ASA works like a complex machine. Our structure isn’t unique; other organizations operate in similar ways. But, unlike ours, their members don’t govern the organization. So here, I’d like to answer some questions I hear asked on a regular basis.
Two in one
Two associations operate within our association. There’s the national organization, which focuses primarily on broad member services, benefits, legislative issues and industry relationships. Then there are the regional affiliates.
On paper, the affiliates serve as stand-alone associations that operate according to an agreement with ASA National. Actually, they are a critical part of our overall member strategy. They are the grassroots contact our members have with the association.
Each affiliate establishes a dues structure based on the level of service that it provides its members, and, in addition to national dues, this is what our members pay. Affiliates also offer their members a number of programs and regional benefits.
ASA National also provides services to members who are not part of one of our affiliate organizations. One of our challenges is that programs offered by national can sometimes be construed as competition with affiliate programs.
With the national organization’s recent overhaul to restructure the entire “interface” between the two associations, we hope to provide similar benefits to those members who are not part of an affiliate program.
If you don’t have an affiliate and want to be part of one, we can help you create one or, in some cases, help you merge with an existing organization.
Divisions of labor
ASA also has two divisions. The Collision Division comprises about 30 percent to 40 percent of our membership, and the Mechanical Division makes up the rest. The two divisions are like two separate associations, each with its own expectations for what it wants.
In large part, the Collision Division deals with national legislative issues, everything from sharing best practices on refinishing to working to help insurance companies understand how their initiatives affect our members. The Collision Division Operations Committee dissects every facet of the industry and looks for ways to do things better.
The operations committee for our Mechanical Division serves as the technical think tank for ASA. We like to take a leadership role and get involved in complex issues. But there’s no way we could pull off these sorts of things without the talent and dedication of our Mechanical Division Operations Committee members.
The competition myth
Some people might think that the Mechanical Division and Collision Division, compete with one another. That’s the reason we have a board of directors. Regardless of the discipline of each board member, they make a genuine effort to understand the others’ and provide a balanced approach allocating resources and time across our organization.
You have direct access to the board. Most days, one of us can be found volunteering for some event or organization. But if you can’t find one of us in person, you can find each board member’s email address at www.asashop.org.