At Closing - Supporting Our Chapters through the Strategic Plan
By: William E. Hunt, president, Elmhurst Group
NAIOP is now deep into putting the goals and strategies of its 2012-2014 Strategic Plan into practice, focusing on developing effective education resources; deepening member knowledge of key government affairs issues affecting us in Washington, D.C., and in our state capitals; and supporting NAIOP chapters with resources to help them engage new members.
During the research and member interviews, prior to developing the Strategic Plan, NAIOP learned that over the next three years, 43 percent of survey respondents expect their companies will expand into new markets or new property types (36 percent), and many said their budgets for education and professional development were steadily increasing.
These key statistics are evidence that each chapter has the opportunity to reach new audiences, reconnect with past members who were forced to leave the association due to economic uncertainties, and intensify chapter programs that keep members informed about local market trends and advance career skills.
During my visits as chairman, I have witnessed the strength of the chapter staff and volunteer members. Thus, the goal of the Strategic Plan is to further ensure that these indispensable leaders have the tools and knowledge to carry out their plans. To that end, NAIOP has expressly committed the following Strategic Plan tactics to support our chapters:
Organization of grassroots contacts—NAIOP members have advantageous connections with local, state and national legislators, and it’s more important than ever to leverage those connections and ensure that lawmakers fully understand the value the commercial real estate industry generates for communities and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
So that NAIOP’s government affairs team can learn just who members know and how to build better relationships, a grassroots survey has been launched. Tell us who you know and how you are connected to them. Help NAIOP build a database of these contacts so that we can further develop relationships and make certain that the industry is well understood in local, state and federal governments.
If you have a contact to share, please reach out to Toby Burke, senior director for state and local affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Increased knowledge of government affairs issues—Advocacy is an element of NAIOP that sets it apart from many of its peer associations. NAIOP is fortunate to have an effective government affairs staff that will be focusing on disseminating their knowledge throughout the chapter network.
NAIOP is reintroducing the annual mid-year meeting for chapter government affairs chairs, presidents and executives. This meeting is an opportune time to develop strategies around state and federal legislative issues. The group met in Dallas in September 2012 and found great value in sharing experiences and digging a bit deeper into how legislation affects the commercial real estate industry. The government affairs staff has also been increasing its travel to chapters and meeting with boards and committees interested in NAIOP’s legislative affairs.
NAIOP’s website features ample resources related to legislative affairs that monitor state legislatures and keep members fully aware of the proposed or pending legislation that affects their business and the industry. NAIOP retains Stateside Associates to assist in monitoring all state legislatures where we have a presence (29 state capitals) on the issues most pressing to members, including brownfields, building security, disability access, endangered species, growth management, impact fees, land use, taxes and wetlands.
NAIOP members have exclusive access to an online database of legislation and regulation reports by issue or state, with the ability to develop a specialized list of the issues NAIOP monitors, or pull a list of all legislative activity for a particular state. There is information regarding the legislative process in each state, including session dates and the ability to sign up for email alerts on bills, issues and regulatory developments. If you haven’t visited this valuable online resource, find it at naiop.org under Advocacy.
Increased chapter leader presence at the Chapter Leadership & Legislative Retreat (CL&LR)—The Retreat is an annual gathering of NAIOP chapter executives and staffs, as well as the elected chapter leadership. The three-day event in Washington, D.C. provides sessions and keynotes focusing on chapter development, engaging members, developing education programs and bolstering overall communications.
With the opportunities that lie ahead, it’s so important to extend our reimbursement policy to encourage more chapter leaders to attend the CLLR and take home fresh ideas to their chapters. The more knowledge shared and gleaned at this event, the better for the chapters. Ask your chapter leaders about the outstanding value of the CLLR, and support their attendance and participation.
Chapter Executive program at the Development conference—Chapter executives are the true force behind most everything done on the local level, and NAIOP believes that supporting their leadership and association knowledge is crucial. At the fall Development conference, the Membership and Chapter Relations team plans a full day of discussions, training and speakers that educate chapter executives and help further their understanding of NAIOP’s activities and goals. To make it easier for the chapter executives to attend the conference, the travel stipend has been reinstituted to offset their costs.
I know that all of you join me in acknowledging that each NAIOP chapter has an invaluable impact on our members and contributes to the success of the association. With these new Strategic Plan goals, I am confident that each chapter will continue to be strengthened, benefiting the association on every level.