Successful Trade Associations are built on excellent communications
There is no doubt that successful trade associations are built on excellent communications, but keeping pace with modern professional communications is an enduring and significant challenge.
Trade associations are small organisations, almost all employ less than 100 staff, most less than 20 and many under 10. They certainly don’t have the luxury of being able to employ a fully skilled team of communications professionals.
Instead, individuals take on multiple roles, upskilling themselves and learning on the job. Getting the balance of skills right to be able to take on, PR, public affairs, member engagement, corporate and digital communications is a constant challenge.
Their work really matters, and their communications does too. It needs to help them punch well above the size of their organisations.
It is only through excellent communicators that associations can properly represent their sector both in the UK and abroad, and with it shape the opportunities for their members and support the growth of the UK economy too.
Their communication with regulators and policymakers is critical. It makes policy workable. Without trade associations, the Government would have a really hard job implementing policy. Not only do associations spend huge amounts of time working on the details of regulation and guidance, but they then communicate it to their members and drive compliance too.
As the voice of their industry there is a huge responsibility to be visible and be accurate, and as member led organisations, trade associations must ensure they represent their views and interests. This means they need excellent channels of communication with members and a strong feedback loop too.
Trade associations also deliver essential communications to ensure industry standards are understood and adhered to. They put in place accreditation programmes, run regular training sessions, develop routes to entry through apprenticeships and vocational learning, support continued professional development, share best practice and reward excellence.
These communications make us all safer by protecting consumers and businesses and supporting public sector inspection regimes.
There is no doubt that investing in the skills and resources needed to have a professional communications capability is critical for associations.
This is why TAF has teamed up with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to work together to ensure that Associations have access to the best professional development opportunities, and why together we are looking at how to build networks and develop best practice specifically for Associations.
If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, we would love to hear from you.