September 2017: Harvey, Irma, LLC and CMAA

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 09.19.17 Jeff 

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will be remembered for a very long time as they brought havoc and destruction to Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and surrounding areas. There are difficult days ahead for those impacted. It has been heartwarming to see various efforts to support the club community embraced by so many throughout our profession and industry. If you haven’t supported these efforts, I encourage you and your club to consider supporting Clubs Helping Clubs.

CMAA’s Leadership/Legislative Conference (LLC) took place earlier this month and I gave a mid-year report to those in attendance. Much has been happening at CMAA and I want to share some highlights here too. Before I start, I want to thank the more than 30 LLC attendees who skipped the early flight home and participated in the launch of the CMAA/National Club Association organized Capitol Hill visits with various members of the House of Representatives. It was terrific to have our joint CMAA/NCA voices heard in Washington.

So here are some CMAA highlights from my semi-annual CMAA update given at LLC:

  1. Financially, CMAA continues its positive financial story with a net surplus projected for the year ending October 31, 2017. After many years, CMAA can finally say we are no longer up side down as our current assets exceed our current liabilities! The good financial news continues as CMAA paid off the balance of a 2015 short-term, $750,000 loan more than two years early.
  2. CMAA’s Research continues to grow with the release of CMAA’s independent 2017 Finance and Operations Report, with data from more than 400 participating clubs.  Summary data was sent to members and the full report and interactive “club to industry comparison portal” is available via the Club Resource Center.
  3. CMAA’s effort to upgrade Club Management magazine has been successful with larger and more frequent issues. Specifically the page count was doubled to 48 pages and now members receive six issues annually.
  4. CMAA announced it will be assuming the management of the Club Spa & Fitness Association on October 1, 2017. We see lots of synergy created for both organizations by this move and everyone is excited about the possibilities.
  5. CMAA will be asking the membership to approve a name change to Club Management Association of America as part of proxy voting in conjunction with World Conference. See the recent letter from CMAA’s President James to the membership for more information.
  6. The Club Foundation has grown with more donations and more outflow in scholarships and grants in 2017. Thanks to our contributors and if you haven’t yet made a 2017 contribution, visit the online donation portal.
  7. Internally, CMAA’s effort to replace aging association management software is on track to go live in spring 2018.
  8. The next step in reviewing and updating our policies, controls, and governance structures is a legal review of CMAA’s Bylaws. The goal is to ensure CMAA is considering best practice for association oversight and operation. This effort has created several bylaw change recommendations for members to vote on in the coming months. More to follow on all the changes later this fall.
  9. A draft of a CMAA Chapter Affiliation Agreement was shared and discussed at LLC. It will now be distributed to all CMAA Chapter boards for feedback and questions. The anticipated timeline includes approval in March and implementation in late 2018.
  10. Also at LLC, CMAA announced the launch of a two-year Chapter-National Alignment Executive Task Force that will explore ways the entire CMAA organization can better serve members though an interconnected network of National and Chapter entities; LLC attendees worked in groups to provide feedback to the task force for consideration.

I hope this gives you a better picture of how CMAA continues to grow to serve you in the best way possible. I continue to be pleased and excited by the progress CMAA is making on our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

August 2017: It’s CMAA Renewal Time

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Ad - 2017 Dues RenewalAugust starts CMAA’s annual membership renewal billing season. A few weeks ago, you received two communications from Bob James, CCM, CCE, CHE, about renewing your national membership, but I want to share a few additional insights.

Each year in July, the CMAA National Board approves a budget for the upcoming year and there is always discussion about whether to increase national dues. While I am pleased we have not increased membership fees since 2012, some would say that is foolish and we should raise them annually, in the same manner many clubs do. The financial side of me immediately does a trend analysis. If I go back to 2012 and use cost of living or inflation rates, CMAA Professional Member dues should be $907 in 2018. But if I go back about 10 years to 2007 (or pre-recession), inflation would indicate dues should be $850 or exactly where they stand today, which is an average increase of 1.3 percent per year since 2007.

It would be safe to say the demands on club management professionals have increased during the last ten years, and the need for a strong CMAA partnership with you is even greater. The more financial resources CMAA is provided, the more we can do for you. CMAA is answering that need while trying to maintain dues at the current rate.

