Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.
– Chinese proverb
Volume 75 | Issue 5
September 2007

ACUI Procure News

ACUI Procure, the premier group buying program for college unions and student activities, has met its goal of repaying the program’s start-up costs more than five years ahead of schedule.

ACUI Procure was started in 2000, and since 2003, net revenue from the Corporate Partnerships cost center has been used to repay the group buying program’s $378,000 associated start-up costs. From 2003–06, the Corporate Partnerships cost center has generated net revenue close to $625,000 from ACUI Procure, associate membership, advertising, and ACUI Expo sales, enabling the Association cut the projected repayment schedule in half. On July 24, the ACUI Board of Trustees voted unanimously that the remaining $121,400 of ACUI Procure start-up costs be covered by the more than $164,000 net in 2006 from the Corporate Partnerships cost center.

"ACUI Procure is a great case study in risk management," said ACUI President-Elect Rich Steele, who chairs the Board of Trustees Finance Committee. "The Association took a calculated financial risk, tracked it appropriately over the years, and now we can fully evaluate our return on investment. ACUI Procure is a tremendous service to members and an asset for the Association’s bottom line."

Participation in ACUI Procure has grown over the years from 65 sales transactions with an average sale of $1,821 in 2000 to 479 sales transactions with an average sale of $4,010 in 2006. Therefore, in just six years, sales transactions have increased by 736 percent and the average sale is 220 percent greater. This has created a win-win-win relationship for members, vendors, and the Association.

"When ACUI Procure started, I kept looking for the catch—prices below sticker, the RFPs/shopping is done for me, and even if our fraternity houses or residence halls buy furniture, I get to keep the rebate.  I can even beat the prices that our purchasing department can get!" said Tom Hauber, director, VPUL Facilities at the University of Pennsylvania. "Over time I also realized how much the vendors were participating in other ways as a result of ACUI Procure—we have more sponsors, advertisers, and associate members now than ever before. I’m no longer skeptical, and now my staff just calls Martha and Ty any time someone on my campus needs to purchase something."

Even members who have not made purchases through ACUI Procure have been able to indirectly reap the benefits of the group buying program.

"When ACUI Procure was first launched we expected that, in time, it would become a valuable, comprehensive member benefit," said ACUI Executive Director Marsha Herman-Betzen. "What we could not have foreseen is the way in which it has helped the Association develop our corporate partnerships area, partially offsetting the direct costs of several programs and services. And in addition to financial resources, ACUI Procure has greatly broadened our knowledge base for members. We cannot wait to see the buying program continue to grow in the years to come."

Just this year, the Association added staff member Ty Franke to assist with the high volume of sales, and additional plans include an online catalog of bestselling items to allow members to browse products at their convenience. Each month, ACUI Procure continues to serve more customers at member campuses and offer a wider variety of goods and services. While ACUI Procure started out offering bowling equipment, lightweight tables, office supplies, and light bulbs, its product line now includes a wide range of furnishings for new buildings and routine improvement projects as well as items from imprinted promotional products to digital signage.

"My professional career has been in more the programming side of college unions than the operations side," explained ACUI President Lincoln Johnson. "ACUI Procure fills a niche because it has been able to serve both sides. The group buying program has everything from software and promotional giveaways to furniture and kitchen equipment. It is truly uniquely positioned for the entire college union profession and has proven over the years how well it can serve our members."

For a Quick Quote or more information about ACUI Procure, please e-mail Martha J. Blood or Ty Franke at save@acui.org or call 812.245.8070.