About U.S. Associations: How Interel Supports Associations in Advancing their Interests

In general, an association is a group of persons banded together for a specific common purpose. Associations are a means or method of bringing people and/or businesses together voluntarily to do for themselves collectively, the things they cannot do individually. In the report, “About U.S. Associations: How Interel Supports Associations in Advancing their Interests,” Interel US Chairman, Bruce Wardle, CAE, discusses the roots of associations both internationally and in the U.S., and how association management companies like Interel can help advance association interests.

In the U.S., associations have flourished. The U.S. model so recognizes and institutionalizes associations, that a unique body of laws has been created to encourage and advantage the activities of associations. While favorable tax statuses and avoiding liabilities are U.S. association incentives, the true essence of an association is its “voluntary” and “collective” nature. A sense of community coordination is at the heart of every association.

Associations in the U.S. are organized for all types of purposes, but there are some recurring benefits typically provided to members:

  • Networking and communities of interest;
  • Education and professional development;
  • Information, research, statistics;
  • Standards, codes of ethics, certification;
  • A forum (face to face or virtual) to discuss common problems and solutions; and
  • Opportunities for volunteerism and community service.
    Many of the contributions made by associations today are vital to society and to maintaining our quality of life. The power of associations lies in the collaboration of like-minded people working to achieve common goals. In general, associations do this through the contribution of time, expertise, insight, and passion of volunteers.

With regard to governance and management, associations are led by a board of directors, most often in partnership with paid staff or management. Some associations are run entirely by volunteers at first, but as an association grows or its needs change beyond what volunteers can manage, the board may want to consider hiring an association management company such as Interel to professionally manage the association. Choosing the right management and staffing option is one of the most critical responsibilities of the board and can lead to expanded association services, increased member satisfaction, and accelerated growth.

To learn more about U.S. associations and how Interel’s association management practice can advance your interests, click here.