Over the past few years, we have focused on better expense management and improving operating efficiencies. It has been effective with positive bottom lines. Currently, we are also focused on continuous investment in our organization to ensure we are operating efficiently and effectively serving you in the best possible manner. One big investment we are making is a new Association Management System (AMS) that will enable CMAA National (and we hope our CMAA chapters) to glean more efficiencies in the coming months and years. But there are two areas that I would ask you to consider going beyond your renewal to support CMAA while providing additional value beyond your core membership benefits.

  • Club Resource Center: For an annual cost of $1,195 for your club (use code CRC1710 for 10 percent off as a new subscriber or $1,075) your entire club receives a subscription to: a) staff training resources, b) CMAA’s annual research and club analytics reports with interactive abilities, and c) a library of other club management resources. CMAA currently has more than 5,000 active users in this system many of which are accessing the staff training education, including a five-part, club-specific food and beverage series by RCS Hospitality Group. I would encourage you to consider trying this for a year and seeing for yourself how this streamlines your staff education, while giving you and your management team valuable resources. More information may be found at
  • The Club Foundation: CMAA’s charitable arm, The Club Foundation (CF), has three purposes: a) club-focused educational grants and scholarships, b) club-focused research grants, and 3) charitable outreach and support of the club industry. I encourage you to give to CF as your financial support helps with the overall focus of CMAA in a charitable manner. Your 2018 national renewal notice with the CF dues check-off opportunity is one way to contribute to CF. All Members of the CMAA National Board, CF Board of Governors, and CMAA staff made personal donations to CF earlier this year. We are steadfastly committed to CF’s mission and the officers of both organizations gave an average of more than $1,000 each to support the work of The Club Foundation. A contribution by you is needed to sustain and grow the CF’s role this coming year. Please consider this as a personal request from me to you. More on The Club Foundation may be found at

As I end for this month, I view your CMAA renewal each year as a covenant of commitment by both of us. By paying your dues annually, you acknowledge your commitment to your professional association, CMAA, financially and with your future time; and by accepting your renewal payment, CMAA acknowledges that we will use your financial resources in the best possible manner on your behalf and ensure your time is well spent. 

Please accept my sincere thanks for your 2018 national membership renewal and also know I accept my part of fulfilling this important covenant between us. If you subscribe to the Club Resource Center or give to The Club Foundation, I applaud your commitment and say thank you for your support of these important CMAA initiatives.

 Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

July 2017: CMAA Research and our New Industry Survey

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I am excited to share our plans for the topic of our second industry survey that will be launching in the next few weeks. First, I’d like to share an update on CMAA’s research initiative that is now in its second year of development. Research at CMAA is developed through three core research practices:

  1. Internally led and performed CMAA research initiatives leveraging expertise of our CMAA staff – Sarah Bal and Amilcar Davy.
  2. Internally led, but conducted using an outside research firm according to CMAA’s standards and oversight like the Center for Generational Kinetics and Industry Insights. 
  3. Member reviewed and approved academic or third-party research meeting CMAA’s Research Guidelines.

Research Infographic 300Over the past 18 months, CMAA’s research has included: generational research of club attitudes, club operations research, club economic impact research, CMAA Conference evaluations, club governance as well as research on member’s interest in a club management Master’s degree program.

Once CMAA research is conducted, it is shared in various formats:

  1. Aggregate data from any survey may appear throughout CMAA including: Club Management magazine, specialized white papers, in professional development programs or on the CMAA website.  
  2. Club operational research is issued to survey participants in static form as an annual report and then made available to Club Resource Center (CRC) subscribers. CRC subscribers who completed the survey also have access to online interactive tools for comparing their club’s data to the overall club data collected.
  3. CMAA’s Industry Surveys provide regular and ongoing research on relevant topical and operational research findings to CMAA members, boards and interested publics.
    • Industry surveys are usually widely distributed to the membership and available for download on CMAA’s website.
    • Niche white papers are created off the industry data for CRC subscribers.
    • Webinars are presented to all members.
  4. Through direct member inquiries to CMAA’s Research Department.

