A year and a half ago, the Archery Trade Association (ATA) was having trouble leveraging their data to target and engage with their members. And if there is one thing an archery association shouldn’t have trouble with, it’s hitting a target!
Nonetheless, that’s the situation that Wendy Lang was tasked with solving for the ATA. Lang, whose career started in healthcare, joined the ATA three years ago and worked her way up the ranks from membership and trade show assistant to senior manager of membership. Over the course of those years, Lang had a ground-floor view of the information and transactional problems the association faced—and they were big.
But Lang wasn’t scared away. Instead, she was fired up. “Data is my passion,” says Lang. “So I was thrilled to be in a position where I could jump in and find a solution.”
Her skills and creativity were put to the test: “Our old legacy membership management system was very clunky and very restrictive in terms of how many custom fields you could have. And data extraction was very difficult because the field names were called one thing to the user and behind the scenes, the same fields were called something else. And, unlike Impexium, our AMS (association management software) did not have open APIs so integrations were virtually next to impossible. We were very much a remote island with our membership database and we needed to get off it.”
As most game-changers know, Lang understood that to hit her goals, she’d need the best tools and technology available. She also recognized that identifying your limitations is the first step in surpassing them. The ATA has a staff of 20, and we needed something that could capture and analyze huge amounts of data without requiring huge amounts of staff resources.”
With all of that in mind, she began the search for AMS solutions and received eight proposals from the traditional AMS providers as well as platform options. She read through each of them, and then she got to Impexium.
“Impexium put a significant amount of time and effort into giving us a presentation that was custom to us—that demonstrated how they could meet our specific business and membership needs. That meant a lot to us,” recalls Lang.
With this new weapon at their disposal, the ATA was able to leap into action. Their first major undertaking was creating a new member dashboard that allows members to quickly access forms, sign-up for programs and renew their dues with just a couple of clicks.
The rewards for members have been huge, and for Lang, she is thrilled that when leadership at ATA comes to her with big ideas, she can stop answering with that dreaded two-letter word: no.
“Before we made the change, people would ask me, ‘Can we do this?’ and my answer was usually, ‘Sorry, not possible.’ Now, the answer is often yes, and if it isn’t available immediately, we work with Impexium to strategize a plan forward or add it to the roadmap.’”
That means that Lang can stop getting bogged down in transactional work, she says, and can now focus on her passion for data and the members the ATA serves.
“When I was in healthcare, there was a saying: ‘Patients not paperwork.’ I can transfer that to associations by saying ‘Members not spreadsheets.’ Before Impexium, I used to spend time pulling out member directory and emailing spreadsheets, now it's automated so members can download on-demand. I can also create tools for staff and members to optimize the AMS. All of that means that I can spend more time doing the most important part of my job: working with members, their benefits and engagement with their association. The ATA belongs to its members and I enjoy working with them and building connections for their success.”
Plus, for Lang, a lot less time and energy spent digging around unwieldy Excel files in the office means she can spend more time devoted to her other passion outside of the office: hitting bullseyes at the archery range.
Change may be the only constant in business — but that doesn’t make organizational transformation any easier. Association leaders are balancing competing priorities and increasing demands, enough to make even the most driven executive fall victim to the inertia of the status-quo.
But not every association stays still while the world seems to change around them. For her willingness to upset the association technology status-quo, Impexium is proud to recognize Wendy Lang as one of 2019’s Association Technology Disruptors!
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