American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

CEO Update

February 10, 2014

This is another in a series of occasional ASHA Chief Executive Officer Updates. These Updates are intended to provide ASHA members with a more in-depth view of various National Office (N.O.) units, key member services and initiatives, and names and roles of ASHA staff. Information about staff changes and N.O. recognitions/awards is also included.

Many thanks to those of you who provided feedback regarding previous Updates or made suggestions for future CEO Updates.

ASHA's 2013 Cost Savings and Efficiencies at ASHA's National Office

ASHA staff continues to work hard to hold the line on operational expenses. Of course, all of this is done with the overriding goal of maintaining member services. Although final results have not yet been through an audit (that will take place in March), we are confident that we will deliver a positive balance of revenue over expenses for 2013. All staff participated—in many large and small ways—in efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Below are some highlights of the cost-saving, revenue-enhancing, and staff-efficiency improvement efforts of 2013.

New Cost Reductions in 2013

  • ASHA's human resources department negotiated a new arrangement with the firm that provides insurance services that are part of ASHA staff benefits, which resulted in a savings of $82,000.
  • Professional development staff used Skype technology to record presentations remotely to save travel/hotel costs for presentation recordings.
  • Convention and meetings staff was able to save the Association significant travel-related costs by maximizing complimentary rooms and staff-rate rooms at Convention. 
  • The 2013 fall membership survey was printed in house, resulting in a cost savings of more than $1,300.
  • Participating via e-mail, conference calls, and Go-To-Meetings (remote access technology) for a significant amount of Special Interest Group and committee work resulted in substantial cost savings in 2013.
  • Implementation of an online benefits enrollment system and bringing all staff benefits administration in house resulted in a savings of $30,000.
  • An aggressive program to determine preferred member communication methods enabled the dues renewal team to identify individuals who would prefer to receive their renewal notice by e-mail, saving $30,000 in printing and postage costs.
  • Printing the dues-renewal-reminder postcard in house and being more efficient with targeting the mailing resulted in savings on postage and printing costs of more than $1,500.
  • By working closely with a new vendor, staff was able to reduce the cost for printing the 2014 ASHA Catalog (of courses, products, and resources) by more than $7,016.
  • Moving the grant program for multicultural activities completely online resulted in cost reductions related to staff time and postage to support the review panel and reduced the potential for costly human errors in handling the application packets.
  • By contracting with a new data entry company in mid-year 2013, the surveys and analysis team was able to save $1,850.
  • The government relations staff worked throughout the year to reduce costs through smarter staff travel. Efforts included carpooling for off-site meetings in both DC and Baltimore, reducing the stay whenever possible, and allowing staff to remain on site and work remotely from a distant location to reduce air travel back and forth. All of these efforts resulted in total savings of more than $3,500.
  • The public relations team reconfigured their staffing to incorporate the services of an outside PR firm. This resulted in lower total staffing costs and much better value, because it gives ASHA access to a broader skill set.
  • Moving the NSSLHA membership application online resulted in significant savings in staff time, improved accuracy, and reduced data-entry expense.
  • Late in 2012, ASHA launched the online certification lookup, which generated significant benefits in 2013. There were 16,834 visits to the application, significantly reducing the number of phone calls to the Action Center and the certification unit. In addition, there was a 23% reduction of fax and print verification letters, which resulted in a total staff time savings of approximately 180 days in 2013.
  • Moving the NOMS registration from an offsite, non-integrated system to ASHA's internal member database has reduced duplicate work and saved an estimated 1 hour per day of staff time.

Cost Reductions That Generate Savings Year After Year

  • Since 2007, ASHA has utilized a collaborative meeting site for committees to house documents, meeting materials, announcements, and communications and moved toward paperless meetings wherever possible. This approach continued to generate cost savings through reduced travel and improved efficiencies in 2013.
  • A program initiated in 2003, which continued to grow last year, calls for staff to communicate with volunteers via GoToMeetings, e-mail, and standard conferencing telephone options (when there are fewer than six participants) whenever possible in order to save on phone conferencing costs and to save on costs associated with mailing paper documents.
  • Starting in 2008 and continuing in 2013, the application submission and external review process for academic affairs and research education sponsored award and education programs was done electronically. This approach has reduced the need for paper copies of applications and review forms to be mailed to external reviewers and reduced the physical space needed for filing and recordkeeping associated with the award mechanism.
  • For the past 2 years, the online application and review system has been coordinated across multiple units. Six units within ASHA (Academic Affairs and Research Education, NSSLHA, Membership, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Accreditation, and ASHFoundation) have benefitted from the bundling of services that resulted in reduced staff time and improved efficiencies.
  • Starting in 2011 and increasing in both 2012 and 2013, staff used the ASHA Member Communities to disseminate information electronically, reducing e-mail and improving message targeting.
  • An extensive effort to maintain and update information posted on the website in a timely manner was continued and enhanced in 2013. This effort allows members, students, and consumers to be routinely directed to the website rather than receive mailed packets and/or faxed information.
  • Since 2007, ASHA staff have used computers located throughout Convention to showcase program resources in lieu of print copies, which practice has resulted in fewer paper materials sent to Convention. Significant savings for printing and shipping have been realized, because only materials that must be distributed in hard copy are included on site.
  • The streamlined format of the Researcher-Academic Town Meeting program and printing the program in house using stock materials continue to result in reduced printing costs.
  • For the past 5 years, the use of SharePoint and project sites during meetings and for posting documents for review and discussion has eliminated paper copies for all meeting participants.
  • Continued corporate sponsorships (begun in 2003) have reduced ASHA's net expenses for the Researcher Academic Town Meeting.
  • The surveys and analysis team continues to save money by using a low-cost web-based survey package. The cost per response is about $0.05 compared to more than $5 per paper survey respondent. Since its implementation in 2004, the use of Survey Monkey has saved the Association more than $500,000.
  • The surveys and analysis team's software package continues to generate savings that began in 2009. Costs were cut from $8,800 to $3,800 by reconfiguring license arrangements, saving the Association $5,000 per year.

National Office Staff Updates

The following individual is new to the ASHA staff since December 16, 2013:

  • Mary Sonnenschein, Project Manager, Consultant/Trainer

The following individuals have left ASHA to pursue other opportunities:

  • Debra Berkowitz, Advertising Sales Representative
  • Kerry Chmielenski, Associate Director, Audiology Professional Practices

The Next CEO Update

The International Communications Project 2014

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