A recent article in the Washington Post details how trade associations and membership organizations are feeling the effects of the recession as their members earn less or even go out of businesses. The Post reports:
Reflecting the economic turmoil of the industries they represent, many national trade associations based in Washington are hemorrhaging members who either have lost their jobs, run a financially distressed business or said they need to spend their dwindling discretionary dollars on necessities rather than dues.
As a result, associations are struggling to fill budget gaps — trimming staffs, downsizing national conventions and trade shows, replacing meetings with “webinars,” and either slashing dues to prevent a further membership slide or raising them to replace lost revenue.
Trade associations and membership organizations are the primary way that small business owners make their voice heard in Washington. Most mall business owners don’t have the resources to hire in-house legal teams or Washington lobbyists. They have to run their businesses and rely on their association representatives to deliver their concerns to Congress and federal agencies.
Advocacy also takes its direction from its interaction with small businesses and their Washington representatives. So, it will be interesting to see what role Advocacy can play in helping small businesses overcome the challenges they face bringing their concerns to Washington.
– John McDowell