Friday, August 15, 2014

Supporting ORLA Ensures Your Industry’s Vitality

Members networking at Convention
ORLA is a membership organization and, thus, it is important for its long term viability and fiscal health that it maintains a large, growing, supportive membership. Over the years the association has used all types of sales approaches in its efforts to convince industry operators that they needed to part with a small portion of their hard earned dollars to support its activities. At times we leaned on our very successful suite of endorsed services and the savings they provided members the key reason for joining. Certainly, in terms of a return this made sense to the thousands of operators who joined for that reason. However, this approach created a purely financial relationship that didn’t last if a program’s returns didn’t meet a member’s expectations, leading to a constant turnover in members.

That has led to ORLA changing its sales message to one focusing on the mission of the association as the key reason for joining. That mission, one that calls for ORLA to advocate for, communicate to, and educate its members, is one that when used as the reason for joining produces long term, loyal members who understand and support what ORLA is there to do for them. For your association is the only organization in the state existing to provide those services to your business.

We advocate by representing your interests before the state and federal legislatures and local city councils and county commissions on all issues affecting your business. In other words we lobby for you on a daily basis and are recognized as a leading business association in this arena. One of the largest business political action committees in the state is also managed by ORLA to increase your political profile. We also proactively promote all the good the industry and your business does for Oregon to the state’s media. We serve as your spokesperson.

We communicate to you the information you need to have to successfully operate a business. Those communications can be an explanation of a new regulation or statute that applies to you and your business. It can be providing information on a new program, new technology, industry news or best practices in management. We communicate to the industry through two print magazines, a great website, two e-newsletters, as-needed government affairs e-alerts, and lottery newsletters and confidential bulletins.

We educate management and their employees by providing cutting edge online training programs in food handling and alcohol serving; classroom management-level food safety training; an annual regional trade show and annual convention; and all the information listed in the communications above.

No other organization provides all of these services to you because protecting and representing your interests is our sole reason for existing. We know that meeting that mission creates a better operating environment for your business, thus enabling you to be more profitable.

Membership also benefits those associates that sell goods and services to the industry. It is in their best interest to support ORLA too as the ability for their customers to turn a profit and grow their businesses means that their business will in turn sell more goods or services. It behooves all industry members – retail and associate - to support the only association representing their interests in Oregon by becoming a member; for what is good for the retailer is good for the associate and what is good for the associate is good for the retailer. We’re one industry and we’re in this together. If you’re not a member, consider our mission, this message, and support your association. It truly is a low cost investment in your business that will produce large returns. | Steve McCoid, President & CEO, ORLA