One Angry Guy
Hallelujah! I just read your December Editor's Note [“Members Come First,” page 8]. Now that I can learn all I need to know about the mission of the association I serve from a meeting planner/magazine editor I can drop my membership in ASAE. Doesn't it concern you that you have missed your calling?
Gary L. Smith, CAE
Northwestern Lumber Association
Golden Valley, Minn.
And on the Other Hand…
Your recent column, “Members Come First,” rang very true. As a consultant who specializes in marketing and membership work for associations, I often witness the struggle within organizations over how to maximize revenue without losing sight of why associations exist — to serve members.
I believe it is possible for an association to generate revenue in sponsorships, associate member dues, advertising, and exhibit sales without tainting the pure and original missions to educate members and enhance their careers and/or businesses. But it takes careful planning and a firm commitment by the leadership and executive staff to walk the very thin line these types of opportunities often produce.
In recent years, the American Medical Association may have crossed the line with the famous Sunbeam case. Last year, AARP may be guilty of similar shortsightedness [in its endorsement of the new Medicare bill]. However, there are thousands of associations who do it right every day and will continue to do so in 2004. We can all hope they stay the course.
Dick Barton, APR
Barton & Barton Ltd.
Park Ridge, Ill.
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