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Growth-Oriented Associations

Growth-Oriented Associations

A growth-oriented association is one that is primarily driven by expansion. Its volunteers and staff are planning and acting in a manner intended to reach critical growth metrics in all aspects. This includes growing membership, revenue, influence, brand awareness and so on.

CSAE intends to focus its efforts in this area on bringing value to growth-oriented associations with budgets of $10 million or less. However, organizations of most any size can be considered “growth-oriented” if expansion is what drives their measure of success.

The following link leads to a number of videos intended to offer explanations and advice to growth-oriented associations.

As part of CSAE’s business model transition, we have been working on a series of prototype explainer videos in English.

The videos are presented as a Playlist. Click the icon in the upper left of the video window to choose the specific video you wish to watch.

Three Questions for Jacqui Mendes

Jacqui Mendes

by Jeff de Cagna

To better understand what drives a “growth-oriented association,” we put some questions to Jacqui Mendes, director of operations for the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) and a GCX15 speaker.

1. What makes the BCNPHA a “growth-oriented association?”

Our growth orientation has been driven by our end goal – to be a one-stop resource shop for the affordable housing sector in the province. With housing currently low on the federal agenda and funding changes impacting sustainability, BCNPHA has had to grow significantly to serve the expanding and complex needs of members, and to step up advocacy. Our mandate is to lead, educate and advocate for affordable housing providers, who operate homes and supports for the most vulnerable in our communities. We understand that to continue to fulfill our mandate we must develop proactively to get in front of social, economic and political evolution. The focus on growth ensures that BCNPHA will continue to be sustainable and strong; a strong association is a strong sector.

BCNPHA is also aspirational; we continually think outside the box, looking for non-traditional ways to serve members. Venturing into new areas means new competencies, which has meant continued expansion. Growth has also been driven by the need to leverage existing and new partnerships across the non-profit, public and private sectors to develop and deliver new services and programs.

2. What advice do you have for other organizations that are trying to nurture an organizational orientation toward growth?

Embrace innovation, change, flexibility and adaptability.

Be opportunistic – some of BCNPHA’s unexpected and successful growth opportunities have started with a ‘carpe diem’ moment.

Develop a strong, supportive board that is willing to consider appropriate risk, new directions, and even mandate change if necessary.

Use new technology.

Leadership is critical – strong vision and ideas, communicated well and bought into by board and staff is the environment in which growth thrives.

Don’t be afraid to fail in new growth areas – not everything may work out, but the attempt gives insight into improved approaches to opportunities and challenges.

3. You’re leading a session during GCX15 in Calgary. What should we expect from your presentation?

During my session [at the now passed GCX15], I’ll be sharing BCNPHA’s journey through the landscape of growth and revenue diversity, and outlining our roadmap for fellow travelers. My presentation will examine vision-driven revenue generation options that have been tested and proved to work, and demonstrate lived experience of how change and flexibility can have a significant impact on association growth. I’ll be sharing the transformation story of BCNPHA, its revenue diversity experience and subsequent ability to freeze member dues for 2 years.


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