by Aaron Grau, Executive Director, IIUSA
Trade associations are platforms for debate, resolution, and progress toward a common goal. We should assume, even hope, that not all association members have the exact same point of view. Their diversity, even within the same membership categories, is what creates the most pragmatic solution for everyone involved.
However, the platform must be accessible and once that is established, it creates a strong association that provides members with a qualified support staff and tools to reach understandings and consensus through discussion and cooperation.
Over the last twelve months, IIUSA made great strides asserting itself in critical legislative negotiations; representing the members’ interests in the ongoing Regional Center statute reauthorization process.
The association reduced costs and redirected savings to develop a stronger platform. In particular, IIUSA will unveil a completely revised, more accessible, and user-friendly website in 2020. The new website will, among other things, streamline the association’s communications with members and non-members, strengthen IIUSA’s ability to leverage its grassroots advocacy, and improve members’ overall experience within the association’s “member portal.”
This progress does and will speak for itself, but associations’ platforms need more than just great staff and a few tools. So, just as Janet Jackson asked in the 1980s, all association members should always be asking, “What have you done for me lately?” We have two answers (and counting…): a.) affinity agreements and b.) grassroots guidance.
Affinity agreements are not new to associations, but they are new to IIUSA. The premise is simple: In exchange for the opportunity to market goods or services to IIUSA members by licensing IIUSA’s logo and leveraging its membership list, a vendor agrees to become a member of IIUSA and pay IIUSA a royalty fee. Goods and services are provided at a membership rate (a discount) and fees can be paid on a monthly or quarterly basis. Their amount can either be a flat figure or a percentage of the vendors’ sales to IIUSA members…