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Marketing & Communication for Today and Tomorrow

"Associations Making a Difference"
By Vicki L. Scott, Marketing Manager

Non-profit organizations have traditionally been the recipients of charitable contributions. During the holidays we give to the Salvation Army, in times of crisis we give to the Red Cross, and throughout the year we give to the United Way, just to mention a few. Some associations distribute funds using educational scholarships that benefit children or employees of their members, and others organize annual fundraisers such as silent auctions to raise money for a special cause.

It has become almost trendy for associations to give back to the community, the environment, and the industry. Who benefits from this generous trend? You do. Since most associations are national or international in scope, the beneficiary is usually the community where the annual conference is held. The Board or Conference Committee usually does a little research on local charities or they may select a national charity with a local presence and design a suitable outreach program for their members to become involved.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Members of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA) recently coordinated a community project in Atlanta at the site of the 2008 International Woodworking Fair. The U.S. Innovation & Demonstration Center was an integrated, environmentally conscious production process that constructed kitchen cabinets for the Atlanta Habitat ReStore. Over 10% of the membership contributed to the success of this project. At the end of the show, participants proudly displayed kitchen cabinets made in Atlanta and bound for an Atlanta community organization benefiting local working families.
  • Earlier this year, the AMC Institute organized an event to assist in the recovery efforts of the City Park in New Orleans which sustained 43 million dollars in damages from Hurricane Katrina. In keeping with the association's Board proclamation to help redirect meeting business to New Orleans, member volunteers pitched in by painting, planting, weeding, mulching, cleaning the shoreline and more! When all was said and done, City Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country covering 1300 acres, was a little closer to regaining its earlier splendor.
  • Summer is a great time to make a difference, and that's just what attendees of the Industrial Supply Association (ISA) Executive Development Retreat do on an annual basis. For several years, the association has included a voluntary outreach program one-day prior to the retreat. Participants enjoy a day of great fun, interacting with children involved in a local branch of the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Another Fernley & Fernley association partner, the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) has joined forces with the Good Deed Foundation to be part of a nation-wide campaign to recycle cell phones. The money raised will fund programs aimed at moving women out of poverty and at mitigating global climate change.

Making a difference is easier than you might think, give it a try.