"To those wondering whether to pay attention to the "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS) protests, the answer is yes. This is more than just a nascent movement that will grow in the weeks and months ahead. It is part of a worldwide drive for greater social justice." ....Mohamed A. El-Erian, Listen to Occupy Wall Street
Associations need to take a position on Occupy Wall Street.
For far too long we have wandered in the wilderness of non-dues revenue, return on investment, sales and marketing. Customer service. Nobody needs your 10% Hertz rental car discount. NOBODY.
If you wonder why members can't hear your message, it's because you've buried it in stuff. If you wonder why they don't participate, it's because you devalue them when you consider them "buyers" and not "members." Is the answer to governance issues really just eliminating the number of decision makers? Is that democracy?
Associations have a long history in the United States. We were formed out of a desire to assist our fledgling democracy thrive. We were formed to keep a close eye on the powers that be and to exercise our deepest rights of assembly and speech. We were formed to protect the 99%, not to exclusively represent our members interests in this constant policy duel to the death.
The 99% does have a voice. Us.
If you want to find real member value, then start promoting your members voices in service and support of the middle class in this country. Start drawing a line between yourselves and those associations who co-opt our names and run an exclusively corporate agenda. Let's join together and stop these fly-by-night associations from forming and disappearing overnight just to funnel corporate contributions to elections and issues in the wake of Citizens United. Let's find our own outrage at those entities who are taking our good names.
Think about your members for a minute. Who do you represent? Most associations represent the middle class. Think about the unrest in the country and then find your voice.
Start creating value out of meaning. Start creating value out of standing for something.
Stop thinking you are a service provider, and remember you hold the heartbeat of democracy in your hands.