Division Services to offer new services
Since 1989, the APA Division Services Office (DSO) has offered administrative support to divisions, such as new member processing, handling primary customer service questions, etc. Providing these services has allowed division leaders to focus on programs and member benefits, while ensuring continuity in administration as officers change. Over the years, these services have changed and adapted to the needs of various divisions.
"Even as division leaders change and divisions add new activities, the DSO has tried to be a constant for them through the years," said Sarah Jordan, Director of Division Services, who has been at APA for 23 years. "APA has offered a wide range of free services to all divisions and provided contractual administrative services at extremely low rates to divisions for the past 22 years."
The DSO staff has re-aligned its current staff and will be adding additional staff in the coming months to better fit the changing and growing needs of divisions, including a new Membership/Marketing Manager. Each division will be assigned an account representative within the DSO to assist with all of the division needs and serve as a central point of contact.
"One of our goals has always been to form personal, long-standing relationships with the divisions, and this new structure allows us to continue doing that," said Keith Cooke, Division Services Manager, who has been at APA for 25 years. "And at the same time, this new plan will allow our staff members to connect with division leaders and utilize their strengths to match each division's needs."
In addition, a new line of services will be offered that include officer/committee support, meeting/conference planning, bookkeeping, graphic design, etc. Divisions will have the chance to explore their needs and to discuss with DSO staff how these services can best be utilized to keep the division running smoothly. Some divisions currently have paid staff members that handle these tasks, but by offering specialized a la carte services, all divisions can try out new projects, such as marketing initiatives, conferences/workshops, etc. APA will continue to provide free services to all divisions and the DSO will continue offering current and new contractual services at reasonable rates that divisions can afford.
"We've been testing some of these new services over the last few months, with the focus being on catering to the individual needs of each division," said Communications Manager Chad Rummel, who is currently planning the Division 13 MidWinter Conference. "Our recent Customer Satisfaction Survey showed that divisions have confidence in the strength of the DSO staff and the confidence they receive from several departments within APA,, and this re-alignment and new offering allows us to continue building that confidence while also developing our scope of services."
Implementation of these new offerings will happen in stages, with the first stage already in progress. Divisions who currently have contracts with the DSO have been contacted and are strongly encouraged to return their revised contract for services before the start of the year. This will allow for uninterrupted membership and billing services. In addition, those divisions with contracts will be given the chance to add any new services or discuss changes to their current services at this time. The DSO staff intends to limit billing to as few times per year as possible and to give the division advance information on the cost of services so that the costs can be included into the division's annual budget.
Divisions who do not have a current contract with the DSO will be contacted after January 1 to discuss ways that the DSO can help with the day-to-day administration of the division. Whether it is new member processing, meeting/conference planning, bookkeeping, etc., divisions will have the chance to discuss any additional services and created a catered plan of services. Contracts will be created between the DSO and the division to reflect each individual division's needs.
"I'm confident that the DSO staff is changing in a way that is focused on the divisions' best interests and shows that APA is in full support of the many programs divisions offer," said Nancy Moore, Executive Director of APA Governance Affairs. "The new and existing services will continue to be top-notch, and I encourage every division to at least have a conversation with the DSO staff about how the division can benefit from these changes."
Any questions about the new DSO offerings can be directed to any staff member listed below.
Sarah Jordan, Director Division Services Office (202) 336-6022
Keith Cooke, Manager Division Services Office (202) 216-7602
Chad Rummel, Communications Manager Division Services Office (202) 336-6121