Professional associations are the ultimate go-to resource for driving change in communities, cities, and beyond. These organizations offer more than networking opportunities, job boards, and educational resources; they are community changemakers, thought leaders, and hubs of power.
Throughout history, associations have been able to challenge and protect interests through the collective action of a broad range of organizations. They can represent their members and advance their shared interests in the public policy process by educating and engaging them, promoting awareness of their challenges, and pooling resources to collaborate with other like-minded communities.
Comprised of individuals who share common interests and needs, professional organizations continue to be influential forces in social and political change. Read on as we dive into how valuable and effective organizations can be in campaigning for causes within their industry.
Advocating On Behalf of Members
Advocacy involves taking a stance on an issue that affects the community, such as improved healthcare or public safety, and encouraging others to support that position to better their day-to-day lives.
A benefit to advocacy is that there is no cost involved beyond an organization’s time; people within and even those not directly involved can push for change. This creates a broad support base for whatever challenges the industry may face.
Via representation, collective action, and industry expertise, organizations are in the best position to speak out on behalf of their members, ensuring their needs and concerns are heard and considered by lawmakers.
Education and Empowerment
As the primary source of industry-specific education for their members, associations have a unique opportunity to inform and shape public opinion through resources and reach. By providing access to current information, organizations can educate their members on fundamental challenges and help them stay informed about the latest developments in their field.
These educational benefits can be accessed through newsletters, social media pages, published journals, conferences, and events. While the information may not always be directly related to a legislative cause, it’s a valuable asset to the member and helps form public opinion.
With education comes empowerment, and by providing members with the knowledge and skills to advocate for change effectively, members will be empowered to become active participants in the political process and drive meaningful change.
Organizations give members the skills to advance in their careers by offering educational resources and training members for leadership positions. In addition, these communities can be utilized to allow members to engage in political debate. By having a seat at the table, organizations can provide input about laws that affect them and then lobby for changes that empower and benefit the group as a whole.
Pooling Resources and Collaborating With Other Organizations
Professional organizations are influential in their own right, but when they work together, they can be an unstoppable force for social and political change.
Associations banding together share a wealth of resources and value. They can leverage this collective strength by pooling their influence, funding, and memberships to have a much stronger voice in their communities.
Under one massive umbrella, members can network, share challenges, and collaborate on common goals. They can also consult each other on how to solve problems involving different clients or interconnected circumstances. This partnership leads to more significant opportunities for social and political change, especially with their pooled resources.
While some organizations may not directly engage in any political activity, their resources and connections allow members to support the causes that align with their values and interests.
Professional Organizations Driving Social and Political Change
The following are examples of organizations that have driven social and political change worldwide.
CompTIA is a primary IT certification provider, reaching out to over 75 million individuals looking to unlock their potential in the field. CompTIA Spark is a new program that focuses on introducing the youth to this tech-driven world. This professional technology organization offers an engaging curriculum, teaching students new skills such as coding, mobile app development, cybersecurity, graphic design, podcasting, and much more.
By making these resources more accessible to students at a young age, it drives social innovation and encourages education within the tech community.
American Medical Association
AMPAC is a bipartisan political committee within the AMA that promotes and supports candidates for Congressional offices and positions of leadership. In addition, the organization takes care of all advocacy efforts, ensuring physicians have a tangible means of support and their voices are heard.
The association strives to engage physicians in political and social movements, conducting workshops that educate members in medicine about the intricacies of political campaigns.
International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications
One of the primary benefits of this organization is offering its members a worldwide forum to interact with policymakers and regulators in the blockchain technology realm. It functions to bridge the gap between public and private entities while also advocating for global blockchain adoption in education, finance, and law.
Society for Human Resource Management
As the globe’s largest human resource organization, SHRM is unmatched in commitment and experience to the HR profession. The association has been at the forefront of shaping workplace policies, championing DEI, and cultivating a healthy work environment. They’ve also impacted policy and legislation that safeguards the rights of employees.
The SHRM Foundation is an excellent resource for driving social and philanthropic change, supporting veterans, the aging workforce, mental health in the workplace, and much more.
Much of the change we’ve experienced over the last few decades has resulted directly from professional societies that advocate for their respective industries and push for government policies to protect their members. As we move forward, these groups must continue to find new ways to effect political and social change for their fields and society as a whole.