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Driving the nondues income road.

When looking for new revenue, keep your eyes on where the association wants to go.

Like many associations, the National Private Truck Council (NPTC), Alexandria, Virginia, is thirsty for added revenue. As a result, we have been bombarded with endorsement options. When drug testing of truck fleet personnel was made mandatory, we considered endorsing medical review organizations that certified the accuracy of drug tests. We were also asked to endorse "backhaul" networks, through which our members could seek loads to avoid returning home empty. We were asked to sponsor seminars and start an electronic bulletin board. Instead, we have avoided alluring diversions by asking ourselves several questions about proposed nondues-income efforts.

Consider the competition

Is the product or service unique or better than any competitor's? We found that many firms are involved in drug testing and backhaul systems. Our chances for success could be seriously limited by such competition, and we would need to distinguish our product or service.

Examine endorsements

We found that several supplier members offered products and services identical to those proposed for endorsement. How could we pick only one without affecting our relationship with the others?

How will we manage quality control? Endorsing a medical review of drug tests, publications, or seminars would have made us accountable for their quality. We weren't prepared to maintain an independent quality review process.

Will selection of the endorsed partner be an open process? We were faced with the difficult process of making a fair choice among a large number of providers. We decided to make none at all.

Look to the long haul

Do we have the venture capital or risk capital and the time to invest to see the program through? We could answer yes about a safety-recognition program that we decided to develop and market to our members.

Each time we have considered nondues income programs we also faced the inevitable question: Who's going to do this, and can we follow through effectively?

Check out the market

NPTC conducted a member wants and needs analysis. We learned that in addition to regulatory and compliance information, our members wanted tools for justifying the value of their fleets and their own roles. Our supplier members wanted more information on the demographics of the private fleet market.

A follow-up survey revealed interest in certification and continuing education. Our supplier members liked the idea of programs that would give them more information about their market.

To finance the programs, we created the Private Fleet Management Institute (PFMI), a 501(c)(3) affiliate that attracts funds for education, research, and contributions to the private truck fleet community. After only two years, we have implemented

* our Certified Private Fleet Manager Program, with 62 graduates in the first class;

* a series of benchmarking and industry profile publications; and

* two federal grants and agreements for research on private trucking.

In addition, PFMI has given us a vision to develop other offerings related to member needs. All this has added to NPTC's product and service mix and has been a key factor in attracting new members.

NPTC's experience is proof that if you concentrate on the products and services your members can get only from your association and which are directly related to their needs, your nondues income journey can be successful.

Gene Bergoffen, CAE, is executive vice president of the National Private Truck Council, Alexandria, Virginia. He dedicates this column to the memory of Richard McAdoo.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Good Ideas; National Private Truck Council's revenue management program
Author:Bergoffen, Gene
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Implications of OBRA '93.
Next Article:A fair day's work for a fair day's pay.

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