CASE STUDY: Rapid Growth

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The ICF joined Associations International in 2005, after parting ways with a previous management company. ICF was experiencing growth but needed help adequately managing its burgeoning community of coaches. AI offered a dedicated staff team with technology expertise, finance and accounting support, marketing and communications management, event planning, sponsorship support, brand management, and research development.

Eight years into its partnership with AI, ICF has experienced tremendous growth year over year. Membership has grown by 144 percent; ICF Credential holders have grown by 1,374 percent; and ICF-approved or -accredited training programs have grown by 569 percent. Financially, ICF has never been in a more fiscally responsible and profitable position. When ICF joined AI in 2005, the Association was in a negative financial position and now the organization’s reserves exceed ASAE’s standard.

The dedicated AI staff team has grown from five to nearly 30 individuals, positioning ICF for further growth and allowing the addition of dozens of new offerings, including live and virtual events, a peer coaching program for ICF Members’ professional development, enhanced accreditation and credentialing processes, virtual education offerings, a quarterly magazine, and an ICF online store, among many others.

The addition of five Regional Service Centres offers support in various languages to coaches in more than 100 countries across the globe. A research and education department enables ICF to take advocacy for the coaching profession to new heights. In addition to hosting a research portal on its website, ICF also commissions full research reports,which gain high levels of media exposure. In 2012, ICF was mentioned in 9,230 media clips, representing a potential global readership of more than 5.4 billion.

With AI’s association management expertise, ICF Members enjoy a valuable membership experience that empowers them to make a positive impact on society.

“We hired a management company originally because we were bringing in members faster than we could process, when we first started the association. We were initiating a field of practice and trying to give a body of knowledge and had no infrastructure. It was night and day. We’re so blessed to have dedicated staff members who are partners with us. They run our $5 million budget for 24,000 members around the world—we needed to have a professional management staff.

Because they’ve been dedicated staff, they really know our business—they’ve been through coaching training. They have management expertise and experience combined with heightened sensitivity to our needs. They can speak the language of both coaching and purchasers. It’s tricky to do that translation, hold an advocacy for standards while also meeting the needs of the members.

There is equal to or greater than investment from our staff in the success of the organization in every area that counts—the people that are hired, the work ethic, the attention to excellence, the courage to say what isn’t popular to say because it serves the long term health of the association and the staying power—they love what they do, and it shows up in our membership and volunteer leaders around the world.”

—Janet Harvey, 2013 ICF Immediate Past President

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