Check-ins between the FPA Central Office with the leaders and executives from the 11 participating chapters are an important part of the OneFPA Network beta-test to discuss the beta-test to date and explore critical issues. On July 1, during the close of Q2 check-in with beta-test chapters, there was a robust discussion centered on how FPA and chapters can make a difference for members—an issue the association is focused intently on at all levels.

While these meetings are an opportunity to report out on the beta-test timeline, actions taken to date, and upcoming milestones, the real value comes from engaging collaboratively in conversation around issues where we can learn together. Often these conversations lead to opportunities for the beta-test chapters to work more closely together on programs or uncover how the FPA Central Office staff can better support chapters and members.

In this meeting, beta-test chapter leaders and executives were asked, “From your perspective as a chapter leader, what does it look like to make a meaningful difference for your FPA members?” The answers were not at all surprising and included:

  • Members receive the tools and support to provide financial planning solutions for their market.”
  • “Getting them (members) engaged and feeling like they are part of a community.”
  • “When I can help a member connect with another member or expert that they need to help them with their client service."
  • “Right now, continuing to provide a strong community for our members throughout COVID.”
  • “Sharing ideas and resources.”
  • “Supporting financial planners at all stages of their careers.”
  • “Helping planners become better planners.”
  • “Listening to what a member says they need and helping to meet that need.”
  • “Ultimately, we would like our members to find value in their membership and be glad to be members.”
  • “They feel it’s the only organization they need to join.”

While these were just a few of the comments shared, it was easy to see that the beta-test chapter leaders and executives believe the role we need to play is on supporting members throughout their career journeys, providing a sense of community (especially now during the pandemic), and helping members be the best financial planners they can be. So, where do we need to focus some efforts in the short-term? Perhaps better communicating the value of membership and working in tandem with the chapters to better integrate and align communications, so members are receiving a complete narrative and better understand the many opportunities available through FPA and the chapters.

Beta-test chapters were also asked what they have been doing recently to create a stronger member experience. Sharing in this way with one another has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of the OneFPA Network beta-test because chapter leaders and executives can learn successful strategies they can look to employ. Here’s a sampling of some of these recent efforts:

  • FPA of the Triangle reported that they have been able to double their member engagement at chapter meetings because of the focus on virtual events. And, in a more “old school” communication effort, they have also been reaching out to chapter members individually to ask them how they're doing and what the chapter can do to help them during this time answer questions on FPA member benefits.
  • FPA of South Carolina, which is not a beta-test chapter but shares a chapter executive with FPA of Charlotte (a beta-test chapter), has implemented a brief video message from the chapter president every month. The videos have received significant engagement from chapter members and are being appreciated. As the chapter executive said, “It was a small change with a big impact.”
  • FPA of Greater Kansas City started a new member newsletter to keep members up to date on all that is going on in the chapter and tie together events and programs from the chapter with programs available through FPA nationally.

While the beta-test work and meetings are reserved for the 11 beta-test chapters, we are always looking to share learning opportunities with all chapters. That is the focus of this post and the last one on corporate partnerships. Much more to come!