Association Management Case Study

The Opportunity


There was no Fantasy Sports Trade Association before Megan Van Petten came along — they were a handful of 30 loosely connected companies who didn’t realize they were on the verge of a major upswing.

Van Petten Group saw this diamond in the rough and facilitated the explosive growth of the fantasy sports industry, including the merger and acquisition of FSTA’s biggest competitor.

Today, the FSTA is the voice for the companies that provide services, news, information, and competition to support the fantasy sports industry. Founded in 1998, it’s the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of fantasy sports companies.

The Action


Van Petten Group provided leadership and management services for FSTA, forming a strategic partnership propelling them into sustainable success. Van Petten Group created the interaction between the hundreds of existing and emerging companies within the passion sports industry.

  • Set industry standards
  • Streamlined and managed day-to-day operations
  • Grew the entire association by 400%

VPG has helped build the fantasy sports industry into what it is today – one of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the country, with currently 57.4 million fantasy players – almost a 50% increase from 2010.

During each phase of growth, VPG:

  • Focused on optimizing efficiency: updated website and implemented programing to automate updates and statistics ensuring FSTA was the hottest source for league information; removed tedious manual processes by integrating financial management tools; eliminated data silos, redundancy and duplication by centralizing membership information; spearheaded engagement campaigns and lead generation with data-driven membership analytics
  • Streamlined expenditures and increased revenue: by negotiating cost-effective vendor contracts; created new sponsorship opportunities for member companies; used updated centralized member data to optimize benefit offerings and develop new programs and revenue streams.
  • Propelled the organization toward long term sustainability: implemented a strategic growth strategy securing FSTA as the face of their industry, increasing their market reach by 400%, and successfully overseeing the merger and acquisition of their largest competitor.
  • Focused on international expansion: One of the goals of FSTA was to expand their presence internationally. By leveraging guerrilla marketing, social media and thought leadership (webinars and seminars) FSTA was able to effectively brand itself on a global scale. Additionally, within the first year of VPG being a part of the association, we merged FSTA with a competitor association. Acquisition is an incredible strategy for growth, especially when you want to grow into other markets. Due to these efforts, we now have membership in Canada, Italy, India, UK, and Germany, among others.
The Result

Providing Valuable Membership Programs & Benefits

“It has been my pleasure to work with Megan since she became the executive director of our trade association. She is our 2nd director, and under her guidance, she has turned our association into one of the most respected in the industry. From growing our membership from under 100 to over 300, to producing annual revenue from $200,000 to over $1,000,000 annually, she has been an incredible leader.”Charlie Wiegert, FSTA Member & Former Board Member, Godfather of Fantasy Sports

Van Petten Group grew the Fantasy Sports Trade Association into an exclusive membership focused industry with 200 member companies and a market share reaching 57.4 million fantasy sports players across North America. They did so while:

  • Strengthening membership engagement
  • Building valuable programs supporting membership and providing new revenue streams
  • Streamlining membership, conference planning, and financial operations
  • Creating a strong advocacy for the fantasy sports industry

Recently named one of the Top 5 Most Influential Women in Fantasy Sports, covered in the Huffington Post: “Megan Van Petten runs the union for the fantasy sports industry. An $11 billion dollar industry with over 57 million players between the US and Canada, Van Petten is responsible for the interaction between companies and players as well as growing the fantasy sports industry.” This article was later followed up with a more in-depth article about Van Petten serving the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Buyer’s Guide Case Study

The Opportunity

In efforts to increase FSTA’s membership recruitment and retention rates, VPG developed a digital buyer’s guide program to FSTA’s list of membership benefits. A buyer’s guide serves as an industry directory for every business and individual that serves the industry with relevant products and services. Introducing a buyer’s guide to an organization’s list of services provides several benefits, including:
1) Enhances brand recognition as an industry leader
2) Increases membership participation and involvement
3) Generates additional advertising opportunities
4) Expands membership value
5) Increases networking opportunities between members and industry professionals

The buyer’s guide serves as a dual benefit to both the association and the external vendors who participate in the guide.

