists, meeting planners, education specialists, marketers, creatives and technologists working together to plan and execute every facet of your meeting
  • Strategic framework aligning educational and networking experiences with stakeholder interests as well as the association’s business goals
  • Cloud-based project plan and timeline updated in real-time
  • Comprehensive budget development and monitoring
  • Integrated, multi-channel promotional campaigns segmented to your various audiences
  • Call-for-presenters campaigns, content voting and agenda development
  • Innovative educational formats
  • Custom developed partner program and sales and marketing outreach to potential exhibitor and sponsors
  • Mobile-friendly website to register members, process credit card transactions and gather attendee data providing insight into member interests, opinions and attitudes
  • Speaker management and coordination, distribution of all papers, abstracts and digital assets
  • On-site registration check-in that can combine self-service kiosks with member engagement specialists who provide assistance and answer questions
  • Event technology strategy and on-site technical support ensures everything runs smoothly with the registration system, mobile app, digital signage, interactive polling, on-demand badge printing and more
  • A dedicated on-site meeting manager acts as your centralized point of contact and connection to each facet of the event

Client benefit:

  • A high-level strategic framework outlining how the meeting is designed to deliver business results, as well as, high value to members and exhibitors/sponsors
  • Confidence in an experienced team who ensures all event orders are executed, registration runs smoothly, all meeting programs and activities are well coordinated, and all speakers, presenters, exhibitors and sponsors are well supported

sponsorship sales

For many associations, one-third of their annual revenue comes from long-standing sponsor relationships. It’s a big part of what enables associations to invest in important professional education programs and member acquisition efforts. We understand how critically important it is to maintain those relationships, as well as forge new ones.

Meeting Expectations develops customized and innovative monetization programs offering opportunities beyond exhibit hall booth space at your annual meeting or advertising in your publication. Our strategists look at the myriad of digital and experiential channels and various media possibilities – exploring all kinds of additional ways to generate revenue that can be reinvested or offset costs. Either way, we’ll be growing the top line or improving the bottom line.

Once the program is shaped to deliver the kind of ROI corporations demand, we develop the sales strategy and arm the outreach team with marketing materials and call scripts that communicate the scope, benefits and business value of the program. We can act as your outsourced sales team, performing all outreach, reporting, payment processing and contract fulfillment. And at every step, we are sure to represent your association with excellent service.

What to expect:

  • Objective baseline assessment of your sponsorship program
  • Development of multifaceted corporate participation program including revenue opportunities across digital, live event and media channels
  • Strategy for monetizing offerings beyond the traditional advertising, live event signage and exhibit space
  • Development of benefit-driven sales material that clearly articulates the ROI to existing and potential sponsors, advertisers and exhibitors
  • Sales strategy and outreach that considers the long-term value of your partner relationship
  • Maintenance of prospecting database 
  • Sales reporting and payments processing
  • Contracts delivered and enforced
  • Management/fulfillment of all sponsor and exhibitor deliverables 

Client benefit:

  • Monetization beyond the traditional advertising, live event signage and exhibit space

operations

There’s a popular saying that when you’re too busy working “in the business” you’re not working “on the business.” In order to move on to important, more strategic initiatives, we first do what it takes to get day-to-day operations running like a well-oiled machine, from IT and equipment needed to run a modern business to the people that perform every facet of daily operations.

Our company is structured as a collection of small association staffs with access to big association infrastructure. It’s a model that ensures we deliver the kind of consistent personal service you can expect from a small, dedicated team, plus a deep bench of talent to tap for world-class shared services.

Each one of our 100+ colleagues are organized into centers of excellence for member management, professional education, marketing and creative services, technology, meetings and accounting. Each one personifies our Core Values and is dedicated to delivering great client service. They are empowered to apply their knowledge, unique talents and wealth of experience in ways that improve operations across the board.

Our operations model is fully scalable, allowing resources to expand or contract based on the annual budget, or even on a cyclical or project basis as the needs of the associations evolve. Our client on-boarding process is multi-phased which is proven more effective in ensuring a smooth transition.

Our executive directors meet monthly to internally crowdsource ideas and solutions to business challenges.

What to expect:

Phase 1 - Assessment 

  • Establish baseline 
  • Information gathering 
  • Review bylaws 
  • Review all files 
  • Create action plan 
  • Assess staffing needs 
  • Review all existing processes 

Phase 2 - Transitional 

  • Telecom transfer 
  • Email transfer 
  • Create filing system 
  • Ongoing staff education 
  • Frequent management check-ins 

Phase 3 - Operational 

  • Support team fully operational 
  • Review, adjust, enhance 
  • Long-term planning 
  • Focus on membership & conference growth 
  • Reporting 

Client benefit:

  • Multi-phase integration and transition process minimizes disruption
  • Small, dedicated staff delivers personal service
  • Access to member management, professional education, marketing and creative services, technology, meetings and accounting.

professional development

No matter how experienced a professional is, it always benefits them to learn more. While industry associations, technology user groups and certification organizations have traditionally been where people look to gain knowledge that can further their career, things have changed. You now compete your organization is competing with more outlets for professionals’ time, attention and dollars. It’s time to take a completely objective look and decide if the caliber of education offered should be raised and change the way it’s being delivered.

We leverage our adult education specialists and partnerships with educators from esteemed institutions like Pepperdine University to approach your offering with objectivity and expertise. We begin by performing a baseline audit and gap assessment of your current program, delivering then deliver a top-line strategy and executional plan to move forward. We manage the creation and production of high-caliber career development programs inclusive of education, publications, networking events and job placement services.

We built a center of excellence for certification programs to create brand value and add perpetual, highly lucrative revenue streams.

