The myth about ‘special interests’

Much of the public thinks of associations as “special interests” who do nothing but lobby the system to game advantage (even though U. S. government data shows that associations spend many times more on educational activities than on lobbying).

In my opinion, “special interest” is a pejorative only when applied to a group whose interests we don’t share. No. If we were to be honest with ourselves, we are, each of us, members of dozens of special interests, based on our jobs, the communities we live in, the needs of our families, our beliefs and our passions.

And when individuals with a shared interest come together to advance their own cause in a way that also serves society, it is a thing of beauty.  It is perhaps ironic that a quintessentially Washington evening in celebration of “special interests” did such a powerful job reminding us of that fact.

Read my latest commentary in AssociationTRENDS to learn why I think it so important for events like ASAE’s 13th annual Summit Awards Dinner last week to showcase how much good associations do.

The myth about ‘special interests’

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About Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE
Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, is Executive Director of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior CEO roles include a nearly fourteen-year tenure as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), Vienna, Virginia. Before joining NCRA staff , he spent eight years with the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA), Washington, D.C. He also spent 12 years with the Association of Telemessaging Services International (ATSI), Alexandria, Virginia Long active in the association community, Mr. Golden is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Association Leadership, a past Vice Chairman of the ASAE Board of Directors, past Chair of the Center for Association Leadership’s Research Committee, and past member of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Association Committee of 100. He is the 2011 recipient of the American Society of Association Executive's Key Award, the highest honor ASAE bestows, to "honor the association CEO who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership in his or her own association, and displays a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations as a whole.”

One Response to The myth about ‘special interests’

  1. Superb posting, I share the same views. I wonder why this particular world truly does not picture for a moment like me and also the blog site creator 😀

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