In 2016, CMAA produced its first industry survey on generational issues. To view the results and corresponding whitepapers, please visit

This summer, CMAA will begin its second industry survey on Recruiting Hourly Employees. This survey will collect information about the ways clubs recruit hourly employees in an effort to examine common challenge areas and provide both club and other industry best practices. Some objectives for this research project will be:

  • To collect information about the ways clubs are recruiting hourly employees
  • To highlight club best practices when  recruiting hourly employees
  • To highlight common challenge areas of clubs recruiting hourly employees
  • To assist clubs with challenges in the hourly employee recruitment process with best practices from other clubs
  • To present other industry best practices for recruiting hourly employees that are applicable to the club industry (potentially in a separate white paper)

Take Survey

I hope you have a better understanding of CMAA’s research initiative as an important member benefit that continues to grow in value. Please take the time to participate in this upcoming survey. I believe the research findings will be valuable to every member, so your participation will make the research findings even more meaningful.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

June 2017: The CCM: A Global Brand

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 06.13.17 Jeff in China

Since joining CMAA just under three years ago, I have been part of club management events in several countries. Our core focus areas of CMAA – professional development, peer-to-peer interaction, and information sharing – are each a global focus for club management professionals. The value of CMAA around the world, specifically the value of holding the Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation, is a strong anchor worldwide.

Last year, I attended and spoke at the Canadian Society of Club Managers (CSCM) conference. While many club managers attend CMAA events, CSCM also has a solid offering in Canada. Canadian club managers have a similar focus to their American counterparts. They value the CCM designation and have the most CCMs outside of US managers. We recently worked with CSCM to modify the exam to strengthen the CCM’s value by adding questions that are specific to Canadians in the areas of external and governmental influences, accounting and finance, and human and professional resources.   

Last year we also held a BMI International in London. I was able to better understand club management while there and learn from our European club management professionals. The Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) is a strong CMAA partner. They have invested deeply in the CCM and just recently hosted their 50th BMI program. It was great to compare and contrast clubs and club management in and around London. As you might expect, managers in both Canada and throughout Europe have similar challenges to managers in the US. This might help you to understand why holding the CCM is a great way for managers inside and outside the US to show their professional skills and dedication to the club management profession.

I visited mainland China and Hong Kong in May for a mix of vacation and CMAA business travel. It was incredibly rewarding to be the keynote speaker to a group of 200-plus club management professionals in China as well as terrific to lecture in a BMI General Manager/Chief Operating Officer class alongside Richard Bruner and Dr. Jack Ninemeier. I am so impressed with the focus and dedication of club management professionals in China. China has some unique challenges as clubs and golf continue to develop, but the managers with the CCM designation are at the top of their profession there. It looks like we should have a good contingent of Chinese attending our World Conference in San Francisco to celebrate a brand new class of Chinese CCMs! While in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to attend part of their conference as well.

It was great to see several city clubs as part of the conference club tour and talk to many managers. It’s clear that managers there share the same purpose for belonging to their local association as CMAA members do in the US.

While I haven’t yet been a part of club management visits to countries like South Africa, Southeast Asia, Colombia and New Zealand, the CCM programs in these areas, along with regular BMI programs, are prospering. So as I end this month, I want you to know that I have personally observed that the CCM is a global brand and CMAA is recognized around the world.  This doesn’t happen without global partners focused on professional development involved in producing BMI programs and helping their members obtain and retain the CCM. We appreciate all of these groups and we are also honored to have so many non-US managers attend CMAA’s annual signature club management event – that’s why it is the World Conference!

Until next month,



May 2017: World Conference: An Effort of Many CMAA Member Volunteers

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 05.12.17 Conf Comm

Late last month we kicked off the official planning for CMAA’s 2018 World Conference on Club Management and Club Business Expo with a Conference Committee meeting on location in San Francisco, CA. That meeting had multiple purposes including:

  1. A staff site visit of the Moscone West (convention center) and host hotels;
  2. A review of the 2017 World Conference survey results;
  3. A review of the 2018 World Conference schedule draft;
  4. A site visit of potential locations for the Networking Event; and
  5. A discussion of potential general session speakers.

