FPA President Evelyn Zohlen FPA President Evelyn Zohlen.

The Financial Planning Association has announced the 11 chapters that will participate in the beta testing of its OneFPA Network, the new organizational structure designed to deliver a consistent experience for all association members, empower volunteer leaders and elevate the financial planning profession.

Two of the 11 chapters are in North Carolina — the Charlotte and FPA of the Triangle, which covers Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The others are Colorado, Illinois, Greater Kansas City, Northern New England, Metro New York, New Jersey, Orange County (California), Philadelphia Tri-State Area and Middle Tennessee. The FPA has 86 chapters and more than 22,000 members, down from more than 23,000 in 2017.

Sixteen chapters submitted applications to participate in the beta testing of its new network, which was originally targeting 10 chapters. The number was expanded to 11 following a review of the applications by the OneFPA Network Task Force “because the enthusiasm and fit was so strong among the 11 chapters,” FPA said in a statement.

The testing will begin in January 2020 and continue for two years with the goal of assessing core elements of the network, including centralized technology, staffing and accounting and financial reporting. Other programs that could be assessed include enhanced coordination for marketing, advocacy, media and public relations, member recruitment and retention and education.

The task force will oversee the beta testing and review results continuously throughout the process. If certain elements prove to be successful they could be rolled out to more chapters before testing is completed, says Evelyn Zohlen, the current FPA president.

The task force will insure that the process “appropriately” tests “all elements of the OneFPA Network in line with key performance indicators (KPIs) outlined in the OneFPA Network Plan,” according to the FPA statement.

FPA members can keep up with the beta tests, including KPI reporting, and the chapter leaders and executives participating in the process via the OneFPA Beta Blog, which recently debuted. It will be updated every other week and as new information and insights become available.

Beta testing is the latest step in the FPA’s plan to centralize certain processes for its members and secure the association’s future. The process began in late 2018 with an initial proposal to consolidate the FPA’s independent chapters into a single national entity. That plan was abandoned in April following opposition from many chapters, which led to the current proposal that looks to centralize certain processes for the benefit of individual chapters, their members and the roughly 2,000 FPA volunteers.

In other news that could benefit FPA members, the association announced a collaboration with the American Heart Association to develop an educational curriculum for financial planners advising clients on philanthropic giving and a referral program that connects philanthropic donors with FPA members.

“This relationship with the American Heart Association will enable FPA to enhance our members’ technical expertise and confidence in helping their clients achieve both their financial and their philanthropic goals,” says 2019 FPA President Evelyn M. Zohlen, in a statement.

The FPA is targeting the end of the second quarter of 2020 for a soft launch of the partnership, followed by full implementation later next year.

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