Why CAEs Should Attend American Association Day

By: Norman Morris, RCE, CAE

ASAE's legislative fly-in is an opportunity for CAEs to show Congress how important associations are to society—and to earn a few CAE credits along the way.

As vice chair of the ASAE Public Policy Committee and a Certified Association Executive, I want to update the CAE community about an opportunity to participate in American Associations Day 2013, March 18-19. The event is ASAE's legislative fly-in, where association professionals like you and me connect with congressional offices and share our stories on important association issues.

One important part of American Associations Day is the opportunity to earn CAE credit. In addition to the legislative advocacy of American Associations Day, 3.25 CAE credits are offered for the public policy education sessions on March 18. Last year, association executives from 30 states came to Washington, DC, to participate in American Associations Day. This year, the legislative issues threatening associations are even greater. It is vital that we as association executives be educated on the policy issues that could greatly affect our industry and the communities we serve.

It is difficult to turn on the television without seeing news about sequestration, the fiscal cliff, and the effects that inaction will have in our country. But how do these issues affect associations? ASAE is concerned that tax-reform plans in the 113th Congress could target changes in unrelated business income tax and associations' tax exemptions. This year and next, we could see changes to the tax code and association governance not seen in years.

As part of American Associations Day, ASAE volunteers, staff, and a former member of Congress will brief the group on pressing legislative issues that affect associations as well as ways to successfully advocate on Capitol Hill. Participation in these sessions will not only sharpen your understanding of important policy issues but also help you continue on the path to CAE renewal.

The legislative issues that will be discussed range from tax issues to healthcare reform. Another pressing issue for associations is government-employee attendance at private tradeshows and meetings. Understanding these complex issues is vital for association executives, as changes could cause associations to alter their business models. Further, these issues require our community to educate Congress on the positive benefits that associations bring to society.

Too often, associations are viewed as just another "special interest" by lawmakers, and that is wrong. Participation in American Associations Day not only helps increase the influence of associations on Capitol Hill, but it is also a great opportunity for networking and education within the community. It is a unique opportunity that allows you to connect with policy makers who will advance both the association industry and your own organization as well. Additionally, the ASAE Board reception offers unparalleled connecting with the leaders in association management.

ASAE will also provide a $300 scholarship for those outside the Washington, DC, area. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Mary Kate Cunningham, ASAE public policy manager, at 202-626-2787 or [email protected].

I look forward to seeing many of you there. Together we can show Congress the power of associations.

Norman Morris, RCE, CAE, is senior vice president of government affairs at Louisiana Realtors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and vice chair of ASAE's 2013 Public Policy Committee. Email: [email protected]

Norman Morris, RCE, CAE