NAIFA’s plans to strengthen industry partnerships, improve finances, attract and retain members and deliver personalized value to every member can only be achieved “with creative thinking and nimble action by our volunteers, executives and staff,” NAIFA President Juli McNeely said Sunday at NAIFA's Career Conference and Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
The ability for NAIFA to move forward on its plans does not mean taking “the easiest or the most popular path,” McNeely said. “There will be some storm clouds along the way, there always are. But I believe that if we work together as one NAIFA there are many more sunny days to come.”
McNeely said she believes that “NAIFA’s future is bright,” and identified nine scenarios - along with examples of NAIFA states and locals that already are incorporating those scenarios -- that will assure NAIFA’s future is bright. They are:
- NAIFA must Remain member (advisor) driven with broad practice specialty reach. "For 125 years NAIFA has been an advisor-driven association. This is a strength. First, it allows us to have broad grassroots coverage and it reinforces our conscious decision to remain a 'big tent.' Second, it allows us to focus on what is best for the advisor and the clients they serve. Third, it allows the advisor to continue to be served well by NAIFA if and when their practices evolve in order to meet the changing needs of their market."
- We MUST Build a Culture of Unity instead of a Culture of Competition. "As a federation, NAIFA has strong, independent associations that bode well for generating personal ownership and pride that can lead to innovative and creative results. But NAIFA also has associations that are struggling financially and facing difficulties building a leadership bench. Regardless of your situation, remember: NAIFA has ONE mission, and if we are to deliver on this mission, we MUST work together,” McNeely said.
- We must Create a Fluid & Flexible Structure. NAIFA’s struggling locals have dissolved or merged over the years. As a federation NAIFA must be open to the best possible way to deliver NAIFA nationally, in every state and in local areas. NAIFA’s structure should support its mission and not become a drain on financial or human resources.
- We must build a financial model that supports the core mission. NAIFA should seek efficiencies at every level so that the core mission can be funded properly without having to compete for dues dollars.
- We must make it easy to join NAIFA and make it critical to stay. NAIFA needs to streamline and simplify the membership process and make it crystal clear that staying a member of NAIFA is a must.
- NAIFA must continuously assess and address the current trends. NAIFA needs to stay ahead of the ever changing financial services industry and lead members toward their successful future by offering education and research to stretch and grow our knowledge.
- We must Create a personalized member experience. NAIFA must strive to communicate and deliver value in a personal way, utilizing technology and what we already know about our members to meet the professional needs of individuals in a more robust way.
- We must Attract and retain members from a wide variety of sources. "NAIFA needs to seek new members and retain existing ones by continuing to build out multiple channels that include affiliated and independent distribution channels, field leadership, gender and generational sources, and diverse markets."
- We must strengthen industry partnerships. NAIFA works with several industry partners at associations and companies in many ways and will continue to be the driver in strengthening these.
In the area of strengthening partnerships, McNeely announced Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) has officially named NAIFA as their Advocacy and Professional Development Partner. The two organizations signed a formal agreement prior to the Annual Conference.
“We hope to develop more of these partnerships because it benefits the entire industry,” McNeely said.
In her closing, McNeely thanked members, leaders and staff and encouraged all to “take their passion and use it to fuel a drive to renew NAIFA and make NAIFA indispensable to every member for decades to come.”