This is Part 3 in a series of blogs we’re putting together to summarize the findings of a recent research study we completed. In case you missed the last two posts from this series, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.
The goal of the study was to gather and consolidate data from a group of partner organizations in AZA (Friends groups, Foundations, Societies, etc.) in order to extract meaningful information about how they operate, and to quantify their operations in aggregate. Fourteen different organizations participated and submitted historical data, amounting to 70 discreet years of financials and other operating metrics to unpack.
If you’ve reviewed the first and second posts from this series, you’re probably wondering “how can I use this information at my organization?” Look no further! We’ve put together a few recommendations for you to review:
1. Assess your governance structure.
Is it the right fit for your organizations? Work with your partners to make an objective assessment of whether there a different/expanded role that your organization can play to have an event better impact. Remember that everyone is working towards a common goal – having a successful zoo with lasting mission impact.
2. Take a close look at your operating agreement.
Revenue sharing represents an investment in your organization to multiply dollars. How can the partnership and roles be more clearly defined?
3. Ensure that your organization is adequately staffed to accomplish your goals.
Design your organizational chart proactively, with an eye towards what you want to accomplish in the future, not just what you need to accomplish today.
4. Revenue generating and non-revenue generating activities need to operate in balance.
It’s OK for certain programs to operate at a loss if they serve your mission, as long as they are supported by programs that have strong margins. Make strategic investments to grow income-producing activities and programs. Ultimately, all revenue generating activities support greater mission goals.
5. Put trackable metrics into place to ensure that your business operations are functioning efficiently.
Working in concert with your partner zoo, establish a realistic business plan which ensures short- and long-term financial sustainability and closely links to the zoo’s development plans. Plan your work, work your plan.
6. As the primary source of revenue for most partner groups, it’s imperative that your membership program is designed smartly and generating appropriate return on investment.
A well-run membership program is all about executing the fundamentals effectively, efficiently, and perfectly, month after month after month. It’s about getting the details right.
If you’d like to learn more about the study or talk to us about how Zoo Advisors can help you achieve your goals, drop us a line here and we’ll get back to you soon!