Bucking the trend of many trade bodies, which have seen sharp declines in membership over recent years, the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has won the 2014 Trade Association Forum Best Practice award for Membership Success of the Year.
The award acknowledges the hard work and dedication the BWF puts into developing and supporting its membership. BWF membership had declined in 2010 but stabilised in 2011 following a significant overhaul of the organisation’s communications, website and membership application processes and an investment in improved PR and marketing.
With the arrival of the new chief executive, Iain McIlwee, the BWF refocused on growth at the start of 2012 and set a plan to bring in 100 new members a year. Growth was centred on the principles of ‘excellent service, clear communications and fanatical follow-up’.
Momentum gathered throughout 2012, with the BWF adding 80 new full members (around 25% higher than any previous year), and this achievement more than doubled in 2013, when BWF welcomed 168 new members and also achieved a retention rate of existing members of 91%.
This year has continued the upwards trend, with 57 new full members and 10 associates recruited in the first quarter of 2014.
Iain McIlwee, BWF chief executive, said: “At the BWF, we are passionate about the success of the woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry and recognise that providing a first class trade association is key to our members. The industry has faced several extremely challenging years, but the BWF has been there to support members with practical business advice, technical, legal and marketing services and a strong voice to lobby for the industry’s future. We now have an industry trade body that continues to grow in size and influence, and this will bring rewards to all our members.”
Linda Cavender, manager of the Trade Association Forum said: “BWF’s text book approach led by a relatively new chief executive ticked all the right boxes to win the Membership Success of the Year Award. A successful campaign stemming an initial outflow of members was very well thought out and implemented, and it is always good to see a trade association grow in such a way – a great result for BWF.”
The award was presented to Michael Lee, BWF membership director, and Dave Campbell, marketing and training manager, at St George’s Hall in Liverpool to coincide with the International Festival for Business.