The Action

VPG developed, designed, and launch a buyer’s guide mini-site, which included setting up a profile listing and login for each company member. A free profile listing was provided as a value-add to members, with the option to enhance or upgrade their listing and/or advertise in the guide for a fee. Non-member industry professionals and businesses were able to set up a profile listing for a fee. This gave every business in the industry an opportunity to showcase their product or services to prospective customers and clients while promoting the association and its benefits.

“Here at Yahoo, we use the FSTA Buyer’s Guide to source partnerships and vendors
all the time. It’s the best place for people in the industry to find what they’re looking for,
or for you to get your brand out there.”
-Guy Lake, Director of Product, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports

The Result

The FSTA Buyer’s Guide was first implemented in July 2015 and currently includes over 500 business profiles that serve the fantasy sports industry and is linked directly to FSTA’s main website. Within the first four months of implementing the buyer’s guide, VPG secured over $10,000 in revenue for FSTA, with a current total revenue of $42,750. Averaging 668 views per month among the top ten viewed listings, each business who purchased an enhanced listing in the guide was able to increase their brand recognition within the industry. The guide has become a favorite among the list of membership benefits. Adding a buyer’s guide to an association’s offering is a great way to quickly increase revenue through enhanced listings, advertising sales, and ultimately membership recruitment and retention.

Sponsorship Growth Case Study

The Opportunity

Our client partner was faced with an industry in crisis and its highest-level sponsors were struggling to justify the size of their investment in a conference that only gave them exposure once every two years.

The Action

To provide manufacturer sponsors with increased benefits between conferences, Van Petten Group developed a comprehensive package to extend additional benefits to each manufacturer’s regional distributors, increasing visibility for their entire brand and elevating their industry position, all while expanding its conference sponsorship program.

The Result

This change was broadly promoted as well as personally communicated to current sponsors. As a result, sponsorship contributions increased by 150% that year and continued to increase for the next four years.

Conference Management Case Study

The Opportunity

FSTA had committed to two conferences per year as the conferences served as the association’s largest source of revenue and as the main attraction for its members.

The Action

For each conference, VPG would take the time to creatively think and strategically plan with the overall goal of inspiring and engaging attendees throughout the conference while raising the bar each subsequent conference. With strategic direction from the Board’s conference committee, down to the nitty-gritty details, VPG had managed all conference logistics including planning, promotion, execution, and follow-up. In example, VPG coordinated the highly-sought yearly industry research to be presented at the summer conferences and the awards program to be presented at the winter conferences. In addition, VPG created valuable sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that were a win-win for both the members and the association.

The Result

As a result, the conferences were well-attended and highly anticipated by the membership for each conference and remained as the largest source of sustainable revenue. VPG had built an effective and efficient conference model over the years for planning and running each conference.

Grant Writing Case Study

The Opportunity

Our client partner wanted to expand their operations for their non-profit free dental clinic. At the time of our first meeting, they had one dental operatory and were seeing an average of 30 patients per month. The clinic hoped to have additional dental operatories to treat more patients and were seeking $50,000 for equipment and dental furnishings.

The Action

Van Petten Group wrote a grant proposal for $85,000 and was awarded $84,000, which exceeded their expectations.

The Result

These funds helped them fund new furnishings and equipment and pay for a part-time dental hygienist. As a result of their expansion to three dental operatories, they are now treating an average of 100 patients per month.

Membership Growth Case Study

The Opportunity

The association’s membership numbers had been constant over the prior years, however, the client’s leadership was seeking greater visibility, impact, and ultimately, revenue.

The Action

Since partnering with the client in early 2008, Van Petten Group worked closely with the association’s membership committee to shift their focus from recruitment to retention; and with the programming committee to align their program delivery with what their members needed and wanted that was revealed in a membership survey.

