What FPA learned from stakeholder feedback
Frequently Asked Questions
At a macro-level, what did FPA learn through the feedback provided by stakeholders?
We learned that our stakeholders—especially chapter leaders and members—are passionate about FPA and invested in FPA’s success. We learned that there is a lot of misinformation, confusion and lack of knowledge of FPA’s current programs and structure. We also learned that our members do value what FPA and our chapters do for them professionally and don’t want that value to be diminished in any way. We learned that all stakeholders want chapters to be empowered to continue doing the great work they already do unencumbered by any changes that may take place and want to see the OneFPA Network vision adopted in a way that takes the necessary time to get it right.
Based on the feedback, do you think FPA would propose the same plan all over again or would FPA have taken a different approach to avoid the negative criticism?
The same original draft plan would have been proposed to stakeholders, since it was a varied and extensive group of FPA leaders who drafted the original plan to begin with. Based on the feedback, the vision of a more integrated, aligned association that best serves the needs of its members is still a relevant vision. While the original draft plan was met with a wide variety of feedback, it sparked a vibrant discussion about the future of our association and brought more voices to the table to envision our collective future. The purpose of sharing the original OneFPA Network Draft Plan and engaging in the Listening Tour was to initiate a robust system-wide conversation, which is exactly what occurred.
The original draft plan called for chapters to change their legal structures and become a part of one legal entity. What was feedback like on that provision?
Feedback was very direct and clear from many of our chapter leaders. They were concerned that the elimination of their separately incorporated legal status would compromise the autonomy chapters currently enjoy from a functional and programmatic standpoint. The intent of this provision was to simply better align and integrate the association functionally and culturally—not strip chapters of their autonomy. Despite this intent, the Second Iteration of the OneFPA Network Draft Plan removes this requirement and calls for deeper analysis of the legal structure issue throughout a beta-testing process.
What did FPA learn from the feedback regarding centralized accounting and finance?
While chapter leaders generally embraced more transparency and sharing of financial information for better strategic decision-making, they expressed their strong concern that centralizing accounting and finances would mean they would lose control over their budgets, reserves and programs that generate revenue. Throughout the Listening Tour, FPA leaders clarified the intent of accounting/finance centralization; however, chapter leaders asked for written assurances that they will maintain control in this area and that their reserves wouldn’t be tapped by national for other purposes. We also heard that the local sponsor relationships with chapters should be supported and not diminished.
What did FPA learn from the feedback regarding centralized staffing?
Chapter leaders value their chapter executives and the important role they play in providing critical day-to-day support to their respective chapters. Concerns were expressed about the need for chapters to be able to manage the work of their chapter executive. Chapter leaders were clear that they want to be assured that their chapter executives would be working for their chapters and that they would continue to direct the executive’s day-to-day activities. While there was consensus about the benefits of greater collaboration and cooperation to support the work of chapter executives, chapters wanted to be assured that they will have a direct say into any future hiring, firing or evaluation of their executive.
What did FPA learn from the feedback regarding centralized technology?
An improved technology infrastructure that powers the association locally and nationally was one area where there was resounding support from all stakeholders. Feedback only solidified the need and urgency for FPA to better integrate all technology to make data-gathering and reporting, communications, program management, and member experience both nationally and locally. Concerns that were shared were about how the technology improvements would be developed and paid for, what would happen with current technology used by chapters that is working adequately, and the timeframe for making the improvements.
What was the feedback like on the concept of participatory governance?
The opportunity to bring more leadership voices from across the association in the strategy-setting and decision-making of FPA was met with general enthusiasm. Stakeholders are supportive of measures that empower more FPA leaders to help chart a course for FPA moving forward. Concerns in this area primarily were about additional bureaucracy if more leaders are added to the governance process, the make-up of the OneFPA Advisory Council, and how leaders would be selected to serve on committees and task forces.
Will FPA place a premium on the need for greater transparency moving forward?
FPA leaders and staff take seriously the need to operate with accountability and transparency. Through the Listening Tour, we learned that all of our stakeholders would like to see FPA increase its level of transparency in the spirit of participatory governance. In response, the decision was made to offer regular financial updates so stakeholders can better understand the financial state of the association with the first one taking place in January 2019. As we move through the OneFPA Network process, greater transparency will be embraced to help make all stakeholders aware of what is transpiring in their association.