We often step back and put our heads together and think strategically about not only our business, but our customers’ needs. Our customers consist of corporations, businesses large and small, associations, academic institutions, and public entities.
This month we took a closer look at trade associations. What are trade associations, what do they do, and how are they structured? Taking a closer look at associations had our team identifying the common threads we see while interacting with our customers. We service a lot of trade associations and although associations come in very different packages and can have very different goals, there are many commonalities in how they use awards and gifts.
Trade associations’ purpose is to benefit the members, set standards for and promote the industry in which the members operate. They consist of members, a leadership committee typically called a Board of Directors, and staff which in some cases are all volunteers. These are the people behind the association. These are our customers. Although we usually only work directly with staff members or association managers (including association management companies), we do keep in mind all these key players and their needs as we provide our products and services.
These individuals or companies are generally recognized annually for their continued membership. This recognition typically comes in the form of perpetual award or plaque. Each year the association sends its members an award such as a plaque upon initiation, and then an item such as a name plate engraved with the year to add to the existing plaque. Here is a photo of an example of a popular plaque we sell to trade associations. Lapel pins are also a popular choice.
When associations purchase these types of items from us, they predict the number of plaques and membership renewals they will be having in a given year and buy the estimated amount at the start of the year. For these programs we keep their awards in inventory at our facility and personalize and fulfill the awards monthly either in bulk to the association or to the individual recipients. Visit our resources section for more Membership Award Ideas and Wording.
Standout Member Recognition
In addition, members can be recognized for their individual contributions to the industry. This type of recognition can be organized in a formal program in which members compete and are judged by their peers. This recognition is often presented with an optic crystal award. Here is a photo of an example of a popular crystal award we sold to a trade association for awarding a standout member at their annual conference.
Member Compliance and Certifications
Finally, another type of membership recognition is to award those who achieve and maintain the standards set by the association. This is usually presented in the form of a glass plaque or a custom designed award. We can create a custom award or plaque for your association such as this custom acrylic award which is in the shape of a badge or seal of approval. Visit our resources section for more Certification Award Ideas and Wording.
Board of Directors and Staff Recognition
Board and Key Committee Members are often recognized for their service upon their exit with an award personalized with their years of service. In a similar fashion retirement and years of service awards are often presented to staff members. The awards chosen for this type of recognition vary and can include desktop gifts such as paperweights or clocks, plaques, art glass, as well as glass or optic crystal. Here is a photo of an example of an award engraved for the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Gavel plaques are a popular choice to honor years of service for the Chariman or Board President. Clocks are often personalized with years of service for both outgoing Board Members and retirement awards for staff.
Associations tend to fund their annual events and ongoing programs by offering their members and other companies relevant to the industry an opportunity for sponsorship. In turn, sponsors are recognized for their contributions in the form of a formal award. Here is an example of an award presented to key association sponsors. Visit our resources section for more Sponsor Award Ideas and Wording.
Hall of Fame
Another common way trade associations recognize their members, directors and staff is to create a wall or hall of fame or some other way to display the history of the association, its key contributers and key milestones.
For all the awards mentioned in this article, we are often asked to re-create an ongoing or repeating awards. We can achieve this by matching its size and materials. When it comes to awards and recognition, associations and the people who make up associates have common needs. Contact us to help you with any award and recognition needs you have.