What to expect:

  • A comprehensive audit, objective assessment and gap analysis of your current program
  • Topline recommendation and plan for moving forward
  • Strategy, development and delivery of the appropriate mix of career advancement resources, services and experiences including, but not limited to:
    • Live and on-demand webinars
    • Networking events and conferences
    • Certification program
    • Publications and podcasts
    • Job placement solutions
    • Mentoring programs
    • Awards programs
    • Scholarships and grants
    • CPE credits management
    • Targeted education for special interest groups

Client benefit:

  • High-caliber professional development program that delivers ROI, member growth, loyalty and advocacy
  • Increased brand value
  • Additional revenue streams realized by new offerings like certification programs

marketing communications & media

A team of specialists in branding, strategic planning and creative storytelling work closely together to develop innovative and integrated programs that resonate with members and people in your industry. Strategic and results-driven efforts can include the creation or enhancement of your association’s brand; crafting a compelling messaging matrix for your audiences; designing the ideal member journey – optimizing the experience at each touchpoint along the member lifecycle; creating and producing the print and digital media properties; and orchestrating effective member recruitment campaigns.

No matter what the marketing, communications and media mix, we ensure every tactic is on brand and on strategy. Every effort is not only smart but also sensory, meaning it’s designed to intrigue the intellect while triggering the emotions of your audience – inspiring them to think, feel and do.

And of course, we establish success criteria at the onset, monitor the results responsively and deliver post-campaign analytics and analysis to provide valuable insight and inform future endeavors.

Just some of the work that has delivered business results for our clients. And quite a few awards for ourselves.

What to expect:

How we work:

  • Our staffing model includes at least one member educated and experienced in marketing communications
  • Our in-house team of seasoned strategists and creative talent uses cloud-based collaboration tools for project management, file-sharing and presenting work

Branding:

  • Strategic approach and creative expression of the associations’ vision, mission and unique value proposition
  • Creation of the brand story and positioning, visual look and feel; development and enforcement of brand guidelines to maintain brand integrity
  • Visual branding applied to website and mobile apps

Multi-channel marketing campaigns for member recruitment and retention:

  • Print communications, including newsletters, magazines, direct mail, brochures, invitations and more
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Traditional and digital advertising
  • Marketing automation aligned with the member journey
  • Social media marketing and monitoring
  • Trade publicity
  • Video storytelling strategy, concept, scripting, shooting, editing and animation

Media:

  • Strategy, creative, production and distribution of media properties:
    • Print and digital magazines
    • Quarterly newsletters
    • Podcasts and video series
    • Thought leadership training and presentation support

Client benefit:

  • Full support of an award-winning marketing, creative and media team
  • Result-driven strategies for:
    • Building a strong brand that resonates with stakeholders
    • Raising awareness of the association in the industry and positioning it as a go-to resource for the media
    • Increasing revenue through membership growth
    • Building member loyalty and advocacy
    • Maximizing engagement and inspiring attendees to think, feel and act positively

technology

Meeting Expectations has a full-service team of technology professionals working closely with leadership teams in developing a strategic technical vision. We then develop an executional plan, as well as, manage the entire implementation process to ensure goals are met on time and on budget. 

Our business and technology analysts stay abreast of the latest advancements in association-related solutions and platform offerings in order to perform proper due diligence and assess which technologies best answer your needs in terms of budget, feature set, ease-of-use and support services. For instance, when it comes to choosing the best AMS (Association Management System), we use a checklist of more than 300 potential features weighted to evaluate available platforms, enabling us to recommend the right one for your association. You can have confidence that this important decision was made by people with both a head or business and a mind for computing.

Our clients also benefit from our ability to leverage knowledge and successes across or customer base when helping you meet an IT challenge.

What to expect:

  • A technology strategy that makes sound business sense
  • A comprehensive, comparative assessment of available platforms and solutions
  • Recommendations that best fit your needs and budget
  • Technical oversight when solutions we recommend are implemented

Client benefit:

  • Confident decision-making thanks to comprehensive, yet succinct, recommendations from a team who translate technology-speak into business terms you can relate to
  • Peace of mind knowing if there is ever any technical challenge, you have easy access to a full-service team that knows what technologies are in place and how to maintain them

accounting & finance

Meeting Expectations maintains a fully-staffed finance and accounting department, managing over $40MM in client transactions for a diverse client base. We build and manage budgets, deliver well-prepared financial reports and provide sound financial analysis. Your assigned staff accountant will manage everything from payables and receivables through budgeting and year-end reporting. 

Our comprehensive offering of accounting and financial services includes AR, AP, bookkeeping, check preparation, budgeting, financial projections and tax and audit preparation. As a trusted QuickBooks power user, we handle dues, registration fees, sponsor dollars and credit card transactions. Monthly statements are reconciled and coordinated with any third-party investment partners to produce consolidated monthly financials and a balance sheet. What’s more, we make it is easy for Board members to live up to their fiduciary responsibility with a proprietary set of financial reports designed for the very busy executives who may not have a background in finance or accounting.

And while we’re a leading association management company that serves a diverse set of clients, we guarantee that each and every one of one of your transactions is deposited directly into your dedicated account. 

What to expect:

  • Budgeting and forecasting 
  • Comprehensive financial reporting 
  • AP/AR management 
  • Banking and merchant services management 
  • Interim reporting, including projections and variance reports 
  • Long-term financial planning and growth strategies 
  • Revenue growth and diversification planning 
  • Accounting solutions for foreign currency transactions 
  • 501(c) tax review 
  • Annual audit prep and management, including RFP development for auditor selection 

Client benefit:

  • Financial management services that adhere to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • 100% transparency