You’re at a cocktail party surrounded by unfamiliar people. New faces loom, eager to strike a conversation, but there is one hurdle you know you’re going to have to heave yourself over each time they try.
“What do you do?” one friendly stranger asks.
Here it goes again.
“I work in the association industry.”
“…I work in marketing.” This is the fifth time you’ve been asked to explain the association industry, and it’s just not worth going over again.
When you think about it, why isn’t the association industry understood as such?
How often do people leave school with the clear and solid ambition to work in the association industry? Most of us, it seems, fall into it – gratefully, happily, but unexpectedly. This is a problem.
Because the association space is widely unknown or misunderstood by people outside it, attracting new talent is an unreasonably arduous task. Despite the unique and stimulating character of the industry, it is in need of some positive, powerful PR.
A year ago Lakisha Woods wrote an ode to associations as a career path, insisting that “after all, no one is going to fight for your rights on the Hill if they don’t know you exist.” If only more people knew about the wide, wonderful world of associations, they would love and seize the opportunity to join. On the (slightly bleaker) flip side, without more public knowledge of the industry, associations will miss out on worthy recruits, and their public voice will grow increasingly quieter.
A member of an online community recently sparked a conversation after asking “Question: do your family members REALLY understand what you do??” What would your answer be? What are the consequences of this lack of understanding? And more importantly, what do you understand about what you do?
This final question is the one we are most intrigued and excited by. Why do you choose to work in the association industry (even if you originally found yourself there by mistake)? We asked this to the same online community, and were overwhelmed by amazing responses:
The plan, provoked by Lakisha’s insights and cemented by the wider community’s feedback, is a project to create a PR campaign for associations. To highlight how much potential there is in the industry for people to fulfill their ambitions, both personal and professional. To inspire new recruits to consider how the association world develops communities, helps people and transforms opportunities.
And with that, we are creating a video campaign extolling the virtues of working for an association. The hardest part of any campaign is building traction, but we are hosting a free virtual summit Nov. 7-9th, which is already assembling thousands of association professionals from around the world in one virtual space.
During the session called “The Workforce Crisis (And What To Do About It),” we will capitalize on the power of community and ask all attendees to share the video on social media at the same time to generate a PR swell.
We are therefore looking for association professionals to help us make this video by offering their stories and telling the wider world why they love working for an association. Are you interested? Do you love your job, and have a reason why? Please fill out the form below to take part and we’ll tell you more about the campaign.
If you’re camera shy, we totally understand. We’ll also be writing an article on the subject, and would love to hear your thoughts. Further, it would be an enormous help to share this article with your own networks, so we can further expand the circle.
Editor’s note: The videos have now been collected and we’re proud to present you the result: