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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

Ability to create microsites for their events

Member engagement scoring used in CIBSE’s GDPR compliance strategy

Central place for member engagement metrics

The Challenge

In 2016, CIBSE required a new solution to manage data for over 20,000 members. The association wanted to migrate from its outdated, legacy systems to a modern CRM platform. Various elements of the teams’ work had to be completed manually, from sending out certificates to members delivering forms by mail. CIBSE wanted to automate these processes and enhance the member experience. The association needed a new solution to meet these modern expectations.


CIBSE developed a set of requirements for their new CRM, such as estore functionality for members to purchase resources. In addition to the expectation of accessing the most advanced technology available, CIBSE decided that having access to a standard product that could be configured to their needs was preferable to building a collection of custom features. Lastly, CIBSE focused on upgrading elements that would significantly impact day-to-day operations and build incremental improvements throughout a continuing journey.

The Solution

Fonteva began working closely with CIBSE to understand how technology could improve the member experience, from the beginning of each member’s journey. Prospective CIBSE members complete a rigorous process to be eligible to join the association and become advocates. Retaining these valuable members is crucial to CIBSE’s success. Therefore, CIBSE wanted to make the logistics of its 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, and we are working on developing online member applications to accept new members in the future.”

Marc Turley, Head of CRM at CIBSE

Member engagement tracking is a critical component of the data strategy used by CIBSE to develop a more personalised member experience. Fonteva serves as the platform and secure home for this information including key engagement metrics such as login activity, membership renewals, and event attendance, which get compiled into a member engagement score. 

Using Member Engagement Scoring to Drive the
GDPR Legitimate Interest Strategy

In addition to using member data analysis for retention purposes, CIBSE also leveraged information gained from the member engagement score. This allows them to go beyond just the basic GDPR compliancy required within Legitimate Interest and provide an exact understanding of their member’s interests.

By using the member engagement score, staff have a threshold that removes the guesswork from the decision of whether the member can legitimately be contacted. 

“For membership organisations, there are a lot of discussions around what GDPR really means,” said Turley. “Most of our members expect that they get all the stuff when they join, without signing up for the emails explicitly.” 

Prior to Fonteva, the team spent significant time on the back end of the system looking at every mailing list and every metric for each member to see if CIBSE could contact them without violating GDPR. The time and energy required to stay in compliance did little to positively impact the member experience.  

With Fonteva, this effort has been fully automated and is always up-to-date. Not only does this give staff users peace of mind over meeting GDPR regulations, but members also get a more individualised experience.

Streamlined events and automated communication

A key component of both engagement and the member experience are the over 100 events CIBSE offers each year, ranging from training sessions attended by thousands to smaller regional meetings. 

“Fonteva allows our event planning to be put into the hands of the people that are running the event,” said Turley. “They can make the decisions on how they want their event to look and feel while maintaining our CIBSE branding”. 

Updating events web pages is now a straightforward process, saving significant time. Fonteva’s event cloning capability saves even more time as the team can clone events to quickly deploy their yearly calendar, avoiding the need to create brand new events pages for similar events. 

The entire experience for the event attendees has also improved greatly. Members no longer have to print and fill out a registration form that ultimately had to be entered into the CRM by staff. Now, event attendees can simply fill out their preferences online with all data saved back in Fonteva.

Workflows have been automated to allow event managers to focus their attention on larger aspects of event planning. Attendees receive emails before and after the event with the key information they need. Post-event emails include a link to a survey about the event. All data can be easily reviewed in real-time via dashboards that visualise key metrics including sales and financial status relative to budget and target goals.

The Bottom Line

CIBSE is now enjoying the benefits enabled 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 intuitive analysis, member attraction, and retention strategies. The aim is to provide a seamless experience for users to make processes as easy as possible. 

As part of ongoing improvements, Turley regularly 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?” This feedback creates targets for future automation initiatives. “Fonteva is really central to what we do at CIBSE,” says Turley. “We’re still on that journey toward becoming a much more modern organisation in the member experience we deliver.”

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