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Faulty Assumptions & Flaky Decisions

We’ve heard it a million times, “Assume = Make an Ass of You & Me”, yet far too often we let faulty assumptions drive our decisions. The result invariably means less-than-optimal resource allocation, lower income, higher costs and dissatisfied members.

Evidence Based Decision MakingIn a newly released white paper, Getting to the “Good Stuff”: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Associations (, Elizabeth Engel, Spark Consulting and Peter Houstle, Mariner Management, offer several examples of associations which put some of their assumptions to the test, found them lacking and adjusted their operations accordingly.

  • ASAE discovered that their publications catalogue did not, as they had assumed, lead to “long tail” sales of older publications. What did impact sales was developing a profile of the “habitual book buyer” and marketing publications, new and existing, specifically to people who fit that profile. That insight allowed ASAE to print a smaller catalogue and send it to a more targeted list, reducing costs by 25% without negatively impacting sales.
  • The Entomological Society of America (ESA) learned that aggressively recruiting students didn’t have much of an impact on long term membership growth as previously assumed. As a result, ESA has retooled their membership efforts to focus more on retention across all categories, but particularly of their regular professional members, who bring in more revenue, are more likely to renew, and are more likely to be thought leaders in the profession.

These are just a couple examples found in the paper which also looks at the importance of key elements in the decision-making process including effective data collection & analysis, the critical role of intuition and what it means to ask the right questions in the first place. Bottom line, evidence-based decision-making leaves no room for faulty assumptions.

Get your copy of Getting to the “Good Stuff”: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Associations.


Oh, yeah…

Don’t forget to check out the other FREE Spark whitepapers, too:



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