An Organization Without Data is Doomed to Follow, Never Lead
This past week, I launched two important surveys on behalf of America's Blood Centers to our members. Despite having retired from ABC in April, I agreed to conduct them again, because I have done them for several years and have learned from our members the importance of the final reports. The data from these two reports - the Executive Compensation Survey and the Financial Ratio Survey - have generated more discussion and are more useful to ABC members than most of the other surveys that I have facilitated. The Executive Compensation Survey collects compensation data on CEOs, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, and medical directors. My experience shows that members not only use these data to demonstrate that their compensation levels are appropriate for the programs they help lead, but have also used these data to support an increase in compensation when it is warranted. The data also satisfies the Internal Revenue Service's requirement to provide "comparability data" regarding the compensation of CEOs, executive directors, and top management.
The other survey that we recently conducted is the Financial Ratio Survey. I have been involved with this survey since its inception back in the 1980s. For me, and based on dialogue with members, this is one of the most useful surveys conducted. Many of our member financial officers, including myself when I worked at the blood center in Kansas City, use these data to compare and trend our operations, seeking opportunities for improvements. This information can be a valuable tool for benchmarking purposes and in communicating with the board of directors and local constituencies about the organization's financial profiles. Many of our members' boards now require annual reports comparing their blood center's financial status to others and identifying trends utilizing this data. This tool also plays a vital role within ABC's advocacy initiatives. Just this year, ABC used these data to apply for grant money from federal agencies to help fund a study on the "value of blood" in support of efforts to create a sustainable reimbursement model for blood centers. ABC is a leader in our industry, and data is critical to maintaining that leadership. As my column's title suggests, "an organization without data is doomed to follow and never to lead." Help your association continue to be a leader.
Finally, a side-note for those of you who our contemplating retirement in the near future, I can say without a doubt, it is great, although, I find it difficult at times to remember the day of the week.
William Coenen, Former Chief Finanacial Officer & ABC Past President; firstname.lastname@example.org