 It was a very successful meeting, but this is just the beginning of many efforts by members and the staff team to create a world-class event for CMAA members. Member involvement now turns to the work of the Conference Education Committee. Last year this group reviewed 325 speaker submissions for approximately 70 session slots.  While everyone is welcome to submit (during April to mid-May) for consideration to speak, those chosen are truly the best and most relevant, as rated by member peers. 

The process of selecting speakers and sessions is a mix of art and science. In addition to covering the ten core club competencies, CMAA members want the education experience tailored to their needs.  Half the membership wants to learn from their peers through sessions with club professionals; the other half wants to listen to speakers from outside the industry. Many attendees want to attend sessions led by tried and true repeat speakers, while the other half prefers new speakers. The challenge of speaker mix is magnified with session times. About a third of our attendees want 60-minute sessions, another third wants 90-minute sessions and the final group likes a mix. As you can imagine, all these combinations and permutations can create a logistical challenge. 

After the Conference Education Committee completes its annual review of the speaker submissions, they work with the CMAA team throughout the summer to assist in filling sessions so we get a good mix of topic areas, session times and types of speakers. David McCabe, CMAA’s Senior Director of Education, oversees this selection process and manages the schedule to ensure members are given options that best meet their educational preferences. 

Member involvement continues as we approach the World Conference and on site as well in areas like the CMAA national election process, the International Wine Society auctions and events, Club Executive of the Year selection and award celebration, and judging for Idea Fair, Chapter of the Year and the Student Club of the Future award programs.

As you can see, there is a great deal of member involvement that goes into the creation of a World Conference and how we do our best to tailor educational and networking offerings to meet your desires. We listen hard to your comments and I am glad you share them with us. I am also appreciative of the assistance of all the CMAA volunteers who give their time and talent to making it a great event for their peers.

Finally, if you’ve read this far along in my blog, I feel you deserve a bit of the insider scoop regarding the 2018 networking event... We’re hitting the town for a spectacular Monday night event at one of San Francisco’s most storied clubs. There are many more developments about next year’s World Conference to share, but hopefully this is just enough of a teaser to get you a little bit more excited about next year’s event!

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

April 2017: Mutually Beneficial Volunteerism, Or Keeping Our Volunteers Happy

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 04.18.17 Jeff and Friends

A few weeks ago I received a new research study done by my professional association – the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). ASAE’s latest research is titled “Mutually Beneficial Volunteerism.” Like associations, clubs share the importance of volunteers in our organizational success, so I thought the research results might help you to spend a few moments to think about your club’s volunteer experience.

The research focuses on what factors most ensure that a volunteer makes a contribution to the organization, while at the same time, the volunteer receives personal satisfaction for volunteering. It makes sense and if this healthy, mutually beneficial system exists, your organization is likely to be more successful. What is interesting is that the healthiest volunteer environments also include:

  • A collaborative system where staff and volunteers trust and value each other;
  • A system where volunteers are well-matched with the skills for the roles they are asked to fulfill;
  • The volunteer experiences both personal and organizational satisfaction; and
  • An environment is created where the volunteer can see measurable results.

Don’t you think the above “healthy” factors would be essential in clubs too? Do you and your Board work to actively manage the volunteer experience? A big focus of the research and also a huge challenge was evaluation or appraisal of the actual performance of volunteers. Almost half of associations surveyed indicated they do not have a process to evaluate volunteer satisfaction; conversely, more than a third of volunteers said they wanted more feedback and more clear expectations. I must admit I struggle with volunteer evaluations as well as getting feedback from those who serve the Association. CMAA can do better and we will spend some time working toward how to provide a more effective volunteer feedback system in the future.

Some other take-a-ways for a healthy volunteer process include:

  • Having a Board liaison on committees;
  • Having strong cross-departmental coordination and cooperation among staff committee liaisons;
  • Having an organization-wide system to periodically invite all members to consider volunteering;
  • Having a system that ties committee work to organizational priorities or a strategic plan;
  • Ensuring there is effective communication to volunteers;
  • Having a fair process for volunteer selection and/or nomination that is based on merit and selection of the best volunteers, free from bias;
  • Having an orientation for volunteers with clear volunteer expectations; and
  • Ensuring that the schedule and time requirements for volunteers are considered reasonable.

