Monday, July 31 – Indiana University’s World Parks Academy (WPA) partnered with World Urban Parks (WUP) to co-host a round table discussion for parks and recreation national association leaders on the topic Association Financial Growth and Sustainability through Income Diversity. This was the first time leaders from park and recreation associations around the world have come together to share financial management strategies and revenue generating tools for organizational sustainability. The following associations were in attendance using IU’s Zoom webinar software:
- Institute of Environment and Recreation Management, South Africa
- Hortis, France
- Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association, Australia
- New Zealand Recreation Association
- MyParks, Malaysia
- National Park and Recreation Association, USA
- Mexico Parks Association
- The Park Alliance, United Kingdom
- Alberta Parks and Recreation Association, Canada
- Association Stadswerk Nederland, Netherlands
Following introductions, Karl Nesbitt from NZRA and Kevin O’Hara from NRPA each gave five minute presentations on their associations strategies and goals for long term sustainability. While NRPA focuses on diversifying funding sources and building relationships with a variety of funding partners, NZRA relies primarily on government and program support for income generation. Some of NZRA’s revenue generating programs include a facility benchmarking tool, a young amenity horticulture program, aquatics certification, and several award programs including the Green Flag award for parks and green spaces internationally. Future goals for NRPA consist of growing online training programs as well as increasing organization of small conferences. Both associations agree that developing metrics for evaluation, data collection and reporting, and utilizing technology is key for long-term sustainability planning.
After presentations the associations continued to discuss strategies for revenue generation and recommended tools for financial management, growth and stability.
Associations described the number of members and primary sources of revenue. Membership fees, ranging from $30-$200, is a common approach among all associations for income generation followed by government support and partnerships, conferences and other events, magazines and publications. Different incentives provided by each association were also shared concluding that most associations offer at least a 50% discounted sign-up membership.
IU’s WPA and WUP plan to continue hosting roundtable discussions for national association members periodically throughout the year as an effective way to build partnerships, generate ideas and solutions, and strengthen the international network of parks professionals.