Client Case Study: Clearing the Revenue Drain With Online Training and Revenue Sharing
The National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT) serves the needs of septic and sewage hauling companies, portable sanitation companies, sewer line cleaners, septic system installers and any other firm that provides sanitary waste related services. This non-profit organization had faced several years of declining membership and somewhat declining revenues. There were many challenges in the financial reporting format. The Center for Association Resources (The Center), chosen as NAWT’s new Association Management Company (AMC), was asked to revitalize the association and put it on a growth path.
The Center worked with the organization’s leadership to find new opportunities for serving its members and industry. NAWT members are small, family-owned companies whose owners struggle to attend a few days of training because there is no one left to do the work while they are away. After learning about the typical member profile, that state regulation requires that wastewater technicians receive training for home septic system inspections (some states have additional training requirements), and NAWT’s status as a preferred training vendor, The Center recommended the structuring of online training as an attractive service offering.
The Center developed a revenue sharing program where state associations receive payment when its members take the online training. When the state associations saw the low break-even point between their membership fee and training revenue, additional associations joined NAWT. NAWT was able to work with many state associations to co-market the training. The vendors who developed and teach the training also receive a per pupil stipend. The two revenue sharing programs reduced both the need for a large financial investment and limited the risk of undertaking the project. The very successful program was also expanded into Canada.
NAWT included membership information and links to its website with the training registration and certificates of completion. When industry members became aware of NAWT’s existence through the training, they recognized the value in joining an organization that lobbied the EPA and other regulatory bodies, supplied industry news through its newsletter, and a subscription to Pumper Magazine, and offered excellent training on a variety of topics.
The Resulting Solution and Changes:
With the expansion of online training, NAWT has seen a sizeable increase in both membership and revenue. Over the last three years, non-dues revenue from training has increased 34% and individual membership is up 13%. Four new Canadian associations have joined NAWT.
“The Center has raised the professional appearance of our industry and turned a financially struggling organization into one with a positive cash flow. We have exceeded our budget and have had a positive cash flow in each of the past three years,” explained NAWT Secretary Tom Ferrero. “The Center’s team has been invaluable in working with state organizations to set up more than 20 NAWT training sessions each year around the country, organizing and facilitating our presence at two national conferences each year, and planning one specialty symposium for our members that is held about every second year. As Secretary of NAWT for more than twenty years, I find our organization is in the best position it has been in to support our members going forward. I attribute this to the team at The Center for Association Resources.”