This section provides a range of resources that can help your trade association or membership organisation. Two books by KSAM’s Chairman, Mark Boleat, have become standard works for trade associations –
Managing Trade Associations
This is the standard text on trade association management. It is a comprehensive but concise publication on trade association management that will be of practical use to those managing and working for associations. A number of checklists, toolkits and reference documents have been included as appendices.
Trade Association Effectiveness at the European level
The decision taking process at the European level has always posed challenges for British trade associations. The long time frame for taking decisions has meant that members often cannot easily see the value of the work being done. Proportionately more resources have to be devoted to securing an outcome than is the case at national level, and staff need different tools when working at the European level compared with working at the national level.
Partly as a result of industrial restructuring, trade associations are facing a more difficult environment generally as traditional boundaries between sectors and markets are eroded or even disappearing. Policy making at the European level has also changed, with the European Parliament growing in power. These factors have all put pressure on trade associations’ traditional methods of working at the European level. This report provides information and analytical tools that can help associations improve their effectiveness at the European level.
The following short papers give an overview of key issues for associations and pointers to further information –
A toolkit for good governance Every organisation needs to be supported by a sound governance structure in order to deliver an effective service, in an efficient manner. This toolkit aims to help the board of an association meet best governance practice by setting out six key benchmarks for good governance and providing a checklist of questions for each, to match against your own association’s operations. In addition the toolkit includes practical templates on various board matters.
Getting through the first few years Every year there are proposals to establish new trade associations, some of which bear fruit, but many of which do not, and of those new associations that are established many flounder within the first two years of operation. This brief report analyses the experience of new trade associations, taking account of both theoretical considerations and the practical experience of a number of associations
Advice for a new Chairman Trade associations are unlike most other organisations, particularly in respect of their governing bodies which comprise people representing competing organisations. This note sets out some of the key issues about which potential Chairmen should be aware and advice on how a new Chairman can quickly become effective.
Board effectiveness reviews It is now standard practice for organisations of all types to undertake annual board effectiveness reviews. Depending on circumstances and resources these can range from short operations done entirely in-house to more comprehensive studies done with the help of an outside consultant. This note briefly sets out the rationale for undertaking board effectiveness reviews and the various ways in which they can be done.
Setting up a new trade association In a dynamic economy there is a constant need for the trade association sector to be renewed, with new associations being established and existing ones closing down, merging or evolving. This note briefly sets out the criteria that can be used to judge whether a new association is needed and describes the process of establishing a new association.
Responding to consultations A key part of the work of many trade associations is responding to public consultations. The way that a trade association responds in respect of both structure and content can have a marked effect on the impact of what it has to say. This note sets out some of the key points that should be borne in mind when doing representational work generally and when responding to specific consultation exercises in particular.
Legal structures Most trade associations are either unincorporated organisations or companies limited by guarantee. For many associations the unincorporated option is the simplest, but it does involve some risk should the association be sued – because the members individually become liable for the debts of the organisation. This note briefly sets out the pros and cons of the unincorporated association status and company limited by guarantee status.
VAT for trade associations Most trade associations find they are in a position of paying VAT which is either not recoverable at all or is only recoverable in part. With VAT now at 20% the way that it is handled could have a material effect both on the finances of a trade association and on the effective subscription rate paid by members. This note sets out some of the key issues on VAT for membership organisations.