When tackling a complex problem, it’s critical to embrace simplicity to benefit staff and members alike. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) strategy to accomplish this.
This technology is enabling us to help counselors, social workers…the kindest, most compassionate people. It’s incredibly gratifying to make their lives easier.
The work being done by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, is critically important — and incredibly complex.
“We accomplish a lot while navigating complicated systems,” says Jessica Gleason, Deputy Director of NAADAC. “We represent the professional interests of more than 100,000 addiction counselors, educators, and other addiction-focused healthcare professionals in the United States and abroad. We provide continuing education, training, national licensing, testing, a code of ethics, and professional development.
In addition, we work with affiliates across most states and in other countries.” Adding to the complexity of operations for NAADAC is the fact that the association itself has five different levels of national membership and more than 50 different chapter memberships.
To successfully manage the many moving pieces of this operation, most would assume that an elaborate, customized association management system (AMS) would be needed. NAADAC initially went this route, but had to abandon the AMS implementation when the platform proved to be overly complicated and non-intuitive for staff and members to carry out even simple operations.
“It was too complex and too big for us,” says Gleason. “We’re an organization of 20 people, and we don’t have a dedicated technology team that you’d need to manage something of that size. It actually created more work for us, and anytime there are more clicks and steps for staff or members, the larger the margin of potential error.”
NAADAC enlisted consultants to help them find an AMS that would meet their needs — and landed on Impexium, which impressed the team with its simplicity of operation, and its robust and flexible certification capabilities.
“In our previous system, there was no way to connect the webinars that members attended to our system,” explains Gleason. “We had a staff member who spent probably 20 hours per week looking up whether someone paid for a continuing education credit, and then manually putting together the certificates and mailing them out. We’d tell people they’d get their certificate within 21 days because sometimes you’d have a thousand people in a webinar.”
This was a massive pain point for the members, who cite free access to 145 continuing education credit hours as a major reason for joining the NAADAC. Delays in receiving certificates could mean delays in being able to practice.
That problem, thankfully, is long gone. “People are now able to watch our webinars and take the quiz within Impexium and immediately have access to their CE certificate that they can download as a PDF,” explains Gleason. ‘It has reduced a tremendous amount of stress for the members dealing with expiring certifications and added much-needed resources back to the association. And no longer needing to spend 20-30 hours a week on credentialing — it’s almost like we hired an entirely new staff member. Instead of spending time on the certificates, we can now put all of that time and energy into other important member-facing tasks.”
Finding a solution like Impexium, Gleason says, is incredibly satisfying as it allows NAADAC to better serve their 10,000+ members who are dedicated to helping people in need. “These are counselors, social workers, and other helping professionals. They are the kindest, most compassionate, wonderful people. And, they’re accomplishing such hard things. So it’s incredibly gratifying to make their lives easier.”
Change may be the only constant in business — but that doesn’t make organizational transformation any easier. Association leaders are balancing competing priorities and increasing demands, enough to make even the most driven executive fall victim to the inertia of the status-quo.
But not every association stays still while the world seems to change around them. For her willingness to upset the association technology status-quo, Impexium is proud to recognize Jessica Gleason as one of 2020’s Association Technology Disruptors!