The Result

Between March 2008 and March 2009 membership had a net increase of nearly 20%, the first time the organization had seen sustainable membership growth in nearly 10 years. Van Petten Group also introduced systems and association best practices for the organization resulting in better structure, overall efficiency, and less stressed volunteers and staff.

Follow-Up on
Declined Credit Card Donations
EMDR Research Foundation

The Situation

Founded in 2006, the EMDR Research Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of quality, unbiased research in EMDR. EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.

The EMDR Foundation receives funding from a variety of sources, with recurring donations being the largest source of revenue. During 2017, the Foundation had 194 donations that were declined due to expired/incorrect credit card information, resulting in an average of 14 missed donations per month.

The Action

When Van Petten Group (VPG) began working with the Foundation, one of the first priorities was to resolve these credit card payment issues. The VPG staff began by researching each declined donation, pulling contact information and past interactions between the Foundation and the donors. Based on the information obtained through our research, we developed a customized plan-of-action for each donor. Over a two-month period, we conducted individual outreach—phone calls and emails—to each donor.

The Result

As a result of our work, 36% of the recurring donations were restored within two months. A few donors even increased their donations and some went back to cover the previous monthly donations that were declined. The action VPG took not only increased the Foundation’s current and future revenue, but allowed the staff the opportunity to connect with donors. Many donors had never received personal outreach from the Foundation and our work increased the Foundation’s engagement with many of its donors, ultimately increasing their number of recurring donations.

donations missed per month
Donations Declined

Revenue Recovered
After Two Months


Association Management | Branding | Web Design & Development | Conference Management Awards | Certification/Accreditation/Continuing Education | Financials


The Opportunity

The Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society (IRES) needed an industry-standard platform that not only kept track of information of its membership in a user-friendly manner, but also had the ability to easily track membership and event registration transactions, create custom reports based on various parameters, create invoices, develop and manage events, integrate a calendar, and tie all of this in with a WordPress website.

The Action

Since partnering with the client in February 2018, Van Petten Group (VPG) worked closely with the Society’s executive leadership to launch the transition of a custom-built database and website built by the previous management company to an industry-standard database, YourMembership, that could stay with the association no matter who manages the organization. YourMembership was an ideal choice for IRES as an all-in-one association member management system suitable for small to mid-sized organizations.

The Result

Transitioning to Your Membership platform has streamlined numerous operations for IRES and facilitated the work performed by VPG, reducing the number of staff members needed to manage the account.

Membership Management: Members are provided with an easy path to sign up and request to join IRES membership, to renew their membership, and to manage their own membership information via an online portal. YourMembership also allows for an easy configuration of multi-tiered membership models, including individual and organizational memberships. Streamlining the membership renewal process resulted in a 30% increase in revenue from 2017 to 2018.

Governance Management: IRES has nine board committees, seven of which meet on a monthly basis, and the Board of Directors meets quarterly. YourMembership has provided a great platform for creating and fostering member involvement in the IRES committee work. This initiative is being test piloted by the Accreditation & Ethics Committee. They are testing a number of functions including Groups, which offers a space for committees and different groups within the organization to upload and view documents such as agenda and minutes, have a forum discussion, and note group calendar events.

Event Management: With YourMembership, VPG can now easily create, host, and manage IRES’ events, including Market Conduct Management (MCM) Courses, which take place 5-6 times a year, and its annual Career Development Seminar. YourMembership allows VPG to create a personalized registration path for attendees, provide members-only pricing, and coupon codes.

Dashboard and Advanced Reporting: VPG can now quickly create dashboards and generate reports for the client such as updates on membership renewal rates, lapsed members, and new members with customizable start and end periods, event reports for all types of registration types, and attendance at events.

Accounting: VPG can accept payments securely with integrated payment processing that meets the highest standard for security; simplify processes by integrating our membership data directly with our accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online; and easily create and adjust invoices as needed.