Having just completed a two-day "legislative fly-in" in Washington, D.C., the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) & The Center for Association Leadership last week launched a new public awareness campaign with which to promote the economic value of associations and professional societies.
The new campaign—which will be spearheaded for ASAE by its PR partner, Washington, D.C.-based Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide—will build on the work that was started during last week's legislative fly-in, during which more than 200 association executives convened on Capitol Hill in order to learn about industry issues while also meeting with lawmakers on behalf of the association community. Targeting policymakers and opinion leaders, its goal will be to position associations as "problem solvers that are uniquely capable of assisting policymakers and the new administration in addressing the critical issues facing America today."
"The new campaign reflects ASAE's role to promote a better understanding of the size and scope of the association community, and the public benefit derived from our orgaizations' activities," says ASAE's 2008-2009 Board Chair J. Clarke Price, CAE, who is president and CEO of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. "With the new administration and nearly 60 new lawmakers on Capitol Hill, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase what associations bring to the table in this country and how we can be a part of any solutions to some of the nation's pressing problems."
Although neither specific issues nor solutions were announced as focus areas, ASAE is likely to include association meetings in its broader campaign message. A target in recent months for members of the media and of Congress—who've suggested that meetings are wasteful and extravagant—association leaders have answered criticism en masse by pointing out that legitimate meetings, events and incentives can increase knowledge, motivate employees and facilitate strategic thinking, thereby serving as valuable economic stimulants.