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My Light in the Fog

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:56

A very wise association executive told me a few years back, “If you’ve seen one state chamber, you’ve seen one state chamber.”  We, in the membership world of state chambers, call that a “Bud-ism”.  (Please don’t confuse that with Buddism.)  Though both can bring one to a place of inner peace, they are very different points of enlightenment.    

There are a few things that all State Chamber Membership Executives have in common. 


  1. Our primary goals, usually in this order are:
    a. Retention – it’s much easier to keep the members we have than to recruit new ones.
    b. Revenue – Tied to retention , we are measured on the $$ we bring into our organizations.
    c. Recruitment – Usually if we are doing the prior two properly we achieve the third. 
  2.  We are constantly looking for products and services to achieve the above.  (Perceived value is why they send a check year after year.)
  3. If we can find individuals, companies or products that can help with the above, we are lifelong friends and advocates. 
  4. In a world where resources are sparse, it is critical to be very careful with those we expend.  High return on investment is a necessary objective in every decision we make. 


That brings me to my point.  Almost seven years ago I was contacted by a board member of ASCP to attend their annual conference in Hilton Head.  Being completely new to the industry, I was searching for a light in the fog. . . . I needed guidance and our local associations just weren’t cutting it.  They didn’t understand my frustrations or challenges.  With a bit of trepidation, I boarded the plane – the first of three to reach my final destination in South Carolina.  I didn’t know a soul, but made fast friends with many in attendance.  They are some of the closest industry confidants I have today.   

One of the greatest returns on my ASCP investment is in the best practices constantly shared.  I don’t have time or money to reinvent wheels or make mistakes.  My peers at ASCP guide my way.  EVERY vendor relationship we have in Iowa is somehow attributable to ASCP.  I simply do not make a move without vetting it with my friends in the association.  So, while what Bud says is true, “if you’ve seen one state chamber, you’ve seen one state chamber.“  Vendors looking to showcase their products and services to a group of interested, qualified, very connected statewide business leaders have hit pay dirt!


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