President's Message - Collaboration at the National Level

by Linda Fred, ICHP President
December 8, 2014

I had the privilege this week of attending the ASHP Presidential Officers Meeting in Chicago. There were presidential officers and association executives from all over the country present at the meeting as well as the ASHP President and President-Elect. We had a couple of days of great discussion on topics of interest for all State Affiliates and shared some best practices and many common concerns.

Our keynote speaker was Sheri Jacobs, author of The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain, and Cement Member Loyalty.1 Here are a few things I learned:
  • Membership and member activities should be accessible, affordable, and fun.
  • We value what we can’t buy elsewhere – so membership has to offer something not easily obtainable somewhere else.  As the organization’s leadership, we should be asking ourselves what we can provide through ICHP that our members can’t get anywhere else.
  • Peer-to-peer networking is valued by members and is an important tool in retaining them.
  • Associations need to make their events “destination events”.
  • Attributes of successful associations include things like credibility and being a trusted source of information, providing access to new skills, helping the professionals keep current in their field, supporting career advancement, and increasing the individuals’ earning power through development activities.
  • Member surveys should focus on behaviors rather than preferences. Preferences are just that and aren’t good indicators of what the individual is likely to actually do.
  • As in any customer service industry, we should focus on the “top box” scores – the 5’s on a 5 point scale.
  • Members want to be listened to, taught and mentored, rewarded and acknowledged.
  • There is renewed interest in professional organizations being a conduit for service projects. Many members want their organizations to offer regular opportunities to give back to their geographic or professional community.
After listening to the author’s comments, we had a roundtable discussion with the other officers and executives present to look at what best practices we each have in our own affiliates and what struggles we face. Some common threads were:
  • We are all offering quite a few services that may not be strong drivers of membership satisfaction, and we need to evaluate whether they are worth the investments of money and time.
  • We all need to determine if there are more things we can do that our members will value highly.
  • We all need to have more fun at our events. You can’t have too much fun. (And we shared some best practice ideas – but since you might see some of them at our future events, I won’t spoil the surprise.)
Our ICHP Leadership Retreat is coming up this weekend, and we are focusing on another book about attracting and retaining engaged members, The End of Membership as We Know It: Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Next Century by Sarah L. Sladek.2 I believe we are going to have more great discussion about how the organization can continue to provide important services to attract and retain members, and I hope you will see the outcome of these ideas in our services and events in the coming year.

The officers and executives also had roundtable discussions about additional significant topics.
  • Ambulatory care and transitions of care are expectations that are clearly emerging at the forefront of health-system pharmacy today. Last March, ASHP convened an Ambulatory Care Conference and Summit. The recommendations produced by Summit attendees are available on the ASHP website at the following address: They are geared toward promoting the pharmacist as an essential part of an integrated team of professionals providing care across the continuum. Whether you are engaged in ambulatory care today or not, you should read this document.
  • ASHP leadership shared insights into their rebranding process, and we all talked about our respective state affiliate’s logos, tag lines, and mission statements – looking for best practices and discussing how our “brand” is seen by our members and others. Does our visual brand align with our ideas of what our brand should be?
  • Similarly to ICHP, most state affiliates have different membership categories. We looked for ways to attract and engage members from different categories, considering what each group (e.g., technicians, students, new practitioners, seasoned professionals) might value in terms of benefits and opportunities provided by the organization.
  • Legislative advocacy is still an important factor in many states. We now have five states that have attained recognition as providers at the state level, and it is important that we all continue to work together within our respective states and also support the federal legislation that currently resides in the House of Representatives that would alter the rules to make pharmacists eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. ICHP’s Division of Government Affairs is very active on this front. This is a great way to get involved in advocacy within ICHP. Here is a link to the ICHP website where you can get additional information about Government Affairs:
I had a terrific two days meeting and collaborating with officers and executives from around the country, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share some of those ideas with our own leadership group to bring even more best practices home to Illinois.

  1. Jacobs S. The art of membership as we know it: How to attract, retain, and cement member loyalty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2014.
  2. Sladek SL. The end of membership as we know it: Building the fortune-flipping, must-have association of the next century. Washington DC: American Society of Association Executives; 2011.

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