Episode 86 • 04/11/2024

Michael DiFrisco, Executive Director of AACD, on the Value of Accreditation and AACD’s Dental Dojo

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If your association went away tomorrow, what would be missed and who would miss it? 

In this episode of Associations Thrive, host Joanna Pineda interviews Michael DiFrisco, ED, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Michael discusses:

  • How cosmetic dentistry is on the rise; brands like Invisalign have become household names.
  • How cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, but cosmetic dentists need specialized training.
  • How membership numbers resurged after the pandemic. AACD Identified and catered towards best-fit members: the members who support the organization and are supported by the organization.
  • How accredited members are the most engaged, and most likely to renew their memberships.
  • How a recent membership survey allowed AACD to learn that 52% of their members are retiring within the next 5 years.
  • For this year’s annual conference, AACD reached out to practice transition companies to become exhibitors; they sold out these spots!
  • How AACD is reaching out to younger professionals to make up for the upcoming membership cliff.
  • How AACD created the Dental Dojo to create a community for members.
  • How ACCD created the Esthetic Skill Studio to compete against for-profit organizations. 
  • While updating their strategic plan, AACD asked their leadership and members, “If AACD went away tomorrow, what would be lost and who would miss it?” The answer was very clearly ACCREDITATION and it would be missed by accredited members and their patients.
  • AACD has research that shows accredited members are more successful than regular members and regular members are more successful than non-members.
  • Michael’s amazing formula for helping organizations articulate their brand promise: We are the only (blank) organization that does (blank) for (blank).


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About Associations Thrive

Associations Thrive podcast is hosted by Joanna Pineda, CEO & Chief Troublemaker at Matrix Group International. Joanna’s personal mission and the mission of Matrix Group is to help associations and nonprofits increase membership, generate revenue and thrive in the digital space. 

We believe that every association has a unique mission and unique story that demonstrates how they’re serving their members, impacting their industry, and ultimately changing the world. Every guest is an association Chief Executive, Executive Director or President. We’re here to help amplify their stories so all associations can learn and thrive, together.

If you and your organization have a great story,  apply to be on Associations Thrive!