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The Chartered Institute of
Building Services Engineers

The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has origins dating back to the Victorian Period. In 1976, CIBSE was officially formed, bringing together 2 similar organisations and gaining a royal charter. The institution supports the practice of building services engineers and provides members with access to information and educational services, whilst promoting fellowship in the industry. CIBSE offers a plethora of services to its members, including a global network, educational events, career resources and 9 grades of Membership.

Key Results

Updating event webpages is now non-technical and done with ease

Central place for member engagement metrics

Member engagement scoring used in CIBSE’s GDPR compliance strategy

The Challenge

In 2016, CIBSE required a new solution to manage data for over 20,000 members. The association wanted to migrate from their outdated, legacy systems to a modern CRM platform. Various elements of the teams’ work were completed manually, from sending out certificates  to members sending forms in the post. CIBSE wanted to automate these processes, whilst modernising the member experience. The association looked for a new solution to meet modern expectations and improve user experience. 


CIBSE approached Fonteva with a set of requirements for their new CRM, such as estore functionality for members to purchase resources. Understandably, the technology that was available, even in the last 5 years, has significantly developed- and so have member needs. Over the last couple of years, CIBSE reevaluated their product use and decided that standardisation, rather than complex customisation, was the way forward. CIBSE has worked hard to focus on upgrading the elements that significantly impact their day-to-day workload and are on a continuing journey to modernise their services.

The Solution

Prospective members complete a rigorous joining process to be advocates for the association, being able to retain such valuable members is crucial to CIBSE’s growth. As a result, CIBSE wanted to make their member processes as simple as possible. “People expect things to be online”, says Marc Turley, Head of CRM at CIBSE. Members can now pay for their member renewals and educational resources online, with online member applications being a future plan. CIBSE currently uses the key features of Fonteva that have the biggest impact on their work. With a significant number of members, a key priority for CIBSE was a strong infrastructure to house their data. Member engagement is reported on, covering “20 metrics” such as login activity, membership renewals and event attendance.

Using Member Engagement Scoring to Drive the GDPR Legitimate Interest Strategy

In a unique case, CIBSE also uses engagement scoring to ensure GDPR compliancy. As Marc explains, for membership organisations there is “a lot of discussions around what GDPR really means”. For CIBSE, legitimate interest was initially defined as members having to explicitly opt in to receiving communications. Yet, this did not meet the needs of the membership team when it came to keeping members engaged. “Most of our members expect when they become a member that they get all the stuff without signing up for the emails explicitly”, Marc states. As a result, the team spent lots of time on the back end of the system looking at every mailing list and every metric for each member to see if they would be suitable to requirements to contact them. This required time and energy to keep track of compliance.  


The data analysis process has now been fully automated and completed on a regular basis. Not only does this give staff users peace of mind over meeting GDPR regulations, but members also receive the resources suited to their needs. CIBSE analyses a variety of metrics, including event attendance and logins, to consider whether they are engaged. Based on member engagement scoring, they make the decision on whether they can legitimately contact that member, who is implicitly stating that they would be happy to be contacted. Analysing data has been seen as a solution to the GDPR difficulties, as Marc states, decision making is now based on “looking at facts” rather than being “subjective”.

Streamlined Events and Automated Communication

CIBSE organises over 100 events each year, ranging from training sessions with thousands of attendees to smaller regional meetings. A significant benefit of Fonteva is that event planning can “be put into the hands of the people that are running the event” and they can make the decisions on “how they want their event to look, feel and the branding”. Updating events web pages is now a non-technical and straightforward process, saving significant time. With Fonteva’s event cloning capability, the team can now clone events to organise their yearly calendar. Staff can now avoid creating brand-new events pages unnecessarily when they can be duplicated. 


Event planning has also experienced a boost in efficiency with streamlined processes. Previously, event attendees would have to “print out a piece of paper, fill out all the different sections, and then send it into a member of staff who would type it all up”. Now, event attendees can simply fill out their preferences online with all data being saved back into Salesforce. Workflows have been automated to allow event managers to focus their attention on larger aspects of event planning. Attendees now receive emails before and after the event with the key information they need. Post-event emails include a link to a Fonteva form to gain feedback about the event. All data automatically saves into Salesforce whilst creating visual dashboards of key metrics. The team now gets real-time sales metrics and financial data which makes managing their budget and targets much easier to achieve. 


CIBSE’s training team have also experienced the benefits of automation. Training certificates were previously created on one software, before being manually emailed to each attendee. The team now simply click the ‘attended’ checkbox on the attendee record which triggers a certificate to be created and emailed to attendees. Not only does this remove a time-consuming process, automation reduces the time taken for attendees to receive a follow-up.

The Bottom Line

CIBSE is now in the position to relish in the opportunities provided by their data capturing, automated processes and the removal of legacy systems. The next stages of CIBSE’s journey include continual improvements and upgrades. CIBSE wants to continue “to move into the 21st century” with their analysis, member attraction and retention strategies. They also plan to take advantage of financial reporting to manage their volunteer expenses. The aim is to provide a seamless experience for users to make processes as easy as possible. 


By being able to capture all of the data they need, CIBSE can delve deeper into their analysis to truly enhance the experience- for both their staff and members. As part of ongoing improvements, Marc speaks to the CIBSE team to ask “what are the things you do all the time? what are the repetitive and tedious things we do?”, then they look to automate the process. The Fonteva solution is “really central to what we do” at CIBSE, Marc states and “we’re still on that path and on that journey towards being a much more modern membership organisation”.

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