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SSO Celebrates 40 Years

State Services Organization Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Forty years ago tomorrow, the founders of State Services Organization (SSO) had a dream of creating a nonprofit specifically to lessen the burdens of other organizations.  Tomorrow, SSO will celebrate the milestone anniversary of providing nonprofits, associations, educational organizations, and states with essential resources they need to fulfill their missions.

While SSO initially focused on providing a one-stop shop of office space and administrative services to organizations located in Washington, DC, the organization’s reach has grown exponentially since its 1976 beginnings. Over the last four decades, SSO has broadened its scope to cover all aspects of services an association would need to function – from hybrid packages of office space, technology services, conference services, and general office support to all-inclusive, full-service association management packages.

In response to SSO’s broadened scope of services, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) recently stated, “SSO’s management has infused our organization with an infectious enthusiasm. Our Board and membership have been revived and re-energized! Great ideas abound and SSO is helping us implement them, increasing our outreach, membership, and keeping us relevant in the profession we represent.”

“SSO’s mission is unique and makes the organization one of a kind,” said Johnny Hadlock, SSO Director of Association Management Services. “Our focus is really on serving that segment of non-profits and associations who are deeply passionate about their purpose and mission, but who are either too small to break out on their own or who lack the necessary resources to grow and accomplish their desired ends. Because SSO is also a non-profit, we understand intimately and firsthand exactly what these organizations need to succeed and what challenges and constraints they face. Over the course of 40 years, our professional staff have built an impressive track record of serving these organizations – giving them that badly-needed leg up and helping them reach higher plateaus of growth and success.”

When asked what he attributes to SSO’s success, Steve Roberts, SSO Executive Director, said, “We have been able to add a great amount of value to our clients’ projects by attracting and retaining talented professionals. Our ongoing success is dependent upon us retaining the trust of our clients while continuing to employ and invest in top-notch people."

Steve added that SSO focuses daily on innovating. Looking back on the last decade, the commitment SSO has for continuous innovation can be demonstrated by:

  • An emphasis on new technology, customer service, and department restructuring over the past decade. The transformation of SSO’s Technology Services department alone has increased the revenue stream by over 25%.
  • A renegotiation of SSO’s lease renewal of nearly 238,000 SF of space at the Hall of the States won the Washington Business Journal’s 2012 Best Real Estate Deal. Rental rates had climbed so high that many organizations would be priced out of the market. After formulating a strategic real estate plan with SSO’s real estate team, SSO achieved a 15-year lease renewal with a significant reduction in the building’s asking price. The savings were passed on to SSO’s clients.
  • Identifying a shift in technology needs for meeting and community space to be consistent with that of the facility’s Class A building status. This led to a full-blown renovation of several of the conference rooms it provides at the Hall of the States building in DC. Modern cosmetic upgrades, glass doors, and technology upgrades led to a 50% uptick in the number of meetings booked post-renovation.
  • Recognizing a growing demand by organizations looking for full-service management, rather than hiring full-time staff, and bundling its services as packages. This has allowed SSO to assist various organizations in achieving their business goals, and essentially “do more with less”.

When asked what is next for SSO, Roberts explained, “We will keep investing time and energy in our staff members, helping them reach their potential through cross-training and professional development opportunities. Our clients’ trust is dependent on SSO’s ability to continue adding value to every project we take on.”

True to the nonprofit’s word, SSO has proactively added an organizational membership to the Center for Association Leadership (ASAE) to its 2016 employee benefits. In doing so, SSO is able to build its staff’s management competencies while empowering every employee with access to practical, problem-solving resources and professional development opportunities. Several staff members are taking advantage of a variety of professional workshops and/or preparing to take the Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam to continue growing their careers with the organization.  

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About SSO:

As a nonprofit itself, State Services Organization (SSO) provides nonprofits, associations, educational organizations, and states with essential resources they need to accomplish their missions. Expertise includes: Accounting, Association Management, Communications, Conference Services, Financial Services, Library Services, Mail/Delivery, Meeting and Event Planning, Office Space, Print/Design, Strategic Planning, and Technology Services.