Trade Groups Vulnerable despite Value

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Trade Groups Vulnerable despite Value


The industry trade association that has been your business voice on regulatory issues, a fount of information and ideas, and a source of valuable member connections and friendships may be in trouble: Association dues and travel are among the discretionary expenses many businesses are cutting.

"Associations are not unlike commercial entities," says Michele Anderson, senior director at The Center for Association Resources, Schaumburg. "They must re-earn dues dollars every year, just like a contractor hopes to re-earn a contract renewal."

In like manner, association management companies such as The Center must re-earn their fees from the trade groups they manage.

"Were being looked at to prove our worth," says CEO Rob Patterson, "just like our clients are being asked by members to prove their worth."

Trade associations and professional societies are a big business locally; there are roughly 1,500 trade groups that call Chicagoland home. Many outsource everyday management to companies like The Center and like Barrington-based Technology Business Partners Inc.

"We recognized two years ago that we had to increase our value to members," says Roy Robinson, chairman of the now Barrington-based Closure & Container Manufacturers Association and vice president of business development for Portola Packaging Inc., Batavia. "Strategically, we needed to broaden our scope (and) attract more member

companies."

For CCMA, the response involved a just-announced switch in management companies to TBPI and the related move of the associations headquarters from Virginia to Barrington. …

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