Associations Gear Up for American Associations Day

By: Chris Vest, CAE

Issues ranging from tax reform to constraints on government employee conference attendance will be the focus of ASAE's fly-in this March.

Associations have the ability to leverage their resources and the collective expertise of their members to solve some of the nation's most pressing challenges. American Associations Day, taking place in Washington, DC, March 25–26, is an opportunity for association professionals to connect with policymakers on Capitol Hill and encourage a clearer understanding of what associations do in exchange for their tax-favored status.

Association professionals have an increasingly important message to deliver: Far from being simply special interests, associations are experts in the industries and professions they represent, serving as unique resources for lawmakers who need to understand complex issues to craft effective legislation.

As Congress continues to consider tax reform, associations need to communicate how our organizations might be affected by various proposals. In particular, we need to explain how associations' revenue-generating­ activities, which could be construed as unrelated to our tax-exempt status, help safeguard our financial health and our ability to carry out initiatives that improve Americans' quality of life.

A wide range of other issues require our attention as well, including ongoing constraints on government employees attending association and other private-sector conferences. Associations have to explain why that face-to-face dialogue between federal employees and private industry is important: These meetings are where government employees get training and certification and learn about industry trends, better equipping them to carry out their regulatory function.

Last year, American Associations Day participants from 36 states made more than 250 visits to congressional offices. American Associations Day is your opportunity to ensure that members of Congress understand how associations help solve problems and make our nation stronger.

Chris Vest, CAE, is director of public policy at ASAE. Email: [email protected]

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Share Your Wisdom."]

American Associations Day

Who: Any and all association professionals
What: The only legislative fly-in where association professionals can meet with the staffs of members of Congress to advocate for association management issues. Registration is free.
When: March 25–26, 2014
Where: The Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill
For more information and to register, visit

Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE, is director of public policy at ASAE.