Those who serve as volunteers also provided input in the areas that impacted their experience or noted areas for improvement:

  • Having confidence in staff liaisons;
  • Feeling valued and respected;
  • Helping volunteers feel like they’re giving back to the organization with a good sense of how the committee activities fit into the big picture;
  • Being more open and inclusive to newer and younger members serving as volunteers;
  • Confirming the Board liaison is interested and has passion for the committee’s work; and
  • Facilitating better information flow pre- and post-committee meetings, as well as during meetings.

I hope this blog topic gives you some ideas and thoughts to reflect on regarding your club’s volunteer practices. Many, including me, would say that healthy club governance creates better club environments for members and staff. Healthy club committees and volunteer experiences are certainly part of this equation.

As I end this month, I have one request: CMAA’s revamped Club Management magazine was unveiled this month. I hope you like the upgrades and additions! We want to share CMAA member, club and chapter news (promotions, interesting club projects and/or cool chapter outings) in every issue. Please send your news to

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

March 2017: What’s In a Name?

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03.21.17 Understanding

In last month’s blog, I wrote about CMAA being 90 years young as we focus on the future of club management ensuring members are served with energy, enthusiasm and foresight. Did you know that the original name of the Association in 1927 was the National Association of Club Managers? It didn’t take long for that name to change to the Club Managers Association of America or more fondly CMAA. Our name has been with us ever since, but is it the right name for 2020 and beyond?  

When I came on board two and half years ago, there were several things at CMAA that made me wonder, “Why is it that way at CMAA?” As any new CEO would, I asked questions and then quickly learned why. Some things were logical and made sense; other things seemed ripe for change as the reasons no longer appeared to be relevant for how CMAA had evolved over the years.

As you can imagine, some of those things were within the staff’s control and were changed as part of CMAA’s evolution, just as you would do as a new manager at a club. Other items were discussed and included as part of our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. For me, one of the items that seems outdated is our Association’s name. Hear me out, please, before you call for my dismissal! I believe our name should be the Club Management Association of America and here is why:

  1. The new name, replacing “manager” with “management” better represents our membership as a cross-section of positions focusing on serving our clubs through excellence in club management.
  2. The focus of CMAA is the overall management of clubs and helping our club management professionals. Changing the name positions CMAA to have stronger value to clubs and their boards versus solely the needs of the manager who may be seen as a transient position at the club.
  3. While club manager is a generic industry term, we want our club managers to be seen as professionals and executives with our club boards with progressive titles and responsibilities of CEO, COO and General Manager. Changing our Association’s name acknowledges this progress.

So, in my opinion, CMAA – as the acronym – remains! However, the small nuance of changing our Association’s name could have a significant impact as your organization moves forward to serve you in the best manner possible. This matter will be discussed by CMAA’s Strategic Planning Committee and then by the National Board before it would be voted on by the membership. If you have a thought on the matter, please e-mail so I can share your comments with the Committee when they meet in May.

Before I end this month, I want to ask you if you have begun to enter your financial and operations data into CMAA’s annual survey process through Industry Insights. Last month I shared that going forward, CMAA will be funding the collection of industry analytical data using an organization called Industry Insights. This organization has been in existence for 35-plus years and works with more than 200 associations on benchmarking.

Industry Insights will be collecting data on CMAA’s behalf and will keep it secure, providing CMAA with summary analytical data to provide to CMAA members. Participating clubs will receive a complimentary copy of the report including a static Club Performance Report, which is an individually customized report of a participant’s own financial and operational statistics shown alongside appropriate industry comparatives.  Industry Insights will never contact you directly to sell you additional services or share your information to any service provider in the industry. I want CMAA to have the most robust club analytical database possible and if you add your financial and operational data, we are one step closer.

At CMAA, further Industry Insights efforts will be accessible to you via our Club Resource Center (CRC) subscription area that gives you a plethora of club resources, including online staff training, white papers, operational resources, etc. Participating CRC subscribers will also receive an interactive, online portal to compare your club’s results with others.  

Members own CMAA and members should own their industry’s data too. This 2017 CMAA initiative will make that a reality!

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan