Executive Director Update
February 20, 2012
This is another in a series of occasional ASHA Executive Director updates. These updates are intended to provide ASHA members with a more in-depth view of various ASHA programs and National Office units, key member services and initiatives, and the names and roles of ASHA staff. Information about staff changes and ASHA National Office recognitions/awards is also included.
Many thanks to those of you who have provided feedback regarding the previous updates or suggestions for future Executive Director updates.
2011 Cost Savings and Efficiencies at ASHA's National Office
ASHA continues to work hard in holding the line on discretionary spending. Of course, all of this is done with the overriding goal of maintaining member services. Although our final results have not yet been through audit (that will take place in March), we are very confident that we will deliver a positive balance of revenue over expenses for 2011. All staff participated in the efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in many large and small ways. Below are just a few highlights of the most significant cost-saving and revenue-enhancing efforts of 2011.
Going Digital, Being Green, and Reducing Costs by Eliminating Paper
- The State Advocacy team developed an online application and tool kit for student advocacy grants, eliminating the need to send and receive paper applications. They also posted the state grant application process online and offered resource documents (including hearing aid dispenser regulations) as online-only documents, eliminating mailing costs necessitated by the paper version.
- The Grant Program for Projects on Multicultural Activities is now conducted completely online. This change has resulted in cost reductions related to staff time and postage to support the review panel and has reduced the potential for human errors in handling the application packets.
- Moved from a paper-based to an online election for the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) members. This change eliminated the time, cost, and paper required to copy, mail, and post ballots to academic programs as part of the election—and also eliminated return postage costs for the programs. The CAA Nominating Committee continues to use an online collaboration site to post and review the applications, saving money on copying and postage.
- The transition to ASHA's new member database, netFORUM, enables the use of targeted e-mail to reduce paper mailings. For example, in 2011, ASHA eliminated the mailing of 32,000 Course Description letters to Continuing Education (CE) Providers; eliminated the mailing of appeal responses from the CE Board; and reduced the number of CE transcripts printed and mailed by posting a form on the CE website that enables people to inquire via e-mail about what is on their transcript.
- An online course registration system allows CE providers to file courses online with CE. This eliminates paper, filing, and storage fees.
- The Surveys and Information Team continues to save money by using a low-cost, web-based survey package, which costs $200 per year. Since its implementation, the use of Survey Monkey has saved the association approximately $375,000.
- The 2011 Membership Survey was printed in house, saving $1,880. The Membership Survey also was reduced from the standard six pages to four pages resulting in a reduced postage rate and saving $1,705.
- The Graphics team saved $2,000 by proofing content and checking color and quality via the web and reducing the number of high-resolution press proofs.
Increasing Efficiencies and Implementing Innovative Ideas to Reduce Costs and Increase Revenues
- The integration of the Special Interest Groups saved $8,250 through shared CE provider fees.
- The Public Relations team secured $90,000 from AARP and $40,000 from the Consumer Electronics Association in support of ASHA's PR efforts in 2011.
- Printing brochures and product covers at the same time to make most efficient use of printing technologies saved $13,500.
- Using data to drive mailing lists reduced the print run of the ASHA Catalog from 137,000 to 121,500, resulting in a savings of about $8,400 in print costs and $3,000 in postage.
- ASHA began a long-term initiative in 2011 to raise the international profile of ASHA journals, including publicizing the journals in China and encouraging Chinese authorship. By the end of the year, we were negotiating subscriptions with library consortia in more than two dozen countries.
- The ASHA Leader team shifted transportation of mail in high-density delivery areas from co-mailing to drop shipping, reducing postal costs by approximately $3,500 per issue; and saved approximately $30,000 in print and mailing costs by maintaining smaller print-issue sizes in 2011 (average 43 pages/issue) and publishing additional content online.
- By using inserts in The ASHA Leader to distribute information to members, we reduced mailing costs. For example, the mailing cost for distributing the convention schedule to 145,000 members was only about $6,300 or 4 cents a copy.
Cost Savings Continue in the National Office Facility and Operations
- Facilities staff acquired new copier and printing technologies and moved various printing services in house, resulting in savings of more than $35,000.
- Further improvements in HVAC, lighting, landscape contracting, and electricity use as well as implementing other system improvements in the National Office saved more than $65,000.
- Finance staff negotiated a new contract for merchant services (credit card transactions), which reflected a decrease in fees of at least $100,000.
- Changing vendors and renegotiating fees in information technology services saved more than $7,500.
Reduced Travel and Increased Effectiveness Through the Use of Meeting Technology
- The work of many ASHA committees and boards continues to be effectively supported by conference calls, e-mail exchanges, and the use of our (SharePoint) Collaboration site, which is a private online web tool that enables the sharing of documents and information, often times eliminating the need for additional face-to-face meetings.
- The CAA decided to no longer require site visitors who have been selected for a new 4-year term of service to attend a 2-day, face-to-face training. Instead, the CAA conducted continuing professional development via webinar or through the use of other website mechanisms and resources.
- Many of ASHA's governance activities use online interactive sites to share information, conduct routine business, prepare for face-to-face meetings, and accomplish a variety of business processes. For example, the Leadership Development Program received applications and did their reviews online.
National Office Staff Updates
The following individuals are new to the ASHA staff since January 23, 2012:
- Lorraine Lennon, Ethics Program Manager
- Allison Oakes, Program Administrator, American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation
- Deborah Sartin, Director, Project Management Office
- Zeresenay Wolday, Accounts Receivable Analyst
The following individuals have left ASHA to pursue other opportunities:
- Linda D'Aloisio, Ethics Program Manager (Retired)
- Pete Hoffmann, Production Editor
The Next Executive Director Update
ASHA's 2012 Public Policy Agenda