COVID-19 and the unexpected impact on Professional Associations
At the beginning of COVID, many worried about infection and the continued spread of the Corona Virus. Very few Americans expected the virus to have such a significant impact on business and global economics. We soon found America would not be unscathed by this pandemic, as businesses that temporarily closed made the difficult decision to close forever or file bankruptcy.
Similarly, many professional associations (funded by member dues and annual member fundraisers) started to see the impact of COVID as individual memberships dropped after job loss, lay-offs, or business members failing to renew after closing their doors. COVID-19 has canceled association fundraisers that often showcase the organizational wins in the past year, thus encouraging members and businesses to donate. These events raise the necessary funding to pay for professional lobbyists, but they also serve to educate members on the critical policy work done on their behalf by the association.
One local association is the Idaho Retailers Association (IRA). The IRA is more than just a professional association; they are an advocacy group for retailers of all shapes and sizes in the State of Idaho. The IRA has lobbied the Idaho Legislature on many efforts that have consistently resulted in lower taxes, fewer fees, and stricter theft penalties. In layman's terms, the IRA advocates and fights for retail business policy. Without the IRA's advocacy, the Idaho Legislature would be left to guess which policies would successfully help Idaho businesses grow.
When individuals lose jobs and businesses close, professional associations lose members and ultimately lose funding resulting in an inability to effectively change policies that limit business or cause the cost of doing business to rise.
Many associations are currently in this struggle. Belden Nu'uvali sources and sells many of PPE products businesses are already buying. This is why Belden Nu'uvali created a rebate program for professional associations. Belden Nu'uvali will provide a 10% rebate (of net sales) to associations whose members purchase PPE supplies. We felt this is one way Belden Nu'uvali could help businesses succeed and keep professional associations intact without damage to public policy and consumer behavior. We call this the 'BN Gives' program, and we are so excited to have an option available to support the various associations and nonprofits in our community. Together, we can support each other and continue the mission of blessing others' lives in our community.